Separating? Ten tech changes you need to make NOW
Separating from your partner can be overwhelming.
Often parties inadvertently continue to receive and access information about their former partner or spouse after separation due to the manner in which various accounts have been established, which can cause difficulties. In extreme circumstances this may allow your former partner or spouse to access personal information about your location and whereabouts, compromise legal advice provided to you, and occasionally allow children to accidentally access information and communications about the separation and other adult matters.
To avoid these issues, and make it easier to ensure this does not occur to you, please see the below checklist of ten tech changes you should make immediately to ensure your privacy and security:
1. Email access
Change your passwords for all personal email accounts and stop using any joint email accounts. Consider opening a new email address solely for communicating with your former partner and/or your lawyer.
2. Online banking
Unless otherwise advised by your lawyer, you must continue to allow your former partner to access all joint accounts. You should change your passwords and PIN’s for any personal bank accounts you hold alone.
Check where your phone is backing up to. The last thing you want is for your personal messages to be shared to the family iPad. Creating a new Apple ID (or Android equivalent) is the best way to ensure privacy.
4. Find my iPhone
Disable or change your settings on any ‘Find my Phone’ app.
5. Fitness accounts
Many fitness apps or accounts (such as Fitbit) track your exercise and location. Ensure that you have control over who can access this information.
6. Social media accounts
Change your passwords, enact maximum security settings and remove any contacts that you no longer wish to view your accounts. Moving forward, think carefully before posting on Facebook or Instagram and consider that anything you post may be put before a judge in court.
7. Cloud storage
Change passwords for any Dropbox, Google Docs, or similar cloud storage accounts.
Don’t cut off access to Netflix without discussing with your former partner (this will not improve your communication!) but it is best for each household to have separate accounts for streaming services.
9. Shopping accounts
Amend your address, payment details and passwords for any online shopping accounts such as eBay and Amazon.
10. Security cameras
Many homes now have cameras installed that can be accessed through multiple mobile devices. Change the settings on all home cameras (including the smart doorbell, if you have one) so that you control who can view the footage.
For more information, or to seek the assistance of our family law team about your next steps after separation, please contact the TLFC Family Law Team on 03 8600 9333.
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By Julia Vitebsky
27 January 2021