While the idea behind home security and video surveillance is to make you feel safe, it's been clear as of late that many people don't use the technology for the right reasons. From Airbnb owners using it to spy on their own guests to websites streaming thousands of Canadian's indoor security footage for anyone to see, it definitely makes you think twice about installing cameras of your own.
Though the latest story to come as a result of home security footage being used for the wrong reasons, labelled as "tech abuse," is a truly terrifying result of what abusive partners can now do, thanks to smart technology. The victim claims that "if anybody would walk into this situation, they would think they were walking into a horror movie."
Ferial Nijem recounted the story of her relationship with a controlling partner who, in the beginning of their relationship, showed signs of being possessive with Nijem. She told CBC News, "he wouldn't just touch base with a text; he would call me on FaceTime and ask to say 'hi' to the person [I was with.]" Though that would prove minuscule in comparison to what followed.
The pair lived in the United States where their home was fully equipped with smart technology that could control the house's temperature, lights, sound system and security cameras. Not only could the system be controlled in the house but also through both of their phones through the company's phone app.
Nijem said her partner used this to his advantage and would monitor her throughout the day using the surveillance cameras throughout the house. She said this continued even when their relationship hit a rough patch and they chose to live separately. Claiming he used it to "maintain control of the house and would use it to terrorize her."
She told CBC News "in the middle of the night, I'm awake, and my dogs are awoken, by this blaring of music over the audio-system. You have the lights flickering on and off, TVs going on and off. It's almost like the house is haunted. It is only done to cause you trauma, to case fear, to cause anxiety."
Unfortunately, because the partner had set up the system, Nijem had no ability to override the system. Even if she shut it down, her house would shut down with it as the system controlled several crucial aspects of the house such as lighting and temperature.
Thankfully, Nijem eventually called the police and sought refuge in a women's shelter. She is now safe and no longer subject to the trauma she had suffered living in the house.
It's been predicted that nearly 158 million homes will have some sort of smart technology installed by the end of 2018, so what happened to Nijem could be a potential issue for millions of Canadians. While smart technology seems like a way to keep safe, it can clearly also be used to do the complete opposite.
When it comes to your home, you may want to think twice about installing all of the newest and greatest technology available. Or if you do want the whole nine yards when it comes to giving your home a tech facelift, consider who should and shouldn't have access to the controls and settings.
Source: CBC News