A 38-year-old Australian man has pleaded guilty to stalking his ex-girlfriend by using an app to control her car and spyware to track her cell phone location.
According to ABC Australia, the couple had dated for six months before separating. During that time, the man (who is a mechanic) helped his victim to purchase a Land Rover, giving him access to the vehicle’s VIN and allowing him to set up the app. The app sent him live information about her location to his email and allowed him to remotely control the car.
In addition, the former boyfriend had purchased software to monitor the victim’s cell phone location. When the victim’s mobile phone went missing, she used her laptop to track her phone’s location. That is when she discovered her ex-boyfriend had stolen her cell phone.
The girlfriend, who works in digital technology, told the court: “These crimes have made me feel unsafe. Made me fear the technology I once embraced and left me with a deep distrust of the cybersecurity protections and laws currently in place, now I know they can be exploited.”
The ex-boyfriend also broke into her home while she was sleeping, standing at the foot of her bed. The victim told the court that she when she woke up he stood their silently, and then said “you’re lucky it’s just me and not a robber or a bad person to do you harm.”
When the victim when to the police, they found a notebook at the ex-boyfriend’s home that had details and locations on the victim—trainings she planned to attend, places and businesses she frequented. There was also a list of weapons and their prices in the notebook.
The Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Avery described the ex-boyfriend’s behavior as “premeditated and calculated.” Stalking is taken seriously in Australia and the matter will be heard in the Supreme Court. Sentencing will follow but it was recommending placing the offender’s name on a community protection register for up to 15 years.