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Are Smart Home Devices Abandoning IPV Victims?

08/15/2020
by   Ahmed Alshehri, et al.
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Smart home devices have brought us many benefits such as advanced security, convenience, and entertainment. However, these devices also have made unintended consequences like giving ultimate power for devices' owners over their intimate partners in the same household which might lead to tech-facilitated domestic abuse (tech-abuse) as recent research has shown. In this paper, we systematize findings on tech-abuse in smart homes. We show that domestic abuse and Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in smart homes is more effective and less risky for abusers. Victims find it more harmful and more challenging to protect themselves from. We articulate a comprehensive analysis of all the phases of abuse in smart homes and categorize risks and needs in each phase. Technical analysis of current smart home technologies is conducted to shed light upon their limitations. We also summarize recent recommendations to combat tech-abuse in smart homes and focus on their potentials and shortcomings. Unsurprisingly, we find that many recommendations conflict with each other due to a lack of understanding of phases of abuse in smart homes. Desirable properties to design abuse-resistant smart home devices are proposed for all the phases of abuse. The research community benefits from our analysis and recommendations to move forward with a focus on filling the blind spots of existing smart home devices' safety measures and building appropriate safety measures that consider tech-abuse threats in smart homes.

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