What is 'stalkerware' and why are people in relationships using it?

The software allows complete access to a victim's phone without their knowing
Women’s charities are concerned by new research that shows a rise in the use of so-called ‘stalkerware’. 

The surveillance software allows someone complete access to a victim’s phone showing private messages, GPS location and even giving someone the ability to see and hear through cameras and microphones. It has been advertised as a 'wife monitoring' tool

Joe Tidy spoke to one victim of the technology, and looks at the wider impact the spy software is having on society.

Picture: Upset woman in front of phone
Credit: Getty Images
Former Miss England contestant terrified over stalker’s release
An obsessive fan who was jailed for stalking Samantha Bumford is due to be released later this year.

Social Media Snooping

Harleen Nottay says snooping and spying via social media is bad for our mental health.
Millennial Harleen Nottay  says we should stop snooping and spying via social media on our partners, past and present, for the sake of our mental health. 
"It's clear that we are creating a culture where we are normalising these toxic behaviours...behaviours that only a couple of decades ago would have classed us as stalkers."  Recorded in front of a live audience at the Kelburn Garden Party festival in Ayrshire.
Presenter: Olly Mann
Producer: Sheila Cook


Aleks Krotoski explores the thin line between passion and obsession online.
Zachary, Stina and Andrea do not suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder but they all became stuck in obsessional loops after being triggered by an event in their lives which left them looking for answers.  Their obsessions left them all with compulsions to watch and research others online, to seek the certainty they craved to stop the hurt they felt,. But Andrea learnt that "You'll never find the answers you're looking for, but end up chipping away at yourself." For her she believed her obsession and compulsion became a form of self harm. 

 Emma Stone is the Director of the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research at the University of Bedfordshire who explains how being engaged in a repetitive behaviour such as online stalking, in which the only reward is getting to look at someone online without getting any reciprocal energy back is not something that is going to raise your self-esteem.  From her experience Andrea learnt that once you take something from online to offline you really are deciding who you are going to be and Zach discovered that if you really want to know who you are look at yourself online when no one is watching. 

Francesca Cwynar who suffers from Pure O, a form of Obsessive - Compulsive Disorder shares how invisible her obsessive intrusive thoughts are and how she thinks social media mimics the intrusive thoughts people with Pure O experience.   

Producer: Kate Bissell
Researcher: Laurence Cook

With thanks to Clea Skopeliti  for consultation on OCD research.