The Rise Of “Stalkerware”: When Harassment Goes Digital | NBC News

Channel: NBC News
Published: 6 hours ago

Description
Maria Shurilla got the strength to leave her husband after some 25 years of abuse. But she wasn't free: he still knew where she was, what she was wearing, and what she was saying. Increasingly, technology is being used as a tool for abusers to track their victims. Experts call it stalkerware. » ...



Transcript
[ music ]. I slept with the knife, the screwdriver and the hammer under my pillow in case he would come when i was sleeping. He always knew where i was, and i didn't realize that he was getting that information through technology. It was me that he he hated and loved all at the same time, [ music, ]. Honestly it was like my first real boyfriend. It was just everything that you thought a relationsh ...
p should be so [ music ]. We got married and then slowly everything progressed. The name-calling started everyday you're, stupid you're, a bit shortcut, it's all mental abuse, it's the controlling, it's like mind, washing i [ music ] was never allowed to have access to a computer unless it wasthe one that was in his office. I mean i didn't even know how to to write a check when i came out of this relationship because everything was taken over, i had no scars on me. They were all on the inside because he was losing control physically with me. I wasn't in a home with him anymore. He didn't see my every move, he turned to the digital, and this way he could still monitor my every move and knew what i was thinking and knew what i was doing, who i was seeing where i was going.

He knew what i was wearing, he knew where i was driving and he started quoting actual conversations word-for-word thati was either you know, corresponding through email text or actually talking to somebody on the telephone. He knew them word for word so stalker where and what we call spouse. Where are fairly interchangeable terms, and they refer to an entire class of software, which is designed to spy on the digital devices of a person to whom you have, with whom you have a relationship. And it is designed to run sir officiously on on a device. So that people don't know that they're being tracked [ music, ] i've also seen people abusers using find my phone or you know, find my friends in order to track their their partners. I'Ve seen people set up secret profiles. I'Ve seenpeople will break into their former partners. Email accounts and set up a forwarding address so that they can see everything which is happening in their email and it's in the abusers interest to make it very difficult to figure out exactly what they've done, because that's what makes them seem omniscient and omnipotent, and that Allows them to have considerably more control over their victim, she said: well, he he was a hacker and he threatened to compromise my devices in my accounts, and i was really scared about what he could do. He seemed really powerful and that really affected me. I didn't want anyone to ever feel too scared to speak out again, so i did whatmost people do when they're when they're angry on the internet. I tweeted and what i did not expect was like ten thousand retweets and tens of thousands of likes. I didn't expect my mailbox to be flooded.

I didn't expect this to come up again and again, every few months when people would screenshot this tweet and send it around and so a year and a half later, i still get messages about this [ music ]. I don't think that technology companies can completely eliminate stocking and abuse, but one of the things that they can do is they can take it into account. They can use that as one of their use cases when they're thinking about who's usingtheir products. Somebody needs to be in the room and say how is a stocker going to use this, and how are you going to address that? How is this going to play out in a case of domestic abuse, but the most important thing is is to empower victims and and to believe them. We need to change the norm to understand that spying on your spouse is not okay and spying on somebody that you're romantically interested in is not okay, i'm taking what i went through i'm building on it, i'm a stronger person - and i want to reach out - and I want to shout to everybody that this happens. It'S real, don't be afraid, you're notalone, there's so many of us out there and there's help out there. You hey nbc news viewers, thanks for checking out our youtube channel subscribe by clicking on that button down here and click on any of the videos over here to watch. The latest interviews show highlights, and digital exclusives thanks for watching.


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