INTERPOL is set to join The Coalition Against Stalkerware, and will help advance the group’s efforts by educating the global law enforcement community on how to proactively investigate the use of stalkerware, as well as provide support to victims.
The alliance was first set up in November 2019 to try and combat the use of stalkerware, a practice in which victims are monitored through their phone or computer. Initially compromised of 10 stakeholders, including Kaspersky, Norton, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, it has since grown to 35 members. Members are from a variety of different organizations across the world, ranging from vendors to non-governmental organizations and academia.
It undertakes a range of initiatives to combat this growing issue, including providing support to survivors of domestic violence, shutting down malicious surveillance apps and increasing public awareness around the issues.
INTERPOL’s involvement in the coalition has come amid a surge in domestic violence and tech abuse incidents last year during the COVID-19 lockdown. For example, recent research by Kaspersky found that almost 54,000 of its mobile users were affected globally by stalkerware in 2020.
The international policing organization will now promote training sessions developed by The Coalition Against Stalkerware to its 194 member countries. This aims to better equip domestic police forces to investigate stalkerware, support victims who require assistance and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s director of cybercrime, commented: “INTERPOL is committed to supporting the Coalition Against Stalkerware in its fight against abuse, stalking, and harassment via the use of stalkerware. “To this end, we will continue to raise awareness within the global law enforcement community about intimate partner violence, unwanted surveillance and abuse.”
Tara Hairston, official representative of the Coalition Against Stalkerware, and head of public affairs, North America at Kaspersky said: “We understand that all key partners must join to fight against this pervasive tactic of abuse. Given that law enforcement should be able to identify and respond to the threats posed by stalkerware, it’s great to see that INTERPOL is devoted to working with their global community around the topic of intimate partner violence, unwanted surveillance and abuse.
“Alongside INTERPOL and our other partners, we will work to ensure nobody has to fall victim to stalkerware again.”