Cyber Stalking can be defined as the repeated acts harassment or threatening behavior of the cyber criminal towards the victim by using internet services. Stalking in General terms can be referred to as the repeated acts of harassment targeting the victim such as following the victim, making harassing phone calls, killing the victims pet, vandalizing victims property, leaving written messages or objects. Stalking may be followed by serious violent acts such as physical harm to the victim and the same has to be treated and viewed seriously. It all depends on the course of conduct of the stalker.
Both kind of Stalkers â€“ Online & Offline – have desire to control the victims life. Majority of the stalkers are the dejected lovers or ex-lovers, who then want to harass the victim because they failed to satisfy their secret desires. Most of the stalkers are men and victim female.
How do they Operate
- Collect all personal information about the victim such as name, family background, Telephone Numbers of residence and work place, daily routine of the victim, address of residence and place of work, date of birth etc. If the stalker is one of the acquaintances of the victim he can easily get this information. If stalker is a stranger to victim, he collects the information from the internet resources such as various profiles, the victim may have filled in while opening the chat or e-mail account or while signing an account with some website.
- The stalker may post this information on any website related to sex-services or dating services, posing as if the victim is posting this information and invite the people to call the victim on her telephone numbers to have sexual services. Stalker even uses very filthy and obscene language to invite the interested persons.
- People of all kind from nook and corner of the World, who come across this information, start calling the victim at her residence and/or work place, asking for sexual services or relationships.
- Some stalkers subscribe the e-mail account of the victim to innumerable pornographic and sex sites, because of which victim starts receiving such kind of unsolicited e-mails.
- Some stalkers keep on sending repeated e-mails asking for various kinds of favors or threaten the victim.
- In online stalking the stalker can make third party to harass the victim.
- Follow their victim from board to board. They “hangout” on the same BB’s as their victim, many times posting notes to the victim, making sure the victim is aware that he/she is being followed. Many times they will “flame” their victim (becoming argumentative, insulting) to get their attention.
- Stalkers will almost always make contact with their victims through email. The letters may be loving, threatening, or sexually explicit. He will many times use multiple names when contacting the victim.
- Contact victim via telephone. If the stalker is able to access the victims telephon, he will many times make calls to the victim to threaten, harass, or intimidate them.
- Track the victim to his/her home.
Definition of Cyberstalking?
Although there is no universally accepted definition of cyberstalking, the term is used in this report to refer to the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to stalk another person. Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property. 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 only that the alleged stalker’s course of conduct constitute an implied threat.(1) 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.
Nature and Extent of Cyberstalking
An existing problem aggravated by new technology
Although online harassment and threats can take many forms, cyberstalking shares important characteristics with offline stalking. Many stalkers – online or off – are motivated by a desire to exert control over their victims and engage in similar types of behavior to accomplish this end. As with offline stalking, the available evidence (which is largely anecdotal) suggests that the majority of cyberstalkers are men and the majority of their victims are women, although there have been reported cases of women cyberstalking men and of same-sex cyberstalking. In many cases, the cyberstalker and the victim had a prior relationship, and the cyberstalking begins when the victim attempts to break off the relationship. However, there also have been many instances of cyberstalking by strangers. Given the enormous amount of personal information available through the Internet, a cyberstalker can easily locate private information about a potential victim with a few mouse clicks or key strokes.
The fact that cyberstalking does not involve physical contact may create the misperception that it is more benign than physical stalking. This is not necessarily true. As the Internet becomes an ever more integral part of our personal and professional lives, stalkers can take advantage of the ease of communications as well as increased access to personal information. In addition, the ease of use and non-confrontational, impersonal, and sometimes anonymous nature of Internet communications may remove disincentives to cyberstalking. Put another way, whereas a potential stalker may be unwilling or unable to confront a victim in person or on the telephone, he or she may have little hesitation sending harassing or threatening electronic communications to a victim. Finally, as with physical stalking, online harassment and threats may be a prelude to more serious behavior, including physical violence.