Life after separation may not be as private as you think in the Digital Age
In today’s digital environment, advanced technology is becoming increasingly available to the general public – just recently a major bank introduced biometric technology to allow customers access to their online accounts via retinal scan identification. Not so long ago, technology of this sort was the stuff of spy thriller story-lines; now it is available to anyone with access to a computer or a smartphone.
Developments in technology impact our lives every day, sometimes effecting changes of which we are not completely aware. I am by no means a techno-expert but in my work as a family law solicitor, I am often reminded that the consequences of falling behind with the constant stream of technological upgrades can have a significant effect on relationships – and on relationship breakdown.
Take data storage software, for example. Many families use a cloud-based resource for storing and sharing files, photographs and calendar information, yet many people are oblivious to the way their technology works; although they make use of its advantages, they do not have a basic grasp of how it functions and how far it can reach.
And there are times in life when this matters – over the years, many of my divorce clients have been at a loss to understand how their spouse has come to be so well-informed about their thoughts and plans. They have looked blank at the suggestion that this inside knowledge may be linked to their use of the iCloud, for example; blank looks turn to anger and outrage as they realise how their spouse could have been accessing messages, emails and other information they hitherto assumed to be private and confidential.
A recent television story-line, featured not in a spy thriller but in the long-running BBC soap EastEnders, further demonstrates the point. Steven Beale’s suspicions of girlfriend Lauren Branning’s actions prompt him to track her whereabouts via a camera concealed in her phone-charger.
Laying aside any criminal elements to the fictional Mr Beale’s behaviour, we should all be aware that in real life, too, the far-reaching implications of computer technology capability are making an increasingly significant – and sometimes surprising – impact on personal relationships.
Family Law, General, George Ide, News