Home Is Where The Horror Is: The Weaponization of IoT-Smart Home Devices In Intimate Partner Violence

Olivia Loundens

Student thesis: Master thesis


A growing body of research identifies the use of digital technologies within intimate partner violence (IPV), investigating abusers who use tech to stalk, surveil, and harm their partners, including by installing spyware, compromising devices, and online accounts. However, to date, the digital technologies studied have mainly centered the computer and smartphones. With the emergence of smart, internet-connected home devices and systems, and an increase in adoption, cases of IPV involving smart home devices have begun to arise. These devices introduce new challenges and risks to victims and the IPV support agents that are fighting to accumulate the knowledge needed to support victims in regaining control and escaping violence. I present a qualitative study of the weaponization of IoT-smart home devices for facilitating abuse within the context of intimate partner violence. Twelve participants, comprising IPV advocates, IT professionals, and industry representatives, illuminate their experiences, perspectives, and knowledge of smart home abuse and contribute to an overview of challenges in addressing this issue. Based on the insights given by experts within their field, I uncover the need for increased and cross-sectoral response to mitigate smart home abuse and formulate recommendations for the IPV organizations, industry, and governments.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages101