*This post has been updated.
We were proud to join the Federal Government and Women’s Services Network (WESNET) today to announce an expansion of the Safe Connections program, providing up to 20,000 safe smartphones over three years for women experiencing domestic violence.
Joining Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to make the announcement today, CEO Andrew Penn said Telstra was committed to helping women and children stay safely connected.
“Safe Connections is about empowering women impacted by domestic violence – it gives them the tools and the training to help them stay safely connected with friends and family when they need it most,” he said.
“We know first-hand from our partnership with WESNET that this program makes a real difference to women impacted by domestic violence.
“It is why we are increasing our commitment to WESNET over the next three years from 5,000 to up to 20,000 smartphones, plus $30 pre-paid starter kits and technology safety information.”
One in three women in Australia are likely to experience domestic violence. It’s a simply intolerable statistic and we all have a role to play to change it.
Technology, especially a mobile phone, is now a major part of everyday life – so it’s vitally important that anyone in a domestic violence situation understands how they can best use their phone to help secure their safety.
Just as importantly, we want women impacted by domestic violence to be aware of how others increasingly use a variety of telephone, surveillance, and computer technologies to monitor and harass their victims so they can better protect themselves.
A smartphone can also be used to search for and find help, to strategically maintain safety and privacy, and to remain connected to family and friends through internet access, calls, messages and emails.
Here are some key tips to help you strengthen your personal mobile safety.
KNOW THE BASICS
Use private web browsing so pages you visit don’t appear in your history, and create a strong, easy-to-remember passphrase for each of your accounts.
Don’t allow your device to remember passwords/passphrases or sign-in to accounts automatically, and keep log-in details to all of your accounts safe.
Finally, make sure you auto-lock your mobile device with a passcode.
MINIMISE LOCATION SHARING
Smartphones can track and may sometimes share your location without you even knowing it. To minimise location sharing we recommend that you:
- Turn off location services in your mobile device’s settings
- Turn off geo-tagging for photos
- Control which apps can access your location
- Decline location access wherever possible when downloading new apps, unless you’re sure that the app needs to know your location
KEEP SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVATE
Most sites and apps allow users to limit what others see. So regularly check the privacy settings on all your online accounts, especially social media.
And to stay safe, don’t share your location when posting, nor ‘over-share’ details about your identity, life or location.
LOG OUT OF ACCOUNTS
If you’re automatically logged in to email, social media and other accounts on your mobile device, anyone can access those accounts if they use your mobile device, so always log out of accounts if you can, once you’ve finished using them.
For some accounts, such as email, you may prefer to remove the account from your mobile device, and access it through the browser instead.
CHECK FOR SPYWARE
Spyware is software that can track all phone activity and can even be used as a listening device.
If you suspect your mobile device is being monitored, you can run an anti-spyware app or swap devices to a safe device – one that you are sure isn’t being monitored.
USE TWO-STEP LOG-IN
Many websites and apps offer two-step log-in, or two-factor authentication: an extra security measure that asks for a security code that is sent to you via email or mobile.
This means that if an unauthorised user tries to access your account they won’t be able to, even if they know your username and password.
We recommend using two-step log-ins whenever they’re offered.
We’ve launched a Personal Mobile Safety page on Telstra.com that addresses personal safety on mobile phones. The page has practical information for users to improve their personal mobile safety and includes a series of useful tips. Endorsed by our partner in the Telstra Safe Connections program, The Women’s Services Network (WESNET), we believe it will be a valued resource to educate agencies and women impacted by domestic violence to understand technologies and how to increase safety.
WESNET are Australia’s peak women’s organisation working to eliminate domestic and family violence. WESNET represents a range of organisations and individuals including women’s refuges, shelters, safe houses and information and referral services.
About Telstra’s ‘Everyone Connected’ Program
Telstra has been working with community organisations for more than 12 years to address the communications needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians through our Everyone Connected program. Every month Telstra works in partnership with 2000 community organisations to assist more than 1.2million low-income Australians to stay connected. In the last financial year Telstra provided assistance to the value of $145 million to help people on low incomes or facing financial hardship stay connected.