Information Policy, Privacy Failings, and Steps Towards Empowerment in Cases of Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence

38 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2020

See all articles by Megan Knittel

Megan Knittel

Michigan State University - Department of Media and Information

Ruth Shillair

Michigan State University, Department of Media & Information

Date Written: December 15, 2020

Abstract

The interconnected, automized nature of Internet of Things (IoT) devices can support the ease and enjoyment of many everyday activities. However, developing effective policy for how data is collected and used, including security vulnerabilities and potential threats to personal privacy raised by the intimate data often recorded by these devices, is challenging. As these technologies become more pervasive in everyday life, one domain in which IoT could have particularly adverse outcomes is in cases of technology-facilitated sexual violence (TFSV). TFSV has deep and lasting impacts on those affected by it (Lopez-Neira et al., 2019; Loya, 2015), but as firsthand victim accounts (Powell & Henry, 2019) and the myriad recent privacy failings of online technologies demonstrate (Li et al., 2018), existing policy and legal practice in this domain are insufficient and can actively increase harm to victims. Additionally, existing work has not closely considered the unique affordances and potential harms of IoT devices specifically. To better understand the prevalence and impacts of IoT TFSV, we surveyed 384 women in the United States about their experiences with intimate partner violence and IPV, their Internet use and security practices, and the impacts of experiencing abuse on their day-to-day life. Combining multiple-choice responses and essay questions, our findings suggest that experiencing traditional IPV predicts experiencing IoT-related IPV, suggesting similar risk factors and mechanisms of harm. However, IoT-related abuses predicted adverse impacts more strongly than traditional abuse, demonstrating the amplified impacts of these emerging technologies. We conclude with a discussion of the policy implications of these findings and potentially fruitful directions for future work.

Keywords: Internet of Things, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, privacy, security, information policy

Suggested Citation

Knittel, Megan and Shillair, Ruth, Information Policy, Privacy Failings, and Steps Towards Empowerment in Cases of Technology-Facilitated Sexual Violence (December 15, 2020). TPRC48: The 48th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3748984 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3748984

Megan Knittel (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Media and Information ( email )

404 Wilson Road
East Lansing, MI 48823
United States

Ruth Shillair

Michigan State University, Department of Media & Information ( email )

409 Communication Arts & Sciences Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
145
Abstract Views
884
Rank
341,122
PlumX Metrics