A South Australian woman is horrified by her ex-husband’s invasion of her privacy and doesn’t know how to stop him.
Welcome to Sisters In Law, the weekly news.com.au column that solves all your legal problems. This week, our resident attorneys and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett of Maurice Blackburn advise on how to protect your privacy from a nosy ex.
I separated from my husband last year and we are only finalizing the terms of our divorce. We don’t live together anymore and I’ve started dating other people. I saw my ex a few weeks ago and he did a crafty cop on one of the guys I was seeing and I wondered how he knew about him.
After some detective work later, I realized that my Facebook account was still linked to my ex-husband’s iPad and that he was reading my private messages, some of which were full of steam. My ex denies it, but it’s the only way to explain how he found out about my new man.
How can I get my ex to log out of my account and is there anything I can do to stop him from invading my privacy? – Kara, Vic
We understand that it would be quite distressing for Kara to hear that your ex-husband has invaded your privacy.
Even if your ex denied it, the good news is that you can get proof of activity on your account. You can review your “Logged actions and other activities”, including active sessions via the activity log in your settings and privacy controls. This will show which device (s) you are logged in on and when you were logged in.
You should immediately change your password on your account and log out of all devices via the active sessions option on Facebook. You can do this from your device and you don’t have to log into your ex’s iPad.
You mentioned that some of the messages were “smoky”. If the messages included images of an intimate nature and he distributed them, or threatened to distribute them, it could be a criminal offense and you should speak to the police.
“Distribute” or “threaten to distribute” is not limited to just posting pictures on social media or emailing your friends / family, it also includes showing the pictures to your co-workers or pub.
Some other tips for protecting your privacy may include:
1. Turn off any location sharing or GPS tracking on your phone, such as Find My from Apple or Family Sharing.
2. Create a new email account.
3. Change all your passwords and use hard-to-guess passphrases or a password generator app that randomly generates a code instead of pet or family names.
4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication – This requires two ways to prove your identity, such as your password and then a code sent to your phone.
5. Change the passwords on any smart speaker as these may be linked to your ex’s devices and may be able to unlock doors or provide information.
6. Change your security questions on websites like your bank as often your ex will know your mother’s maiden name, pet name or where you were born.
You can also contact the eSafety Commissioner, the Australia Cyber Security Center or, most importantly, the police for further advice or assistance, particularly if you feel your safety may be at risk.
This legal information is general in nature and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice or to be relied upon. People who need special legal advice should consult a lawyer.
If you have a legal question you’d like Alison and Jillian to answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Originally published as Sisters in Law: How to Protect Your Privacy From Your Ex