Kaspersky, European Network Launch Digital Awareness Campaign On Tech Abuse
TECHDIGEST – Despite having an equally adverse impact as offline abuse, digital violence remains largely hidden behind a veil of excuses.
Kaspersky and the European Network for the Work with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence (WWP EN) have joined forces to raise awareness about abuse disguised as seemingly caring actions.
According to Kaspersky, efforts to keep a partner safe, or suspicions of infidelity, are widely accepted justifications for digital monitoring in a relationship. In fact, the latest global study commissioned by Kaspersky shows that 30% of respondents worldwide believe spying on a partner without their consent is acceptable, at least under some circumstances.
However, perpetrators of domestic violence can use this reasoning to hide their coercive and controlling behaviour, which in some circumstances can escalate to other unhealthy offline behaviours including mental and emotional abuse, and even physical violence.
The dedicated digital campaign #NoExcuse4Abuse by by Kaspersky and the WWP E, that will run during September 13-15, 2022, aims to shift the focus from suggesting how survivors should respond to this ill treatment and violence, to highlighting the perpetrators’ responsibility and showcasing the most common abusive behaviour in relationships that should be changed.
Digital abuse is a massive, widespread problem. The same Kaspersky study found that almost a quarter of respondents (24%) have been stalked by means of technology, and 37% of people worry about their partner violating their digital privacy.
Furthermore, the study showed that 15% of respondents are required by their partner to install a monitoring app, which is certainly an alarming statistic. Moreover, digital monitoring and controlling behaviour has the risk of escalating to offline forms of abuse, where women are significantly more likely to be victims of domestic abuse at the hands of their partner (30% versus 19%) than men.
The digital cards developed for the #NoExcuse4Abuse campaign are mostly directed at perpetrators exhibiting abusive behaviour via digital tools and will attempt to interrupt the reasoning that keeps them from addressing their violence.
“Technology can be a huge aid and open endless opportunities, but at the same time it can be a source of threats and real-life danger. Working in cybersecurity, we know that very well. With the rise of tracking software, online banking, social media, geotagging, perpetrators now have more tools than ever before. We feel that it is important to break the bias around this topic and help victims recognise the signs of possible digital abuse,” comments Maria Losyukova, Head of Sustainability at Kaspersky.
Anna McKenzie, Communications manager at WWP EN, remarks: “If we want to end domestic violence, we must start talking about the countless ways digital technology is being used to control and harass women. Abusive digital behaviours have become so ‘normalised’ that many men in our members’ programs aren’t even aware that their behaviours constitute violence. We are proud to shine a light on the flimsy excuses used to justify tech-facilitated abuse with the #NoExcuse4Abuse campaign.”
Kaspersky has been actively involved in the fight against stalkerware being one of the founders of the Coalition Against Stalkerware (CAS), an international working group dedicated to combating stalkerware and domestic violence.
The WWP EN is also one of the coalition’s founding organisations contributing greatly to the fight against stalker apps. The expertise provided by WWP EN, and the organisation’s experience working with various forms of abusers and perpetrators, allows it to develop effective ways to combat stalkerware.