Outreach workers in Syria are worried about the vulnerability of women and girls under curfew. © UNFPA Syria

Digital Safety

Safety Tips

How To Protect Your Digital Privacy

Emails are never guaranteed to be private; they can be traced even after you have deleted them. Instead, call a hotline and ask for assistance in figuring out your next steps. If you still decide to use email, your abusive partner could have access to your email account. To be safe, you can consider opening an email account your partner does not know about on a safe computer and use that account for safety planning and sensitive communications. It is a good idea to keep your monitored account active with non-critical emails in order to maintain appearances.

Internet browsing: If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools. It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints" of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.

If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to continue using the monitored computer for normal activities, such as looking up the weather or recipes. Use a safer computer, like a work laptop, to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.

Email and instant/text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.

Computers can store a lot of private data about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities. A safe computer might be a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet café. Change your passwords often and set multi-factor authentication to all your emails and social media accounts.

(Source: National Domestic Violence Hotline)