Connected Cars: A New Avenue for Stalking

Posted by Joseph Lento | Feb 16, 2024 | 0 Comments

Our increasingly wired world makes it easier to locate and track people, including via their cars. For domestic violence victims, this creates one more avenue by which they can be followed and denied their right to go about their lives free of fear.

The purpose of a Protection from Abuse order (PFA) is to protect individuals from abuse from other family members or adults who reside in the same household. PFAs may be emergency, temporary, or final.

Individuals deserve to feel safe, especially in their cars. If you're being stalked or harassed via technology, the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team can help. Contact us at 888-535-3686 or online to tell us about your situation.

Technology and PFAs

One of the challenges of PFAs is how technology has affected our ability to track others and be monitored. You can now be followed remotely via your car or cellphone. Being able to track someone without being physically present adds a layer of difficulty in enforcing PFAs and safeguarding abuse victims.

Recognizing the potential danger of technology-enabled stalking to victims of domestic violence, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has submitted a letter to nine car manufacturers. Domestic violence victims have had cars unlocked and settings changed by their abuser.

In its letter, the FCC highlighted the necessity of a car in many people's daily routines. Individuals shouldn't have to decide between their car or being stalked and harassed. One suggested remedy involves limiting or restricting someone's access to the car, even if they're on the vehicle's registration.

Any changes to these policies will likely take years, and technology continues to evolve. Even when laws are in place, they often aren't enough to dissuade abuse and harassment. This is why PFAs are so important.

More than Physical Acts

PFAs cover more than just physical actions. They can also include verbal threats or other communication designed to threaten violence against that individual or others.

Abuse doesn't have to rise to the level of being a crime for someone to request a PFA. What individuals should do is document every interaction. For example, collecting text messages or records of who remotely accessed a vehicle could be used as evidence in a PFA hearing.

PFAs Cross State Lines

Valid PFAs are enforceable beyond Pennsylvania, and PFAs from other states may be enforced in Pennsylvania. If you move, you should contact the court that issued the PFA to ensure they have your new contact information. You should also keep a certified copy of your PFA order to show to law enforcement if needed.

That someone is accessing your vehicle from another state doesn't reduce your need for a PFA. Actions don't have to occur in Pennsylvania to file for a PFA.

Protect Your Freedom

Cars give us the ability to move on our own time and to wherever the road leads. When someone uses your car to harass or intimidate you, they're trying to limit your freedom of movement.

If someone is using your car's technology to harass and intimidate you, the LLF Law Firm Family Law Team can help you file for a PFA and protect your safety. Contact us at 888-535-3686 or via our online form.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm has unparalleled experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Our Family Law Team will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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