Apple has debuted a new mobile tool to wrestle away control in coercive, domestic violence situations — but timing is crucial if you have to use this feature.
The feature, Apple Safety Check, has been designed to help tackle domestic abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV).
Apple has worked with organizations, including the National Network To End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) and the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCV) to design this new feature.
Considering the lower likelihood of applications being used for abuse and IPV in its ecosystem, Apple has chosen an approach that focuses on the consensual — albeit, potentially coercively so — sharing of data, rather than the detection of malicious software designed to spy on users.
If a victim has been sharing their location and messages, and suddenly, the abuser cannot access this data, they will know about it – and may retaliate.
In situations where retaliation could mean physical harm, the feature is likely best used after a victim’s escape is already in progress. Once the victim is no longer in physical proximity of their abuser, Safety Check could then aid the victim in fleeing as location data and online activities will no longer be shared.
If you find yourself in this kind of situation, try to reach out to law enforcement or get in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
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