Dark tech: 6 ways abusive spouses use digital tools for control

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Divorce

With the rise of the “Internet of Things,” technology has become even more deeply intertwined into people’s lives than ever. While technological advances bring numerous benefits, they can also be misused. 

Abusive spouses have found ways to turn digital devices and online platforms into tools they can use to control their victims. Here are some examples:

1. Constant surveillance through smartphones

Abusers sometimes misuse smartphones to monitor their victims’ every move. Tracking apps, GPS devices and location services can be manipulated to keep tabs on someone’s whereabouts, leaving the victim feeling constantly observed and without any sense of privacy or freedom.

2. Social media manipulation

Social media platforms can be a breeding ground for manipulation and control. Abusive spouses may monitor, manipulate or isolate their victims by controlling their online interactions, monitoring friend lists, and even creating fake profiles to keep an eye on their partners or “test” their fidelity.

3. Digital threats and intimidation

The internet provides a platform for abusers to issue threats and intimidation. Abusive spouses may use email, messaging apps or social media to send threatening messages from anonymous accounts. That can help instill fear that’s designed to help them keep their victim from feeling safe at any time.

4. Exploiting smart home devices

As homes become “smarter” with the integration of digital devices, abusers can do everything from remotely controlling the security cameras to adjusting the thermostat settings. They can even lock their victim inside the home. That means that a victim may not even be able to feel safe when they’re home alone.

5. Financial control through online platforms

Online banking and financial apps can be exploited by abusive spouses to control their victims economically. By monitoring transactions in real time to restrict access to marital funds, or even stealing the victim’s identity information, abusers can trap their victims in a cycle of financial dependency.

6. Revenge Porn and Online Harassment

Abusive partners may resort to sharing intimate images of their victims or engaging in online harassment of the victim as a means of retaliation or control.

Recognizing how technology can be misused within abusive relationships is crucial for raising awareness and providing support for victims. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, seeking help is crucial in breaking free from the cycle of abuse.

At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is trying to leave an abusive marriage, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.

Let Me Be Your Brave

Mia Poppe, Esq.

Mia Poppe, Esq.
Managing Partner