2021- A.10039 / S.7926

2021- A.10039 / S.7926

Position Statement 

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.