Security and Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking

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Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. The definition of "harassment" must meet the criterion that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.[1]

Contents

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Definitions

Stalking is a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions, each of which may be entirely legal in itself. Lambèr Royakkers writes that:
 

"Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect)."[2]

CyberAngels has written about how to identify cyberstalking:
 

When identifying cyberstalking "in the field," and particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combination of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation: malice, premeditation, repetition, distress, obsession, vendetta, no legitimate purpose, personally directed, disregarded warnings to stop, harassment, and threats.[3]

A number of key factors have been identified:
 

  • False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.[4]
  • Attempts to gather information about the victim. Cyberstalkers may approach their victim's friends, family and work colleagues to obtain personal information. They may advertise for information on the Internet, or hire a private detective. They often will monitor the victim's online activities and attempt to trace their IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims. [5]
  • Encouraging others to harass the victim. Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way, or may post the victim's name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit.
  • False victimization. The cyberstalker will claim that the victim is harassing him/her. Bocij writes that this phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases.
  • Attacks on data and equipment. They may try to damage the victim's computer by sending viruses.
  • Ordering goods and services. They order items or subscribe to magazines in the victim's name. These often involve subscriptions to pornography or ordering sex toys then having them delivered to the victim's workplace.
  • Arranging to meet. Young people face a particularly high risk of having cyberstalkers try to set up meetings between them.[6]

Behaviors

Cyberstalkers meet or target their victims by using search engines, online forums, bulletin and discussion boards, chat rooms, and more recently, through online communities such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Friendster, and Indymedia, a media outlet known for self-publishing. They may engage in live chat harassment or flaming or they may send electronic viruses and unsolicited e-mails. [7] Victims of cyberstalking may not even know that they are being stalked. Cyberstalkers may research individuals to feed their obsessions and curiosity. Conversely, the acts of cyberstalkers may become more intense, such as repeatedly instant messaging their targets. [8]
More commonly they will post defamatory or derogatory statements about their stalking target on web pages, message boards and in guest books designed to get a reaction or response from their victim, thereby initiating contact. [7] In some cases, they have been known to create fake blogs in the name of the victim containing defamatory or pornographic content.
When prosecuted, many stalkers have unsuccessfully attempted to justify their behavior based on their use of public forums, as opposed to direct contact. Once they get a reaction from the victim, they will typically attempt to track or follow the victim's internet activity. Classic cyberstalking behavior includes the tracing of the victim's IP address in an attempt to verify their home or place of employment. [7]
Some cyberstalking situations do evolve into physical stalking, and a victim may experience abusive and excessive phone calls, vandalism, threatening or obscene mail, trespassing, and physical assault.[7] Moreover, many physical stalkers will use cyberstalking as another method of harassing their victims.[9][10]
A 2007 study, led by Paige Padgett from the University of Texas Health Science Center, found that there was a false degree of safety assumed by women looking for love online.[11][12]
 

Cyberstalking legislation

In the United States

The current US Federal Anti-Cyber-Stalking law is found at 47 USC sec. 223.[13]
The first U.S. cyberstalking law went into effect in 1999 in California. Other states include prohibition against cyberstalking in their harassment or stalking legislation. In Florida, HB 479 was introduced in 2003 to ban cyberstalking. This was signed into law on October 2003. [14]
Some states in the U.S. have begun to address the issue of cyberstalking:
 

  • Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, and New York have included prohibitions against harassing electronic, computer or e-mail communications in their harassment legislation.
  • Alaska, Florida, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and California, have incorporated electronically communicated statements as conduct constituting stalking in their anti-stalking laws.
  • Texas enacted the Stalking by Electronic Communications Act, 2001.
  • Missouri revised its state harassment statutes to include stalking and harassment by telephone and electronic communications (as well as cyber-bullying) after the Megan Meier suicide case of 2006.[15]
  • A few states have both stalking and harassment statutes that criminalize threatening and unwanted electronic communications.
  • Other states have laws other than harassment or anti-stalking statutes that prohibit misuse of computer communications and e-mail, while others have passed laws containing broad language that can be interpreted to include cyberstalking behaviors

Cyberstalking has also been addressed in recent U.S. federal law. For example, the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 2000, made cyberstalking a part of the federal interstate stalking statute. Still, there remains a lack of legislation at the federal level to specifically address cyberstalking, leaving the majority of legislative prohibitions against cyberstalking at the state level.[7]
Most stalking laws require that the perpetrator make a credible threat of violence against the victim; others include threats against the victim's immediate family; and still others require the alleged stalker's course of conduct constitute an implied threat. While some conduct involving annoying or menacing behavior might fall short of illegal stalking, such behavior may be a prelude to stalking and violence and should be treated seriously.[16]
Online identity stealth blurs the line on infringement of the rights of would-be victims to identify their perpetrators. There is a debate on how internet use can be traced without infringing on protected civil liberties.
 

In other countries

Other countries have begun to include online abuse in their anti-stalking legislation. In Australia, the Stalking Amendment Act (1999) includes the use of any form of technology to harass a target as forms of "criminal stalking." In the United Kingdom, the Malicious Communications Act (1998) classified cyberstalking as a criminal offense.[17]
 

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Bocij, Paul. Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family. Praeger, 2004, p. 14.
  2. ^ Royakkers 2000:7, cited in CyberStalking: menaced on the internet
  3. ^ Bocij, Paul. Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family. Praeger, 2004, pp. 9-10.
  4. ^ Fighting Cyberstalking
  5. ^ An exploration of predatory behavior in cyberspace: Towards a typology of cyberstalkers by Leroy McFarlane and Paul Bocij
  6. ^ Bocij, Paul. Cyberstalking: Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family. Praeger, 2004, pp. 12-13.
  7. ^ a b c d e Cyberstalking
  8. ^ Compulsions in Depression: Stalking by Text Message – HOWES 163 (9): 1642 – Am J Psychiatry
  9. ^ Types of Stalkers and Stalking Patterns
  10. ^ Cyber-Stalking: Obsessional Pursuit and the Digital Criminal
  11. ^ Look Who’s Googling: New acquaintances and secret admirers may already know all about you
  12. ^ "Personal Safety and Sexual Safety for Women Using Online Personal Ads", Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, June 2007, Vol. 4, No. 2, Pages 27-37
  13. ^ "Cybertelecom :: 47 USC 233". Cybertelecom. http://www.cybertelecom.org/cda/47usc223.htm.
  14. ^ "Florida Statute 784.048". Florida Computer Crime Center. http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Fc3/cyberstalking.html.
  15. ^ Currier, Joel (1 July 2008). "Gov. Blunt signs law against cyber-bullying" (in English). St. Louis Post-Dispatch (www.stltoday.com). . Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  16. ^ Cyberstalking: A New Challenge for Law Enforcement and Industry
  17. ^ Stalking/UK

Further reading

  • Bocij, Paul. Cyberstalking : Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family. Praeger Publishers, 2004. (ISBN 0-275-98118-5)
  • Meloy, J. The Psychology of Stalking. Reid. Academic Press, 2000. (ISBN 0-12-490561-7)
  • Mullen, Paul E.; Pathé, Michele; Purcell, Rosemary. Stalkers and Their Victims. Cambridge University Press, 2000. (ISBN 0-521-66950-2)
  • Hitchcock, J.A., Net Crimes & Misdemeanors: Outmaneuvering the Spammers, Swindlers, and Stalkers Who Are Targeting You Online CyberAge Books, 2006. (ISBN 0-910-96572-2)
  • PDF article on Cyberstalking in the United Kingdom
  • Crime Library: Cyberstalking
  • Cyberstalking – Is it Covered by Current Anti-Stalking Laws? by Craig Lee and Patrick Lynch

External links

  • State Computer United States harassment or "Cyberstalking" Laws
  • United States law and the Internet
  • Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
  • 1999 Report on Cyberstalking: A New Challenge for Law Enforcement and Industry
  • The National Center for Victims of Crime
  • Stalking Laws and Implementation Practices: A National Review for Policymakers and Practitioners (Full Report), Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse.
  • "Cyberstalking: A New Challenge for Law Enforcement and Industry. A Report from the Attorney General to the Vice President", United States Department of Justice, August 1999.
  • Cybertelecom :: Cyberstalking Federal Internet Law & Regulation

CYBER-STALKING: OBSESSIONAL PURSUIT AND THE DIGITAL CRIMINAL

Though the behaviour widely identified as stalking has existed for centuries, the legal system has only codified its presence in the statutes in recent decades. As a result, cyberstalking could truly be identified as a crime of the nineties owing to its reliance on computer and communications technology which have only reached maturity in the past decade.

It is difficult to find literature relating specifically to cyberstalking, and according to Eoghan Casey (1999), a computer crimes expert, incidences involving a purely electronic medium are rare. The on-line behaviour we are now witnessing is most accurately described as an extension of 'traditional' stalking that utilises a high-tech modus operandi (method of operation). Owing to this, one should consult the general literature relating to stalking for information on this adaptation of the criminal act.

In legal terms, the manifestation of this misconduct is most likely to be charged as per the statutes in place in the respective jurisdictions. In the United States, California was the first state to adopt stalking laws, most often identified as a result of the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer by Robert Bardo in 1989. Legislation was subsequently passed in 1990, and the nation's first anti-stalking law was passed (Zona, Palarea & Lane, 1998; Coleman, 1997; National Victim Centre, 1998b). New York enacted Penal Code 240.25 in 1992, which was amended in 1994 (National Victim Centre, 1998a).

Australian states to enact stalking legislation around the same time include Queensland with Section 359A of the Criminal Code prohibiting Unlawful Stalking in 1993. Victoria however, was the first Australian state to judiciously guard against this conduct in 1958, with Section 21A of the Crimes Act in 1958 (Victims of Crime, 1998).

Irrespective of the jurisdiction, there are several key criteria for conduct to be considered stalking. Many states include a provision whereby the behaviour must occur on two or more occasions before the criteria are satisfied. In other states, a single occurrence is sufficient (Queensland is one such state where the frequency of conduct has since been amended). Several US states (Delaware, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma ) allow for the consideration of harsher penalties where repeat offences relate specifically to prior incidences of stalking (Cullen-Anderson, 1993).

Given the ability of individuals to 'mask' their identity when using the Internet, linking the harassment to one particular individual may prove difficult, providing law enforcement with a challenge if prosecution should become an option. Programs that mask ones IP (Internet Protocol) address and anonymous remailers are merely two examples that hinder the identification of the digital location from which communications originate. This is important when considering that many statutes require that the threat be real. Lisa Rosier, of the Queensland Police Service who was trained by the Los Angeles Police Department states: "If a person is making these threats from the US, then there is little chance that the threat can be carried out" (The Australian, 1998). Rosier also points out that the psychological torment may still be very real, even in the absence of a distinct physical threat. One of the things that investigators may have in their favour is that such 'pure' cyberstalking, that which occurs entirely on the Internet, is rare (Casey, 1999) and as such will cross the virtual and extend into the physical.

There is a definite gap between the legal statutes and the electronic world. Of the US states that have anti-stalking laws, only seven contain language that deal with stalking by computer (Jenson, 1996; Meloy, 1998). Examples of the differences in behaviour between the physical and virtual realm include hand delivering a letter (be it threat or otherwise) and e-mailing it to the victim. Other on-line examples may be e-mail bombs, threatening, degrading or demeaning communications, and assuming your on-line persona in places you frequent, such as chat rooms, for the purpose of posting personal details about you or your life. One such case in which the latter was a problem will be covered in the coming sections.

While it is important to consider legal issues relating to stalking, they often fail to take into account the behavioural diversity evidenced in the act. For the investigator or concerned net-user, information relating to the behaviour often exhibited by a stalker will be important, as this may provide insight into possible motivations behind the offender. The next section will provide such explanations of stalking, from a motivational point of view, in the form of stalking typologies. A typology is broadly defined as the clustering together of individuals based upon shared characteristics. A summary shall also cover topical issues relating to the etiology, or causes of stalking.

AL CARROLL

Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone.It has been defined as the use of information and communications technology, particularly the Internet, by an individual or group of individuals, to harass another individual, group of individuals, or organization. The behavior includes false accusations, monitoring, the transmission of threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, and any form of persistent offensive behaviour. The harassment must be such that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.

A number of key factors have been indentified:

False accusations. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them. They post false information about them on websites. They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose. They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or Amazon.com.Attempts to gather information about the victim. Cyber stalkers may approach their victim's friends, family and work colleagues to obtain personal information. They may advertise for information on the Internet, or hire a private detective. They often will monitor the victim's online activities and attempt to trace their IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims. [5] Encouraging others to harass the victim. Many cyber stalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment. They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his family in some way, or may post the victim's name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit. False victimization. The cyber stalker will claim that the victim is harassing him. Bocij writes that this phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases. Attacks on data and equipment. They may try to damage the victim's computer by sending viruses.

Ordering goods and services. They order items or subscribe to magazines in the victim's name. These often involve subscriptions to pornography or ordering sex toys then having them delivered to the victim's workplace. Arranging to meet. Young people face a particularly high risk of having cyber stalkers try to set up meetings between them.BehaviorsCyber stalkers meet or target their victims by using search engines, online forums, bulletin and discussion boards, chat rooms, Wikipedia, and more recently, through online communities such as MySpace, Face book, Friendster and Indymedia, a media outlet known for self-publishing. They may engage in live chat harassment or flaming or they may send electronic viruses and unsolicited e-mails. Victims of cyber stalkers may not even know that they are being stalked. Cyber stalkers may research individuals to feed their obsessions and curiosity. Conversely, the acts of cyber stalkers may become more intense, such as repeatedly instant messaging their targets.More commonly they will post defamatory or derogatory statements about their stalking target on web pages, message boards and in guest books designed to get a reaction or response from their victim, thereby initiating contact. In some cases, they have been known to create fake blogs in the name of the victim containing defamatory or pornographic content.When prosecuted, many stalkers have unsuccessfully attempted to justify their behavior based on their use of public forums, as opposed to direct contact. Once they get a reaction from the victim, they will typically attempt to track or follow the victim's internet activity. Classic cyberstalking behavior includes the tracing of the victim's IP address in an attempt to verify their home or place of employment.Some cyberstalking situations do evolve into physical stalking, and a victim may experience abusive and excessive phone calls, vandalism, threatening or obscene mail, trespassing, and physical assault. Moreover, many physical stalkers will use cyberstalking as another method of harassing their victims. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberstalking

The coward Al Carroll is knee deep in cyber-stalking, he excels at it, its’ what he and his anti-Indian website (naps.com) are all about. Carroll has falsely accused TOTAL STRANGERS of being a white supremacists. I thought one had to be white to be one of those idiots. I don’t hate white people, I am not happy as to how they treated my people, but that is water under the bridge. I just find it really creepy that some psycho (Carroll) has nothing better to do than to stalk innocent people. I think Al Carroll engages in this deviant behavior to deflect attention away from his non-Indian status. Al Carroll is even part white himself. I know you are reading this you punk, you better get your facts straight before you get kicked off the internet, AGAIN!

Along with his cyber-stalking Carroll is also a pathological liar:

1. Al Carroll lied about being Apache, he’s not even Indian. Which strikes me as very disturbing since he is the self-proclaimed guru of American Indian spirituality. At his anti-Indian hate site (naps.com) Carroll and three other core members, all Euro-idiots, go around accusing real Indians of committing acts of fraud when Carroll is the biggest fraud of them all.

2. AL Carroll defrauded the Dept. of Education by stating he was Indian to get grants to pay for his wasted education.3. Al Carroll lied about being a full tenured Professor of History, when he is in fact, just some cheesy part-time high school teacher.4. Al Carroll has made numerous personal attacks against Indians in various forums. I could nail that sorry S.O.B. for calling me an advocate of white supremacy, but never showing proof of his outlandish allegations. Put up or shut the phuck up Al. Then there is his blatant homophobia. This is really bizarre because his life partner is some other idiot named Brent Michael David’s, a full blown gay guy. So Al’s a hypocrite too.Then there is his obsession/stalking of this Dr Yeagley person. Dr Yeagley is a relatively benign proponent of Indian affairs, compared to Al, he is a saint. I read one of his articles and found nothing anti-Indian about it:http://www.badeagle.com/cgi-bin/ib3/cgi-bin/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=15;t=8835Wtf is this nut-job Al talking about? He seems to stir up trouble where ever he goes. AL CARROLL IS A CYBER-STALKING FRAUD. Someone needs to drop a dime on Carroll and his crazy antics before he hurts himself.Finally, you little shyt Carroll, you had better get down on your knees and pray our paths never cross. I will give $100.00 bucks to anyone who can prove that Carroll is Apache.