From Cyber Stalking to Spyware - What Do We Know About Stalkerware in Intimate Partner Violence Situations?
6:52PM Jul 31, 2020
intimate partner violence
becoming more and more accessible, providing the general public the ability to track, monitor and control others. These systems are particularly dangerous to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence. Our next talk will share insights from the presenters ongoing research project to map out the existing state of knowledge on stalkerware including the latest studies, journalistic research and analysis tools to present Tomas Bermudez, Madeline Esposito and Jay nooner. With from cyberstalking to spyware. What do we know about stalker wearing intimate partner violence situation
panelists can unmute, please.
Sorry. Hello, thank you for the introduction. Hello, good morning. Good afternoon and good evening. My name is Thomas Bermudez and I will be presenting today alongside my co researchers mother didn't Esposito and j nooner on the subject of stalkerware, and it's used in intimate partner violence situations. as researchers, our background experiences, or backgrounds, experiences and prior knowledge is quite varied. Have all nonetheless, from the topic at hand to be incredibly important and a concerning subject. Our research is part of a Master's in Public Administration with a focus on digital technologies and policy within The science technology engineering and public policy department at UCL, otherwise known as the additionally this, this research is being carried out for Chen, a volunteer network addressing gender based violence. Chen operates in the UK, Pakistan, India and Italy through their online platform and activism on the part of its volunteers, and is an organization run by and for survivors of gender based violence. And it sees its functions as signposting relevant and useful services and providing access to information on topics related to gender based violence. Well, then, we'll be expanding upon this later on in the presentation. With the introductions out of the way, let us get started with our presentation. So what is stalkerware? will give you a quick rundown on the subject but while you do please head to slide.io that is sli.do And insert the code
which is 95917. So that you may answer some questions that we will be having throughout the presentation. And three specifically, but and to clarify, we will not be using any data collected throughout this it was this is an engagement tool if you will, to have keep the presentation flowing and entertaining hopefully are. So coming back to software our working definition is technologies used to stalk or spy on others activities via their infected devices. So for example, it could be a piece of software installed on a target's mobile phone, computer or other device to record what they do on that device where the where they go is tracked by device location services, key logging and the like. Importantly, however, stalkerware is is an incredibly complex topic and as such, we immediately start to question what technology actually fits under the umbrella of stalkerware stalkerware. And its related terms such as spouse wear, spyware and creep were to name a few generally refers to technologies used to stop, track and monitor others, others activities through infected devices. The extent to which any one technology allows for this varies And importantly, the intention of creation. Berry's spy, an image of which is shown, which is shown on the slide on the slide. If I it's an example of a program that other researchers have classified to stalkerware and is currently available on Apple and Android app stores and spy lists functionalities including live GPS location tracking, and contact list monitoring. Well, there are many apps like and spy on App Stores, including parental monitoring apps like and Guardian, a parental control app that lists the ability to monitor and block SMS text messages, web browsing, activity, applications usage and more. The complexity of the issue grows when we note the other products or services like Google Maps, find my phone and find my friends also allow users to see the live location of others. While the intent of these applications might not be to allow stalking and harassment, their functions nonetheless enable these actions. Moreover, we are not just concerned with the technology available through app stores, but also ones that can be purchased directly from companies websites on an online platforms, or through private individuals contacted via forums and other mechanisms. An example of such a program would be Flexi spy, which is not on the app store's at the moment but is available via a separate web via a separate website and again, notes its capacity again, For location tracking method, message and common monitoring, amongst other things. Later on, Jay will be expanding more into detail on the matters of stalkerware. Specifically. However, importantly, stalkerware by itself is only one part of our project our project is concerned with when these technologies are applied in the context of intimate partner violence. These all these functions that I mentioned, and more that will be mentioned, are built upon late are used by perpetrators on others. Being able to track where someone is or who they can talk to what information they can access through the personal devices gives increased control to the user of software. Moreover, it can affect not only the person whose phone software on it, but also any people who are dependent on them, including children. Importantly, participants in our project noted that there was a general need for research and awareness into intimacy partner violence, not just stalkerware. While a known common problem, it is often not talked about project or project notes that it's concerned is not just the technology, but also the human relationships that are being impacted by that, and I will now detail our approach to the subject and the layout of our project.
Thank you, Thomas.
Hello, my name is Madeleine Esposito. And now I will give an overview of our project and lay out our research process.
of our project, as it stands is mapping the state of knowledge on the use of stalkerware in contact in the context of intimate partner violence. Our project aims to map out the existing knowledge base in the state of research on the on the issue of stalkerware. And specifically, our project aims include coalescing a shared understanding of the terms used and identifying critical gaps in past and ongoing research and policy, both of which may show the trajectory of these fields and areas of improvement. Our research consists of three phases. The first one is a systematic literature review. The second one is around semi structured interviews, and the final one is an online survey. The latter two phases we conducted with self identified researchers and experts who work or have worked on and around the topic of technology facilitated domestic and sexual violence and abuse IPv and cybersecurity. In line with the cross cutting and inter interdisciplinary nature of this issue, we decided to recruit participants across different sectors, namely academia, the voluntary and statutory sectors, the tech sector as well as the media. The insights gathered from both the interviews and the survey will inform our report, which as mentioned before will contribute along with the literature review to summarize the body of knowledge and evidence based on stalkerware describe the evolution of this research area and underline any policy and research gaps. Our goal is to ultimately We produce a guide for academics, policymakers and interested organizations working on stalkerware which should aid to direct future research policy decisions as well as possible interventions for support organizations. I will now describe a little bit what was our research path? When we started out with our research in December. We are based we basically were based that UCL University College London and our department steep, called science, technology, engineering and public policy has a world leading IoT research hub called a trust National Center of Excellence, which produces cutting edge research on IoT systems cyber security, of which our supervisor Dr. Leoni answer is part. Dr. tensors tensor has been working on a project about the implications of the IoT on victims of domestic violence and abuse, called g IoT. So Jen And IoT, when our approaching our dissertation as I mentioned before in December into tech facilitated abuse, we noticed with our supervisor that within the topic of tech facilitated abuse, there seemed to be sparse knowledge about stalkerware and research gaps around stalkerware and IPv. However, it took us a few research proposals to find the right angle. In brainstorming ideas for how we could approach our research, we came up with many choices all varying in angle and subject of study. But we noticed that all of our ideas were either outside of our resources or outside of our topic or knowledge, or way too complicated to tackle within the scope of our degree. One thing that however we kept coming back to during the initial stages was that the research topic was in fact too sparse and we could not get a comprehensive grasp of it. So for this reason, we decided to do a standard That mapped the read the knowledge and the research on the topic. I would say that at the outset, excuse me of our research, we intended to address a set of key issues and questions. Firstly, we wanted to understand who is currently doing research on this topic, and we're currently addressing the topic. Secondly, we want to understand what terminology is used to describe stalkerware. And this is because we want to contribute to creating a consensus or at least a clear understanding of the definition of stalkerware because we felt that without a clear agreed upon consensus on a definition, work on and around stalkerware is increasingly difficult not just for academics, but also for, for instance, anti malware producers who need to know what and how to classify threats. Another key questions that we quick key question that we wanted to respond to, is what disciplines or sectors are covered Currently giving attention to this topic, then we wanted to understand how the different sectors are approaching in tackling this issue and where they're conducting research because one thing that we noticed, of course, is that stalkerware is a transnational issue. And it is important to highlight where research is being currently carried out. And finally, we wanted to understand what were the research gaps that needed to be addressed.
Our research path, however, was also dictated by the ethical implications of the possible avenues that we intend to take at the beginning of our project. Initially, for instance, we felt that it would have been very insightful to conduct interviews with survivors of IPv or domestic violence. In dealing with a subject that is connected to populations at risk. We needed to be very careful when deciding how we wanted to frame our research. And although there there is a lot of work to be done with survivors of tech enabled IPv, including stalkerware, we felt that it was best not to approach the sound of the project, especially considering our time constraints and our lack of topical knowledge. Additionally, we also consider the angle of analyzing social media, or public forums, where perpetrators 16 seek information justify their actions or look for products and distribution lines for stalkerware. Our concern here was, however, that both the research ethics regarding scraping data from forums and concern for our online safety and potential visibility of the project as the populations being researched might have been unhappy with our research and potentially target us. But early may ultimately, we do recognize that there is a lot of work to be done on this aspect of the of the issue as well. But as I mentioned, we probably didn't have the right means or expertise to do so. When considering our approach, we also have to consider the methodology by which we would carry out our research. And as mentioned before, within this, we're also considered our expert expertise in our existing knowledge constraints. While at certain points, we considered carrying out more technical or psychology related studies, we recognized that we lacked this experience to conduct a study that was fair and useful. So we have to also consider the transnational aspect of the problem of stalkerware. And any method or subject had to in one way or another, acknowledge this aspect by either limiting it to a geographical or political region or take on the entire entirety of the issue, so analyze it globally. To illustrate this point, for instance, we considered scraping and analyzing data off of Google and Apple App Stores. But we recognize that we would be getting skewed data because the three of us at the moment at that time we're living in the UK, but apps obviously can be put on the US AppStore from other places geographically, so this approach would have not worked for an observation that was valid only for the UK. And moreover, we also had time constraints and ethics allowance constraints as well.
basically, when we decided to concentrate our efforts on mapping out the state of knowledge on stalkerware and IPv, we are set up set out on a current methodology that is inspired by the 2015 paper by Lita Jarvis and Stuart MacDonald on cyber terrorism called what is cyber terrorism findings from a survey of researchers, which basically employed a survey of the global research community to gauge definitions and understanding of the concept of cyber terrorism. Jarvis and MacDonald's approach is justified on three principle ambitions. The first one was to map the areas of consensus, disagreement and ambiguity around the term cyber terrorism. The second one was to answer understand whether these definitional issues had an impact on research and policy discussions on the matter. And the third one was to map out the research activity in the area including possible research avenues that were unexploited unexplored until that moment to. To address these three ambitions. They first conducted a literature review to set the grounds of existing research on the topic. Through this literature review, they then identified key researchers and professionals working in the area and subsequently they address these identified researchers and invited them to complete a survey. We found that Travis and McDonald's what they set out to do in their article resonated with some of the questions that we had been asking ourselves where we were coming up with our proposal, namely the lack of an agreed definition for policy and research the transnational nature of the problem and the fragmented research field.
We felt that we
could easily transpose this to the state of the art on stock aware and designed our method methodology. Accordingly, as I mentioned briefly above, I'm going to outline briefly our methodology. As I said, the first stage was a literature review. And for our literature review, we carried out several searches, refining search terms and density of relevant results until conducting a final search via the database ProQuest. The goal of the literature review was to get as complete of a summary of existing tests across multiple multiple kinds of publication and approaches to the subject of stalkerware and IPv. And not existing knowledge within the spheres of academia, journalism and other source types. Additionally, we use two factors including methodology and topic within the realm of stalkerware and intimate partner violence to triangulate relevant resources. Our final raw search was of approximately 1200 sources from which we extract extracted about 200 relevant sources as we defined relevance after hours review we formulated relevant interview questions for our intern intended pool of participants, consisting of practitioners, experts and individuals working in academia, the nonprofit sector, the private sector, the statutory sector, working in the areas of awareness, broadly within cyber security, domestic abuse or tech facilitated abuse, in that the intention with these interviews was to gather information of the firsthand experiences, knowledge and concerns of research working on and around stalkerware. Just this week, we entered the final phase of our research, which is the online survey, and you can find the link here on the screen and you are encouraged to participate. In fact, as with our interviews, we're seeking participants as I just mentioned, among practitioners, experts, individuals working on cybersecurity domestic abuse tech facility The abuse of particularly, particularly within academia, the nonprofit sector, the private sector, the statutory sector, and the media that have some connection with software and IPv. The intention with the survey is to delve deeper and reflect on the insights from our previous interviews, and moving to words specifically a shared definition and understanding of the field. Once the survey is completed, because as I mentioned, is currently live, we will do a more in depth analysis across our data sources and then we will be distributing our research results through both our partner Chang and potentially UCL. I will now leave the floor to Jay who will give an outline of our findings so far. Thanks,
madalina. Hi, everyone. I'm Jay nooner. So at the beginning of this talk, we started to talk around the question What is stalkerware? And while we gave our working definition, the reality is that as we've noted and stuck around does not have a universally agreed definition. Some researchers and experts have developed and published detailed classifications of apps considered to be stalkerware. Others will share what they feel could be part of that category. And that's not to say that either approach is wrong, right. But we do aim to help coalesce a shared definition of stalkerware from the reviewed literature and insights from the experts themselves.
And so as noted, again,
by Thomas, the working definition we have is technologies used to stalk or spy on others activities via their infected devices. But we've been exploring each of these words kind of separately in our conversations with the experts. So for example, which technologies specifically are stalkerware? Do they have to have been technologies marketed or created with the purpose of stalking or spying, what functionalities make something stalkerware does the technology have to operate in a specific way so for example, being covert rather than overt to be classified as stalkerware and as I share my About the terminology we've been exploring, I want to encourage you to visit slido. That's sli.do and enter the event code 95917. There, you can think on the question of what terminology you may have come across in your own work that relates to the kind of tech of use we're describing here. So again, we've used the term stalkerware a lot, but many other terms are in use as evidence through the literature we reviewed and the interviews conducted to date. It seems that some other terms are used interchangeably, like spyware, for example, though many have noted that this is actually much broader category of app, often more affiliated with state based cyber attacks and the like. Other terms that are used about apps with similar monitoring or tracking purposes include Parental Control apps, and more recently in this new age of remote connectivity bus were. So employee monitoring apps and other terms that have also cropped up but are not necessarily widespread include software and the actions associated with stalkerware are also given variations in terms of How they're described sometimes been called a form of violence, or coercion, harassment or stalking. This is also contrasted sometimes to what experts consider, quote unquote real stalking in some contexts. So for example, physical tracking in person, and physical violence, but in many cases, they noted that these were kind of intricately tied, let's say. And we've also seen some interesting trends emerging when it comes to discussion of the intimate partner violence and gendered framings of our research. Our primary focus there is not to do any of these trends, but we have superficially found a concentration of language focused on partners, wives, spouses, and direct allusion to the prevalence of use by men against women in the context of intimate partner violence. These complexities and these different kind of terms used in the field they've as as my colleagues noted, made it difficult to create a simple search for coverage on this topic, even to develop a coding structure for our results, and to formulate our interviewing survey questions to be as open to varying language use as possible, but this complexity is one of the main reasons we chose to look at the sea of knowledge in this realm, as there's really a significant need to untangle this web to inform better research on stalkerware. So how exactly does dark web work in general, someone attempting to use stalkerware needs physical access to the device and or password access, so privileged access to the operating system wide permissions, so you know, being allowed to download something, and different different access needs that the app would have. So that could include a device password, an app store password. And this enables the person applying the app the targeted up to ensure they get the permissions that the app needs, again, things like logging keystrokes, accessing location data, etc. But the answer to avoiding getting stuck around your phone is not as simple as don't give someone else your phone or don't give them your password. For one thing in situations of abuse. This is not always possible. And furthermore, many people just in general, don't practice good cyber safety. You know, for example, they allow others to use their passwords to access their phones or allow others to see them screens while they're using their devices. And some researchers, testing applications they've identified of stalkerware have also found that some operating systems seem to allow the deployed app more permissions than others. So for example, the Android operating system seems to be in this way a bit less secure than the Apple iOS operating system and defending against stalkerware deployment. This, again, is where definitions and classification come into play. There's the question of whether stalkerware includes native operating system functions, or even apps that just gather large amounts of data like Facebook, of course, which different researchers and practitioners have different opinions about
functionality. And specifically, the functionality that is strictly associated with stalkerware means that categorizing and really critically identifying apps as Star Wars difficult example parent will control apps when used by parents to check on their children use similar functionalities, so are they stalkerware and finding evidence of Star Wars presence on a phone is still limited and can easily be misinterpreted. Current detection mechanisms are things like noticing your device battery life is decreasing more rapidly. We're seeing notifications about apps that you're maybe not so familiar with the device taking more time to start up or to load. But there can be any number of reasons these things happen on a device anyway. So there's a possibility that a person might think their device has stuck around it when, in fact their partner has access to the device directly and can therefore simply access their apps and data for is checking up on them in some way. Alternatively, the affected individual might believe certain things that happened on their device or simply things they don't remember doing, or normal functionality or similar when in fact, they do have stalker installed on their device. And currently, the anti malware and anti virus products out there, they don't do a great job of identifying these these apps. And then when it comes to stalkerware technologies, who exactly is making them? We didn't choose, as we mentioned, to investigate and map the ecosystem behind stalkerware. But the literature we've reviewed, and conversations with experts indicate it would not have been a simple task. These producing company software producing companies they pop in and out of existence. They hide by new names. And as with the transnational nature of the internet, the ability of anyone, anywhere to create such a product and distributed and anyone that anywhere to download the apps makes tracking down and legislating against awkward companies difficult. Some research has been conducted on where software apps can be purchased or downloaded. But understanding what brings the perpetrator to do so to even go go find that out in the first place is a potential area for future research and a critical one. And that brings us to the question of really who is using stalkerware partner violence? There's limited research again on the perpetrators of these technologies, you know, we don't know necessarily too much about their demographics. We can guess in some cases that their motivations but there's no empirical research on that. user journeys their day to day use of the technologies all these remain open questions. And in the context in which we are examining stalkerware intimate partner violence. We you know, we do believe that the prominent users are people and relationships work previously in relationships. These apps are marketed to existing Meaning stalkerware that I'm sorry, these apps are marketed to them with language such as, is your wife cheating on you use this app to find out. So we know which target audiences they're likely getting with such ads such language. But what are these people? These were people who were already perpetrating other forms of harassment, abuse and violence or whether stalker apps are predominantly their first foray into such actions. It's not entirely clear, again, direct research with perpetrators paths or presidents limited. As for who was affected, seemingly, the effects are directly on the targeted partners themselves, because they're the ones using the effective devices. This is at least something that we've seen commonly cited. But it's possible that other affiliated individuals, including others, physically near the affected devices, for example, other victims who might be in a domestic abuse shelter, or others who other people who use the devices in addition to the targeted partner, like dependent children may be affected as well. Detailed research just has not been conducted here.
And underpinning all
of this is the question of why why stalkerware intimate partner violence Again, we don't have too much knowledge on the motivation of perpetrators or with motivation of software producing companies and their developers, and is likely that such motivations would be connected in a more general way to motivations, for example, on the part of perpetrators on stalking, stalking and harassing, in general, on the company's perhaps just making money. But again, direct empirical research on that remains limited.
So looking a little
bit more specifically at the different pieces of data that we've gathered so far. When it comes to our literature review. We've noticed somewhat interestingly that most of the publications were coming out of Australia, the US and the UK, though, a big caveat there that we did only conduct our search on English language publications due to the collective language abilities of our research team. We kept our relevance settings quite broad at first using any mention of context, any mention of soccer in the context of intimate partner violence. And we found that many of our have eventually whittled down to hundred pieces. We're focused on discrete instance. So most Those of newsmedia saying that somebody had experienced the use of stalkerware in an intimate partner violence context, as just a single news piece, or general advice for good cyber hygiene, and a handful of more in depth research pieces on stalkerware use intimate partner partner violence did stand out. And we'll share a bit more about those in a minute. But these pieces often seem to center on three particular methodologies. One was legal analysis. So understanding what policies into this big jurisdictions were could be used against stalkerware technical analysis, such as how the apps operate on different devices, operating systems, and content analysis. So back to that point about marketing and advertising language looking at that, that's used by the software producing companies. And the texts you see here were the ones that we found to be foundational for our work in understanding the terminology and framing our approach to the key issues in the field. These included the consumer spiral industry, at a deaconess, Deakin University and I can be many kinds of creep were used for interpersonal issues. Talks by researchers from nortonlifelock. Cornell Tech in New York University, the predator in your pocket by the citizen lab in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, and the spyware using intimate partner violence by researchers out of Cornell Tech from Cornell University, New York University, Technion and Hunter College. These are to us, again, quite foundational, and we'd really recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
And well, we
can't share too much at the moment about our interviews as we've actually just completed them. You know, I've mentioned that covered in a few insights from what I shared previously. And an interesting trend. That was just it was kind of reassuring in some ways to see this in these interviews was that there really is a lack of one shared definition for stalkerware. Just sort of pointing back to the need for this kind of research that we're conducting here. We've also seen some commonalities in how people reflect about the challenges across all sectors, time and resources. Those those remain critical when it comes to engaging with the issue of intimate partner violence. Specifically, in your excuse me in your home, but certainly with stock where specifically this, you know, especially for the support sector, they when it comes to dealing with stalkerware, they may need further technical knowledge and upskilling to deal with victims and survivors so directly. But this is, you know, these challenges are pretty universal, it seems across the different sectors we examined, according to the researchers we spoke to. And people we've spoken to have also shared some further research needs for the field that we found notable, including more information needed on the prevalence of stalkerware use in intimate partner violence, so hard data, and where that could come from, you know, there's lots of ideas floating out there, but they all seem pretty, pretty difficult to tackle. So for example, getting direct access to many, many suffers devices to to kind of see what's, what are their stock, where on there, things like that. And so that, that just remains, you know, that in the attack of survivors, the impact on survivors, remains an area for further research as well. And as I mentioned before, it's interesting to hear a lot of fields kind of saying, you know, we don't know these things. And, you know, we don't know sort of what we don't know that kind of phenomenon. So that was a bit reassuring and seeing that our research into the state of knowledge could be helpful for this broader work. And as madalina briefly mentioned, we will be gathering further insights via our just launch survey that runs through August 10. We do encourage your participation. If you feel that you fit the criteria. The link is displayed on the slide. Or you can email us at steep sta pp. hyphen stalkerware at UCL AC Wk. And now I will turn it over to Tomas.
That's it. Thank you so much. Right. So, now that we have shown you our work and giving you a glimpse into the current state of software and its application in intimate partner violence, what is next. As mentioned, our project is concerned with mapping out the existence of knowledge on the subject and noting who is working on At what topics are being covered where it's being covered from so on. Now, I wanted to quickly make a point to say why we chose to present that hope for and give two reasons specifically, we wanted to make sure we gave airtime to our project firstly to continue raising awareness on the subject and look for people to engage with us and others working in the area. Secondly, though, we also wanted to specifically present that hope because we feel that the community of people presenting and attending the conference, have keen knowledge on technologies and their construction knowledge that could very well be useful for all these aspects of the realm of stalkerware that are not covered yet.
So what is needed in the field? There is one
there is as one might expect a need for further research through our commercial with researchers thus far and our own insights from literature, review, interviews, and so on, we have come up with an initial list of areas that are either missing attention, knowledge or resources, though I do encourage you again to slide out and insert your own ideas into how you think the whole community themselves could come part of dealing with this problem. So to highlight a few points with survivors, there is a need for more data on the prevalence of stalkerware use and intimate partner violence. While we know stalkerware is a technology that is increasingly in use is hard to quantify how much it truly is. This becomes even more complicated when we understand that stalkerware can encompass a variety of technologies that are sourced and talked about in different ways. If we were to know what is used, and what Or at least have a clearer understanding of it policymakers and the general public could adapt, can adapt then address the threats specific to where they are and who they are, through education, better security, personal security practices, and many other. Moreover, survivors. There's a need for useful advice, useful tools. As we have noted, there are varying concerns regarding the technical knowledge and experiences of the people affected by software. You mentioned that our interviewees off our interviewing mentioned that often it is bad security practices that the cause cause data privacy loss. However, it never hurts to have advice and particular legal advice that is untechnical or less technical. So that means maybe applied by people with perhaps not as much tech expertise This is a short list of some there is a short list of some publications providing advice to survivors. If you're curious, all these publications and more are linked at the end of the presentation, and we are also happy to be contacted to provide further links and thoughts. So and then, moving on on to the actions that are needed regarding the stalkerware itself and the economy around it. Well, much more work has been done on the technical aspects of soccer where there is little understanding of the supporting structures behind the business. future research into the subject could seek to map out the commercial procedures and related corporate actors involved in producing stalkerware. Along these lines, documenting the business strategies and revenue streams would also be interesting and useful. The idea behind this research is derived again from the conversations we have had throughout the project with participants internally advocacy groups and policymakers knew how these systems work, they would be able to campaign for and pass legislation regulating software, the business level. Finally, for frontline workers, there is also a need for a conversation regarding what can be provided to them. There is a need, again for useful tools and mostly accessible knowledge and tools that provide frontline workers with something to use to help protect the people that are showing up affected by software or potentially affected by software. These tools, these tools could include steps for detection, how to preserve evidence for legal use, and the basic steps to protect individuals who come into the shelter looking for help. With as a final point here, policymakers do the judiciary and the statutory sector. The public at large, require really education and awareness of the problem. And there is a need to kind of consider the wider societal impact of software and importantly for the people like judges, policymakers, police and someone who are having to work with people potentially affected or legislate. On the subject of software, there is a need, again, for Accessible knowledge accessible tools to really understand the problem.
With all that said, What did we mean by the hope community having an important knowledge? Well, here are some thoughts. What can you do? Well, we, as a few ideas, we think potentially the hook community could help create accessible detection and removal tools for people with little to no tech backgrounds. Investigate deeper into any and all aspects of software that we have mentioned or any that we might have missed. Talk about software. to raise awareness, promote safe practices on the part of individuals, and importantly, promote conscious programming of technologies so that software producers avoid creating more technology that could be used as software. And like we have previously stated, and I'll plug it in one last time, you are obviously invited to participate in our online survey. The link was provided previously, but we can put it back up on if people are interested. And finally, some concluding thoughts. stalkerware is a complex tech and societal issue. Conversations with researchers on the subject have helped us understand the intricacies of current state of the technology and the context. Throughout our work. We have heard a variety of proposed solutions, often depending on the background of the individual proposing, however, the realization many have had is that you can have the most sophisticated tech define the problem, but the problem at its root is the societal need to Why are people producing this technology? Why is it seen as normal to surveil a partner, or any, any plethora of questions that are really digging at the root of the problem and kind of linking again, back to the fact that we're not just talking about technology, but we're talking about an intersection of technology and its impact on human relationships. Thank you for attending our presentation and engaging with US Soccer where remains a concerning topic, and it records it's an action of many kinds. Our project will be going on until early September and will At which point, we will start looking at options to share our results both through UCL and China. And yes, we will be going into time for questions, I think. So please feel free to ask away and thank you again for your time. Suddenly, it is
indeed time for questions. Thank you so much. And again, we would like to thank You Tomas Bermudez, Madalena Esposito and J. nooner. Again, this is from cyberstalking to spyware. What do we know about stalkerware? An intimate partner violence situations? Hope attendees are absolutely Welcome to Ask questions in the matrix chat. We do have a two part question from the audience. So it'll start with part one. And when you're ready, let me know for part two. The question is, is part of the problem for digital IPTV? A normalization or cultural expectation of oversharing in relationships, that includes things like passwords or accounts or devices, etc.
Um, so I'll take this first question. I so our study specifically hasn't necessarily because we have to focus on the state of knowledge and focus on the research aspect and the people doing the research. It's hard to truly answer but I will say that one of the reasons why We look we started looking at this subject in the first place was that there was interest on the part both of UCL and Chen and other organizations to look into this subject as they were finding that this was a problem that perhaps they were encountering more often. And so perhaps there is some truth to this point of normalization and the cultural expectation of oversharing. It's the thought that because this technology enables people to stop more easily, perhaps it is kind of the societal that we need to perhaps often focus on.
hopefully that answered. Yeah, if
I can jump in, maybe, Apple. Yeah,
go for it.
Yeah, I think this is something
that has been pointed out to us in a couple of interviews that normalization Surveillance in romantic relationships is definitely part of the problem. So I don't know if it's if oversharing fits within the umbrella of like surveillance within intimate relationships, because obviously between sharing and surveilling, like there is a different there's different power dynamics, but in terms of like giving passwords giving access to accounts or devices, that seems to be very normalized, according to some researchers that we interviewed. So that's probably a yes. At least on on my end from my opinion.
Next question. Hope has had some other talks this week concerning domestic violence. Can you explain simply why victims are blamed and why victims are often mis portrayed as being sexually loose, immoral, etc. Sure,
I can take this one.
So, you know, we can't speak to why some individuals choose to frame the conversation that way. I will put words into my co-researchers analysis and say that this is something that it's just not the approach that should be taken to domestic violence. Again, you know, in terms of the the actual approach that our research took, it wasn't about this framing and, and kind of being engaged with victims in that way. We were very much looking at, at the research field of the use of this technology in these contexts. So, you know, I regret that we certainly can't kind of into that in a more, more well researched, kind of empirical way but, you know, it's obviously a major issue society. There. It has many roots, from misogyny to racism, many sexism in general transphobia there's so many reasons that these, these frames come up. It's just something that you know, we as individuals, again, speak on behalf of us, I think just reject wholeheartedly. So we hope that our research can can help to kind of explain a little bit more about what's going on. And hopefully that can start to shift the conversation against speaking of it editorially there.
So to kind of,
again, dovetail with that, do you think it's beneficial to talk about intimate partner violence at the same time as talking about other crimes, it sometimes seems that intimate partner violence is approached as being a less serious violation.
So I'm happy to follow up on this one, and I'm very much kind of agreeing with what just said and I going back and saying that I think tying this question in it's it's important to talk about and mentioned intimate partner violence a lot more, more now and, and increase awareness because so often there There is a problem with people either putting it down as the question, the person submitting the question said, and saying that it is perhaps less serious. But I believe and I think perhaps my co researchers agree that indeed very, this is a very, very important issue. And the lens that we took in looking at stalkerware allowed us to look into just one aspect of this. But in, in our research, we spoke with people organizations, which are involved in kind of the wider, helping people who are subject to intimate partner violence and domestic abuse, or however we define it. And much, quite often, what they highlight highlighted was that stalkerware was just one of the many problems that they were encountering, and that this is in fact, an issue that as a society, we need to address. dress and take more seriously.
Next question, Can you summarize what you know about differences across cultural groups or different countries? Presumably, there are also big differences in reporting and law enforcement responses across different cultures in different countries.
I'm happy to take this one. Um, I think so, for what we've done so far for what we've done in our research. So far, we can't speak to the differences between cultural groups, but rather what we know that there's research and conversations happening more in the global north. So in the UK, as Jay mentioned before, the US, Australia, Canada, and there are however, like in our interviews, or at least like from the ones that I conducted, what I remember is that there are definitely differences in reporting Law enforcement specifically, because there's different legislative frameworks that protect either the producers of these technologies or victims of domestic violence and IPv. So one thing that has been pointed out, for instance, is that many of these companies are based in Thailand or India, but there's no conversation happening right now. In these two countries, for instance, whereas there's more conversation happening in, as I said, the global north, but still, even when there is you know, when even when the crimes are reported, even when victims and survivors seek law enforcement help, it's still like, you know, these issues are not really picked up or victims are not believed. The crimes are minimized. So there's definitely So from what we know From our research so far, a difference between the conversation and research and law enforcement between countries like, you know, the countries where the software is produced in the countries where, you know, there's currently research academically like going on, and also within these countries still a very big gap in law enforcement, following up on requests. But I think also in victims actually reporting the crime because this is really underreported as a crime.
I hope that
answers your question. Thank you so much.
We are just about out of time. Do any of the three of you have anything else you'd like to share with our audience going forward?
Just a big thanks. And you know, we hope that you've taken away from this some good knowledge that you can bring into your own work, whether it be in you know, technical, technical realm or any others just to be aware of, you know, how technology can be used and misused. And certainly the motivations that go into creating different technologies. It's something that we all personally have found very interesting in this research and we hope that fellow technical
people and researchers can bring that to their work as well. Fantastic. Thank you again
so much to us Bermudez, Madeline Esposito and Jay nooner. This has been from cyber stalking to spyware. What do we know about stalker wear an intimate partner violence situations. Thank you again for your time and your presentation. We are going to pass it back over to ground control.
Thank you so much.