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Maddalena Esposito

Maddalena Esposito (@maddalenaesp) has a background that spans from linguistics to technology and human rights. After completing her MA, Maddalena went on to volunteer as a policy researcher for Big Brother Watch, focusing on online harms. However, Maddalena's research interests are broader - she is currently looking at abuse, labor and exploitation in technology.


Talks

From Cyber Stalking to Spyware - What Do We Know About Stalkerware in Intimate Partner Violence Situations?

Surveillance technologies are becoming more and more accessible, providing the general public the ability to track, monitor, and control others. These systems are particularly dangerous to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Perpetrators frequently use so-called "stalkerware" or "spyware" to exert influence and coercion over their current or former partners. These software packages allow abusers to geolocate victims and survivors, read or even delete their messages, and keep a tab on their activities and relationships. To date, research on this topic is piecemeal and still in its infancy.

In this talk, panelists will share insights from their ongoing research project at University College London's Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP). The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Chayn and the Gender and IoT project. The aim of the project is to map out the existing state of knowledge on the topic of stalkerware - including the latest studies, journalistic research, and analysis tools.

Considering the involvement of hackers, makers, and developers in the design, maintenance, and possibly even the abuse of such malicious tools, the presenters believe it is of utmost importance that the HOPE community engages with this topic. The community has both the skills and power to take on and act against these products and services. The talk will feature preliminary findings, highlight questions and knowledge gaps, and, most importantly, offer plans to help the community understand avenues that can be tackled by hackers.

To make the session engaging and interactive, the speakers plan to use survey tools such as
Sli.do to prompt the audience throughout the talk with questions and surveys. This approach enables them to receive input from the attendees, get feedback from the hacker community, and note questions attendees may have.