Separation and Cyber Safety

Going through a separation can be an emotionally and intellectually consuming process. Sometimes, it can take all of you energy just to come out the other end feeling capable enough to rebuild your life. However, given the huge role that technology plays in our lives today, you should also take the time to consider whether your cyber footprint is still safe.
What does this mean?
In today’s society, having a cyber presence is virtually unavoidable. We all have a plethora of passwords and accounts through which we manage and track various aspects of our lives, including:
  1. Banking
  2. Social networking
  3. Insurances;
  4. Mobile phone tracking;
  5. Shopping apps;
  6. Streaming apps;
  7. Email accounts;
  8. Shared calendars;
  9. Accounting/salary tracking.
For ease of use, couples often link accounts, passwords or authorities to many aspects of their cyber activity. After separation, it is easy to forget the intricacies of the cyber web that was spun during the relationship.
In most cases, information about your whereabouts, banking, social media activity and leisure activities, is not information that you would necessarily want your former partner to know. This is particularly the case in the event that the relationship broke down in a bitter and high-conflict context.
What do you do?
You should start by making your cyber information as secure as possible. Change all of your passwords. It is best if the change is substantial rather than minimal or easy to guess.
If you operate a joint email or other account or facility, remove yourself from the joint facility and set up your own independent account with a private password. This can be time-consuming, however, it is absolutely crucial.
There are three outcomes that you should try and achieve in the process:
  1. Prevent your former partner from directly access your funds (you should get legal advice about jointly held funds);
  2. Prevent your former partner from being able to locate you, particularly if you have experienced family violence within the relationship; and
  3. Prevent your former partner from accessing correspondence addressed to you, either by way of email or postal mail. This will mean ensuring that your partner does not know (and cannot obtain) the password to your email account, and might also require that you hire a post office mailbox if you are still living together.

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