‘Internet of things’ may simplify life, but it can complicate divorce

May 24 2018 - Posted by , in Divorce, Tagged in Divorce, protecting assests

The internet of things: have you heard of it? Maybe you only know the acronym – IoT. According to proponents, this is the promise of personal empowerment through internet-linked technology. Specifically, IoT represents how, by using network-connected smart devices and our smartphones, we can: secure the front door without using a key; generate a grocery list based on what the refrigerator sees on its shelves; or even install a doorbell with a camera that monitors the front door. As marvelously Jetsonsish as it seems, there are potential downsides.

We have written before about managing online assets as carefully as physical assets in the context of divorce. At the time of that blog, the focus was on social media accounts because IoT hadn’t come into its own. Now that it has, the importance of password security is only become more pressing.

Where passwords once only amounted to four-digit personal identification numbers used in limited circumstances, there are now layers of technology that influence more facets of daily life and each demand ever more complicated passwords. And part of managing divorce in the modern age means tracking and managing access across all the devices.

Consider these real-life situations as examples. A woman who had a telematics subscription on her car sold the vehicle. Months later, she discovered she was still able to retrieve information about it including where it was, miles it had traveled and whether it was locked or not.

Then there was the fellow with a camera-equipped doorbell who discovered that his ex-significant other was still able to monitor his comings and goings. He had changed the password for the device, but a security flaw allowed his ex to stay connected.

The upshot of all this is that previous wisdom on ensuring security in divorce through strategies like changing the locks on doors, changing phone numbers, or buying a new car, represent only the tip of the iceberg. Passwords are the new locks to everything and experts say all of them need to be changed in divorce.

And, as the second story above suggests, security might require changing not just the locks, but the doorbell as well.

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