12 Tips to Discuss if Someone You Know is in Danger

This was originally posted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence

  1. Trust Your Instincts If you suspect the abusive person knows too much, it is possible that your phone, computer, email, or other activities are being monitored.
  2. Plan For Safety Navigating violence, abuse, and stalking is very difficult and dangerous. Advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline are trained on technology issues, and can help you in your safety planning.
  3. Take Precautions If You Have A “Techy” Abuser If computers and technology are a profession or a hobby for the abuser/stalker, trust your instincts. If you think he/she may be monitoring or tracking you, talk to a hotline advocate or the police.
  4. Use A Safer Computer If anyone abusive has access to your computer, he/she might be monitoring your computer activities. It may be safest to use a computer at a public library, community center, or internet café.
  5. Create A New Email Account Consider creating an additional email account on a safer computer. Do not create or check this new email from a computer your abuser could access. Use an anonymous name and account. Look for free web-based email accounts and do not provide detailed information about yourself.
  6. Check Your Cell Phone Settings If you are using a cell phone provided by the abusive person, consider turning it off when not in use. If your phone has an optional location service, you may want to switch the location feature off/on.
  7. Change Passwords & Pin Numbers If anyone abusive knows or could guess your passwords, change them quickly and frequently.
  8. Minimize Use of Cordless Phones Or Baby Monitors If you don’t want others to overhear your conversations, turn baby monitors off when not in use and use a traditional corded phone for sensitive conversations.
  9. Use A Donated Or New Cell Phone When making or receiving private calls or arranging escape plans, try not to use a shared or family cell phone because cell phone billing records and phone logs might reveal your plans to an abuser. Contact your local hotline program to learn about donation programs that provide new cell phones and/or prepaid phone cards to victims of abuse and stalking.
  10. Ask About Your Records And Data Ask agencies how they protect or publish your records and request that court, government, post office, and others seal or restrict access to your files to protect your safety.
  11. Get A Private Mailbox And Don’t Give Out Your Real Address When asked by anyone for your address, have a private mailbox address or a safer address to give them. Try to keep your true residential address out of national databases.
  12. Search For Your Name On The Internet Major search engines (ie Google, Yahoo) may have links to your contact information. Search for your name in quotation marks: “Full Name”. Check phone directory pages because unlisted numbers might be listed if you have given the number to anyone.

How I Stalked My Girlfriend

This was originally posted by The Guardian, written by Ben Goldacre, on Wednesday February 1, 2006.

For the past week I’ve been tracking my girlfriend through her mobile phone. I can see exactly where she is, at any time of day or night, within 150 yards, as long as her phone is on. It has been very interesting to find out about her day. Now I’m going to tell you how I did it.

First, though, I ought to point out, that my girlfriend is a journalist, that I had her permission (“in principle …”) and that this was all in the name of science, bagging a Pulitzer and paying the school fees. You have nothing to worry about, or at least not from me.

But back to business. First I had to get hold of her phone. It wasn’t difficult. We live together and she has no reason not to trust me, so she often leaves it lying around. And, after all, I only needed it for five minutes.

I unplugged her phone and took it upstairs to register it on a website I had been told about. It looks as if the service is mainly for tracking stock and staff movements: the Guardian, rather sensibly, doesn’t want me to tell you any more than that. I ticked the website’s terms and conditions without reading them, put in my debit card details, and bought 25 GSM Credits for £5 plus vat.