Tech Awareness Before Separation
While many separations are amicable, there is no guarantee that the status quo holds for the duration of the negotiations. The more difficult the issues under consideration and the perceived disparity of shared value of the property, the greater the risk to your quality of life.
Being aware of potential risks to shared technology and the possible consequences arising from the joint ownership of certain devices can help to reduce that fear.
The potential risks:
- Being jointly responsible for reckless behaviour during a moment of emotional turmoil.
- Losing your favoured memories
- Breach of digital privacy including call logs, photos, and communications
- Your shared history may become public if the separation becomes acrimonious
- Unexpected surveillance such as malware or spyware
The possible remedies:
- Act promptly to comprehensively physically secure all of your devices and content by terminating, deactivating and segregating what’s legally yours.
- Uninstall and disable location-identifying apps
- Conduct a security sweep, or a drastic reset to the device’s factory settings
- Change passwords, codes, and biometric markers
Contracts: To terminate a shared app or software accounts check the terms or contract signed. Be aware of any required period of activity and the associated costs before termination takes effect.
Shared devices: Family plans can be a good thing while the family is intact. The goal is to promptly safeguard and download your content to a new device using a different password. Permission isn’t necessary; just do it when you sense the relationship is changing. Or, better yet at the outset of the partnership or affiliation. The risk:
Shared photo accounts: (Flickr, Instagram, Path) Download your photos and copy special family photos. Don’t delete files or photos out of revenge or fear as it will very likely cause negative repercussions.
Shared location apps: (My Tracks, Pathshare, Routeshare) Keeping an eye on where the kids are travelling is a parental responsibility. Following a spouse’s location has no support in family law matters.
Cloud storage services: (Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud) Joint access means a password can be changed without your knowledge. If the account is in your spouse’s name, your content and memories can be beyond your reach if the marriage fails. Sharing digital content can prolong negotiation, raise costs, and divert the focus from the kids and their future relationship with each parent. Decide what truly needs to be retrieved and work with your lawyer to negotiate its release intact.
Passwords: Change them up even if you don’t recall sharing them. Mix up the combination of symbols, numeric and alpha; move away from pets’ names, addresses, and special relationship dates.
The silence that urges to post online anywhere, anytime: There is a fine line if any at all existing between your pools of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. An email to one is potentially an email to everyone on the roster. A positive or negatively worded remark may have the opposite effect of your intentions. A tweet at midnight after a nightcap doesn’t mean it remains private.
Tech issues in family separations are growing in occurrence. If you have concerns, schedule a consultation to understand and apply your rights. Contact Lorisa Stein at 416 596-8081 or through www.LorisaStein.com.