Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group, or an organization. It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, or gathering information that may be used to threaten or harass.
The list at haltabuse.org “…consists of current and pending cyberstalking-related United States federal and state laws, as well as those states that do not have laws yet and related laws from other countries. Currently, there are 45 cyberstalking (and related) laws on the books. We do not include laws that only address online harassment of children or that focus on child predators; we have listed laws that protect adult cyberstalking victims (or all victims of any age). We found in our research that many states which claim to have cyberstalking laws actually have only laws that protect victims ages 18 and under.”
According to their website, “WHOA is a volunteer organization founded in 1997 to fight online harassment through education of the general public, education of law enforcement personnel, and empowerment of victims. We’ve also formulated voluntary policies which we encourage online communities to adopt in order to create safe and welcoming environments for all internet users.”
WHO@ maintains a sister site entitled, “Working to Halt Online Abuse – Kid/Teen Division.” It can be viewed at: HaltabuseKTD.org .
Other useful information regarding online stalking:
Individuals who suspect that they may be victims of cyberstalking or other types of online harassment should try to collect copies of any communications from the stalker (even if the person is unknown to them). Any repeated and unwanted behavior from another person online that causes fear, distress, threat or danger constitutes online harassment. Do not try to argue or reason with them. It is far better to cut off communication and block them as thoroughly as possible across all channels.
Notifying the Authorities
In extreme cases, such as threats of physical violence against you, your family or friends or personal property, contact your local police and provide them with documentation of the unwanted actions and any information provided from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If the ISP or police can identify an unknown stalker, the victim may be able to sue the abuser for emotional and/or physical damages. If the unwanted behavior continues, speak to the police about a formal investigation. In some cases, a judge may also allow a restraining order in both physical and virtual worlds to ensure the safety of the victim.