Technology and your data privacy may be the last thing on your mind you are getting divorced. With that said, it’s critical to assess your digital footprint and protect your data privacy while going through a breakup. We store all of our personal information on our devices, and people are accessing their exes electronically stored information in various ways that you may not realize.
Ways Your Ex May Invade Your Digital Privacy
Here are some tips for protecting your digital data during your divorce:
1. Review Your Privacy Settings and Turn Off Shared Devices And Shared Services, such as iCloud Family Sharing
Review where your location is being shared digitally to ensure that you are not inadvertently sharing that information with your ex.
Turn off device sharing on all of your devices, including your mobile device, tablet, smart home, and more. Do you share your iCloud account or other account which includes your location, calendar, emails, messages, notes, reminders, and more?
Check all of your applications and privacy settings on your mobile devices. Do you have applications that share your location with your spouse or your spouse’s friends? Even vehicles are now equipped with a variety of smart features. For instance, you can control the data from your Tesla on your phone, including location information.
You should also consider deleting your “Find My Friends” feature on your mobile device, Snapchat, and any other device that shares your location. At the very least, block your ex, his friends, and his family members from being able to access your location.
2. Change Passwords
Change all of your passwords. Even if you do not have shared online accounts like Netflix, you may have exchanged passwords during your marriage, and people have a tendency to reuse passwords.
3. Remove Stored Passwords From All Shared Devices
Ensure that you remove all stored passwords from all shared devices. This should include removing shared passwords from each browser. For instance, your Google Chrome browser may have saved passwords associated with your account. You can view whether you are logged in to your profile by opening Google Chrome and navigating to your profile on the right side of the toolbar.
4. Log Out of All Devices
Some accounts offer a feature that enables you to log out of your account across all of your devices all at once, such as your Google account, Facebook, Instagram, and iCloud.
5. Enable Two Factor Authentication on All Accounts If Possible
Two factor authentication is an extra layer of protection used to ensure the security of your online accounts beyond just a username and password. If you have the option to enable two factor authentication for any of your logins, we recommend doing so to help prevent any unauthorized user from accessing your account information.
6. Create a New Email Address
You should consider creating a new email address strictly for communicating with your attorney. This will help protect your emails with your legal team and keep all of your case related communications in one place.
7. Wipe Your Devices
You should wipe your computer and other devices clean of personal data and restore the device to factory settings. Be sure to back your information up prior to doing so.
8. Remove Access To Your Home Security And Surveillance System.
Change passwords on all security provider logins and ensure that unauthorized devices are not accessing your security camera feed.
9. Protect Your Social Media
Turn your social media accounts on private and never disparage your ex or talk about your case on your accounts. Doing so can negatively impact the outcome of your case. In addition, beware of new friend requests which may be fake accounts formed by your ex or a friend of your ex to obtain information against you.
10. Download a copy of your data, and do not delete any of your data.
It is very important not to delete any text messages or other data off of your devices, to avoid your ex claiming spoilation of evidence. In addition, you should download a copy of your personal data from apps and websites including social media accounts. Doing so speeds up collection of data during the discovery process and reduces the hurdles on your legal team.
11. Beware of Data Stored in Pictures and Videos
Turn off location sharing for iPhone photos and videos. iPhones now store significant information about a picture or video taken, including the time, date, and location. If your ex somehow obtains a picture of you consuming alcohol timestamped at 10:00a.m. during your custodial time with the children, that can be problematic.