A.10039 Rozic / S.7926 Bailey
Smart Device Prohibition in Order Of Protection
WBASNY strongly supports A.10039 Rozic / S. 7926 Bailey as a vital protection for victims of domestic violence in this age of smart devices. The bill would amend various provisions of the Family Court Act, the Criminal Procedure Law and the Domestic Relations Law to expressly include in an order of protection a mandate to “refrain from remotely controlling any connected devices affecting the home, vehicle or property of the person protected by the order.” A “connected device” is defined in said provisions as “any device, or other physical object that is capable of connecting to the internet, directly or indirectly, and that is assigned an internet protocol address or bluetooth address.”
As the justification in the Assembly bill memo points out, use of smart device technology has been expanding at the rate of 31 percent per year according to a recent study by McKinsey & Company. Smart devices can be used to remotely control a wide variety of devices, including lights, locks on windows and doors, security systems, voice activated assistants, and other devices through the internet or bluetooth. The statutes authorizing courts to issue orders of protection do not contain express language prohibiting abusers from utilizing smart devices to control, spy on, threaten or stalk their victims because they were written before technology expanded the use of these devices in our daily lives. However, one can readily imagine how an abuser could make use of such devices together with spyware and other applications. A device could easily be hidden in the car, phone, or computer of a victim without the victim’s knowledge tracking their location or recording their conversations, or intercepting their messages. An abuser could make use of such information to locate, harass, or harm the victim or their children even where a victim is already protected by an order of protection and believes they are safe away from the abuser.
We believe this legislation is an important addition to the laws aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence and their children from their abusers and we applaud the Governor for signing this legislation.