As part of a recent conference where Apple unveiled features of iOS16 – the operating system of their mobiles – they announced that it would include a new privacy tool called Safety Check.
This feature is designed to help those experiencing domestic abuse, allowing them to see who potentially has access to passwords, location data, and other sensitive information. It is fantastic to see a major technology company exploring ways in which they can support those experiencing domestic abuse.
What is ‘Safety Check’?
Safety Check is designed to keep people safe and protect their passwords and information, allowing users to manage who has access to this information.
It also allows users to assess who has access to their location – a common feature often used by perpetrators to track their partner or ex-partner.
Safety Check allows users to perform an emergency reset that helps users easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand.
This allows survivors to take control of their technology and stay safe when using it, rather than feeling unable to use smartphones or potentially using them unsafely and giving away sensitive information.
Technology & Domestic Abuse
Technology is often exploited by perpetrators to monitor and control their partner or ex-partner, with the growth in smart technology increasing this in recent years.
Smartphones, and the apps that can be installed on them, are being increasingly used to track locations, monitor texts and calls, and control other smart appliances – such as video doorbells, heating, and household security cameras.
This is an issue that we have spoken about on our blog over the last couple of years, calling for restrictions on how some of this technology can be used, and calling on social media organisations to take greater responsibility to protect users.
We are delighted to see Apple supporting users to think about how safe their technology is and encouraging them to think about protecting their device. We hope that more technology companies follow Apple’s lead and consider what they can do to better protect consumers.
However, we would like to see more done to protect victims from this kind of abuse, including stricter regulation on social media and more consideration on who can purchase spyware software and items that enable someone to track their partner.
If you have experienced tech abuse by a partner or any other kind of domestic abuse and need to reach out, Leeway can be contacted by phone 24 hours a day. Just call 0300 561 0077 to talk to someone who can help.