The Internet of Shit: a godsend for abusers and stalkers

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Folks, you lost control the day you ceded it to the IoT.
Ugh, how about IoT deadbolts? Are those a thing yet? May as well have one of those awful fingerprint padlocks on the door.


More and more happy every day that we own absolutely zero smart devices.


The only I0T devices I have are a wifi plug and a temperature and humidity logger that a made with Wemos D1. I’m not too worried… yet.

I think a lot of IoT things just aren’t practical to begin with, and I think over time the novelty will wear off and the selection of the types of devices will thin out. A wifi connected pressure cooker is absurd.

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Yes. Everyone here is very smug that we aren’t stupid enough to allow any IoT devices in their homes, me included. Well done us.

Meantime, this attitude heads in the general direction of victim-blaming and the law fails to keep up. It should be simple for an abused person to go to court to get an order prohibiting app access to any home device from named people. The devices ought to be more secure in general of course, but ought to include the ability to identify in some way who is accessing a device, via logs that ought to be legal evidence. If it is the ‘owner’ then all passwords should be able to be reset, again on the order of a court (well something like this …). Yes, courts are slow and expensive, and there will be other and complementary solutions/approaches. But the law needs to get to grips with this sort of thing, better than it currently does.


Path. It’ll never catch on, too complicated.


are like 50% of people sociopaths or something?



I don’t know if the same on everyone’s feed, but on mine, immediately before this post is an ad for a wireless security camera,…


All it takes is a Facebook account. A friend of mine met that guy at a party. He seemed like a nice bloke, so she agreed to meet for Badminton. After a couple of games, the guy wanted more but she didn’t, so she told him “good friends, etc.”. Suddenly, a lot of new Facebook users started popping up as new friends her own friend’s accounts and starting chats about her, spreading rumors and mining for info. Little by little, the poison started to work and people were asking her strange personal stuff… you know… the famous old Goebbels quote at work: if you want people to believe a lie, just repeat it over and over again. Ended up with her having to leave Facebook forever; basically not a bad thing but principally one you would preferably decide on without feeling pressed.


Why wouldn’t this be a criminal offence? Unauthorised use of computer system.



Because the abuser is probably fully authorised to use the computer system. In many cases they probably bought, installed and configured it, in the shared home. And then left/got thrown out while retaining said authorisation. Many prosecutors/police may be reluctant to press charges in such cases.

ETA In some jurisdictions, anti-stalking laws may apply (?) but I doubt many have provision for this sort of scenario.


It would seem an obvious solution is disconnect and replace the modem/router, change the SSID and password, but IoT home automation devices typically have a call out function. so eradicating a crafty abuser is still going to be a tedious and time consuming undertaking, and overwhelming for a victim already dealing with a raft of other emotional and scary shit.


because, define authorization.

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Pardon my skepticism.

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I can’t even be smug about not having any IOT devices, because there’s nothing there of any use to me. I could understand that might not be true for others, though. And in this case we’re talking about devices that the victims didn’t even install themselves.

Most people, much less the judicial system haven’t come to terms with the tech in people’s homes. Nothing new there - I’m remembering when covert video surveillance systems became affordable, and how many years it took before the law recognized that secretly installing such a system in someone else’s home to record them naked was maybe a crime. In this case it makes a bad situation worse, given that we’re talking about domestic abuse/stalking that only in recent decades was even treated as a crime and which law enforcement still does a poor job in handling (when they do at all).

The mention of some women were being held for psychiatric observation because they said their exes knew what was going on in their house really shows how out of touch with modern realities many people are. Law enforcement’s first question, before even thinking of psychiatric issues, should have been about “smart” devices in the home, not leaping to the assumption that the woman was crazy. But I suspect police are apt to side with abusers, given how prevalent domestic abuse is in police forces; writing off women as crazy is probably pretty common.

Given how common it is for abusers/stalkers to leverage the power of cell phones for harassing/stalking, and how much easier it is to make use of devices where they were the ones who installed and maintained them to begin with, I can’t see how it couldn’t be an epidemic among abusive exes. Only the ownership rates for IOT devices would be the limiting factor (and thanks to Google and Amazon, they’re probably fairly high in middle class+ homes).


Consider average assholery, and realize that half the population is below average and even more of a selfish asshole.

I agree about the victim-blaming, although I don’t think a restraining order should even be needed. However, because of human nature we do need them in the physical world on top of trespassing laws, so you have a good point.

There’s a long tradition of writing off any complaints as ‘female hysteria’, especially regarding unmarried women or women who’ve split from a relationship. Would be nice to think that in the 21st century we’ve moved past that, but again 50% of people are below average on the uptake.


From what I’ve been able to find (on a moment’s whim) the installed base of IOT security cameras (US numbers) is 32 million, and smart thermostats are at 12 million. “Other” smart whatever is 19 million. So it’s maybe around 5% of homes? (Some households will have more than one, most households have several people, so I’m taking the cheap way and assuming that these balance out to per capita.)

I personally don’t know anyone who’s mentioned owning one of these things. (One Amazon Alexa, but it isn’t connected to anything else.)

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