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Depression and bipolar disorder, by their nature, are isolating illnesses.
But all these measures were intended to protect us from dangers lurking without, not those concealed within. When I began to write my fifth novel, The Intrusions, it was a simple serial killer story set in a backpackers’ hostel in Queensway – but books never go where you want them to.
The 21st-Century Peeping Tom isn’t going to be found at your bathroom window but hiding deep inside your computer. Today’s stalker doesn’t need to enter their victim’s personal space (with all the attendant dangers of being caught), but, instead, can silently sneak in through your laptop.
He works behind the counter at a deli in Brooklyn, a small shop that does a brisk business in snacks, coffee, and cigarettes. I started to act like people were there watching, and that’s when they showed up.” Abuhamdeh’s routine was subtle.
In June of last year, on a whim and mostly out of boredom, Abuhamdeh mounted his phone next to the register and began to broadcast his day on You Now, a live streaming service. People would walk up and pay, he would ring them up, and then as they left, nail them with a zinger spoken to the camera.
It’s the same as when your computer freezes and you call the helpline and they take control of your screen. Among the Dark Net’s snaky labyrinth of forums and message boards exists the sub-species of Ratter.
Ratters are not content with trolling and insulting you online – they want to watch, and film, your reaction.
In The Intrusions I wanted to explore how deeply someone could penetrate a person’s private life – how, if they were determined enough, they could find out everything about you from your web presence and then use it against you.
I also wanted to explore how technology has not only changed the nature of crime, but also fundamentally changed the nature of police work – screen gazing replacing shoe leather, data crunching instead of hunches.
Members of our depression support group will have access to the latest in social network technology including a dedicated activity stream, forum and chat room.