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Harassment Spreads To A New Frontier: Smart Home Technology

Earlier this month, Powell Police released hundreds of pages of records related to the case of Ohio State football coach Zach Smith and his ex-wife Courtney. One detail that arose from the files was apparent cyberstalking, when the email account for a security camera in Courtney Smith’s condominium was deactivated without her knowledge, while a hidden camera was found inside.

Lawyers say they’re seeing more cases of such “smart home harassment,” where abusers take advantage of connected devices like security cameras, which are only becoming more common.

“Here at the Legal Aid Society, we have seen survivors of domestic violence think they’re going crazy, because their lights are turning on and off, their song with their ex husband will come on in the middle of the night, things like that,” says attorney Tabitha Woodruff. “And they report it to police and sound like they’re lunatics because at first, it’s hard for people to understand and believe.”

These cases are often difficult to prosecute, because the legal system lags behind technological advancements.

“It’s kind of the Wild West when it comes to technology in that way,” attorney Dmitry Johnson says. “Courts are always evolving, it’s just it’s not necessarily in parallel in time with reality.”

 

Read the entire story at WOSU

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