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Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee Issue Report on ‘Connect Tech: Smart or Sinister’

MPs have called on Government to tackle the growing problem of tech-enabled domestic abuse, amid a warning that the use of smart technology and connected devices in facilitating domestic abuse is becoming a growing problem.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report Connect tech: smart or sinister also calls for more to be done to protect the privacy and rights of children, with young people increasingly likely to interact with connected technology at home and in schools.

The Select Committee website notes that:

“The Committee launched its inquiry in May last year to consider both the potential benefit and harms of connected technology, such as smart speakers, virtual assistants and wearable fitness trackers. Government figures state that there are on average nine connected devices in every household in the UK, while by 2050 there will be 24 billion interconnected devices worldwide.

On tech abuse, the Committee heard evidence that the vast majority of domestic abuse cases now feature some sort of cyber element, including the use of spyware, and perpetrators monitoring movements and collecting recordings and images of victims and survivors.

The report calls on the Government to improve the skills of law enforcement and the response of the criminal justice system, while boosting awareness of specialist services tackling violence against women and girls. Manufacturers and distributors also need to be brought together to mitigate risks through product design.

In response to privacy concerns raised by the use of connected tech, the Committee recommends that the Government empowers users, and in particular children, to exercise their rights over their personal data through intuitive product design, clear terms and conditions and digital literacy schemes.”

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