As I said in the section about online harassment, sometimes people dismiss threats as “just online stuff” and “not real.” Unfortunately, they’re dangerously wrong. Just about daily, we see cases in which people who threatened violence online carry out their threats in the real world.
But that doesn’t mean we have to live in fear. Here are some steps you can take to defend yourself and your community from escalating threats of violence.
If you’re worried about someone threatening violence, one of the first steps to take is to stop your devices from sharing your location. This includes hiding EXIF information that may be shared in your photos. See those links for more information.
Follow these guides from Feminist Frequency (you don’t have to consider yourself a feminist to get these to work for you), or check out Chayn’s guide to preparing a case when your intimate partner becomes violent.
Ripple is an Android app which can take a number of actions when you press a button, including sending a message to people you trust to help you, locking specific apps so nobody but you can get to them, hiding or deleting sensitive information.
Take steps to stay safe. Model Mugging (whose time-tested work I relied on heavily in Keep Calm and Log On) has a lot of useful resources for self-defense. Start with their guide for walking to your car, and look around the rest of their site for more information.
If threats have gotten more serious and you are concerned for your safety, but you’re not being taken seriously, Crash Override’s guide to talking with family and police about online threats or their guide for your employer could be helpful in making your case.
Protecting yourself from someone who may have more access to your devices and accounts takes a different set of tools than protecting against a stranger. See this site’s section on online relationship violence for additional tips, and pick up a copy of Keep Calm and Log On for more.