i need to take a minute rn to lecture y'all about the incoming tide of smart lock bs and the cyberpunk hell that is about to rain down on us. abusive landlords, abusive police, abusive boyfriends, the entire booming cybercrime industry are all going to have a fucking field day.
but what freaks me out the most is how gendered technical skill is right now, at least in the US. it's easy to forget in communities like the fediverse that these skills are unevenly distributed. a lot of queer women know how to take care of ourselves when it comes to computer bullshit, and that's awesome, and the more women we can propagate these skills to, the better.
but in your average cishet couple, who are you gonna put your money on having the most skill with tech? the man, every time. there's always an imbalance. a lot of us have seen it in action ourselves. and you hear the stories on reddit all the time.
remember that guy who was obsessed with smart lights and his gf was having to call him at work to turn the ceiling lights on or sit in darkness all day because she couldn't use the app? and he was completely disrespecting her and ignoring her needs and treating her with contempt?
and after this had gone on for months, she finally wrote that timid r/relationships post we've all read asking if she was being unreasonable, and everyone immediately and correctly told her to dump him? THAT's the kind of shit i'm talking about
boys will steamroll right over their girl so they can play with their toys. light fixtures are bad enough. but locks? physical access to her home, her property, her person?
things are going to get really, really ugly. do i even need to lay out the scenario?
tech-obsessed fuckboy insists on installing smart locks in apartment his girlfriend shares with him. does all the setup, making everything massively more complicated than it was before, and leaving him the only person who knows the details of the system setup.
because she's not an opsec expert, the girl probably doesn't think too much about the whole affair, besides her resentment over yet another janky system making her life harder, which she of course dutifully suppresses like the demure and obedient all-american woman she is
eventually J. Random Fuckboy's years of narcissism, selfishness, and emotional abuse overwhelm her ability to just go with the flow and not make waves, and she finally kicks the bastard out. we all know exactly where this is going.
being of course incapable of love and caring only for himself, Fuckboy is overcome with outrage. how dare that stupid bitch dump him, right? he'll show her. he'll make her regret disrespecting him. and unfortunately, he has the tools to do exactly that
because she hasn't gotten around to stripping out all his "home improvements" yet. or maybe the smart locks are too integrated into her routine to cut out. or uninstalling them just doesn't strike her as a priority. whatever the case, the doors to the apartment are still controlled by an app.
so Fuckboy sneaks back into his ex's place when she's away or asleep. steals her shit, breaks her shit, masturbates over her bed, gaslights her, hurts her pets, assaults her, rapes her. she's left traumatized and terrified and with no idea how to keep him out. completely unsafe in her own home.
that's the kind of scenario these fucking products are going to enable. en fucking masse. smart locks do not belong in people's homes and they are going to have horrific implications for millions of unsuspecting women. (and some men too, to be sure, just nowhere near on the same scale). and if we're to have any hope of controlling the damage, people with any kind of platform need to start yelling.
not at the companies, that ship has sailed. this shit is here to stay. but we need to reach out to the people who are going to wind up victimized because of this technology. we need to give them to tools to keep from winding up victim to a J. Random Fuckboy.
we need to put out warnings onto the grapevine, the whisper networks we use to alert each other about rapists and predators in our communities. do you know any women who aren't techies? talk to them about this shit. do you know women who are techies? talk to them about getting the message out.
do you know any decent men? get them to pass it on to their friends and sisters and daughters and girlfriends and coworkers. this isn't just your average dumb stick-a-computer-in-a-toothbrush invention. this is something worse.
it's not just people's convenience and sanity at stake with this shit. it's their property, their safety, their bodies.