Thursday, January 6, 2011

High Technology Stalking

Progress in technology has always gone hand-in-hand with human progress. We behold miracles that enable us to make our lives easier and improve health and longevity: robots reminding hospital workers of steps they should take to reduce tragic errors or the capturing of terrorists in response to probable cause.

But there's a darker side to technology: high technology stalking, where the motives can be malevolent. The object is not crime fighting but power, control and possibly murderous intention over a helpless and/or unknowing victim. The worst part is that surveillance equipment can be so small and so easy to disguise that it may never be detected, and that the victim may be followed and endangered by the very tools the abuser uses as he/she plans to escape.

From The Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse in a study commissioned by Violence Against Women Online Project:


Small wireless high-resolution cameras can be hidden in smoke detectors, children's lamps, or behind a pin-sized hole in a wall, and can even be activated remotely.

GPS: a small chip in a wristband

In 2003, the Supreme Court of New Jersey found that a defendant's video surveillance of his estranged wife in her bedroom presented a prima facie case of stalking and harassment under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act (H.E.S. v. J.C.S., 2003).

Ccleaner: "Scrubber" and "Washer" programs that claim to clear computer histories are ineffective if SpyWare is in use.

In addition to software programs, stalkers can use hardware devices called "Keystroke Loggers" that are inserted between the keyboard cable and the back of the computer. These tiny devices contain small hard drives that record every key typed, including all passwords, personal identification numbers (PIN), websites, and email.

More about this sort of surveillance in later posts.

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