The Anti-Spyware Coalition is having a public workshop here in Ottawa, Canada. As a representative for F-Secure I have been participating to several interesting presentation and debates on spyware topics.
One of the newer members of the Anti-Spyware Coalition is National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). They fight against domestic violence in USA. The connection with spyware and domestic violence might not be obvious. But after listening to their presentation I am both shocked and moved. Cindy Southworth (representative of NNEDV) and Anne Mau (representative of lokk.dk) explained how monitoring tools such as keyloggers are used by abusers for surveillance of victims of domestic violence. Keystrokes, IM messages, E-mails, passwords, computer use and even phone use can be monitored with today's software. Monitoring a person clearly inflicts on the persons privacy rights and is illegal in most countries. The monitoring tools are however not illegal by themselves and are therefore a part of a spyware threat category.
Computer technologies can today help victims to reach out for help. But reaching out through a digital device that is monitored can have lethal consequences.
The Anti-Spyware Coalition is a group that has created a set of documents to bring consensus about spyware. The group is lead by Ari Schwartz who, together with Ross Schulman, arranged this public workshop. They both work for the Center of Democracy and Technology.