Monday, January 31, 2005

Cyberstalking – Is it Covered by Current Anti-Stalking Laws?


With the number of people who have access to computers and the Internet[1] continually growing, there has been an explosion in the use of the Internet for the transfer of information and communication between users. However, the growth of the Internet has also increased the resources available to criminals for illegal or bad purposes. Stalking is one crime which criminals have been able to use the Internet to assist them in carrying out their activities. Stalking is generally defined as unwanted contact or course of conduct that places a person in fear of their safety. The Internet provides a powerful tool for the stalker. He may use E-mail, chat-rooms, or electronic bulletin boards to carry out his stalking activities. This method of communication is often preferred because the Internet provides the stalker anonymous contact with his victim. Furthermore, because the Internet is not heavily regulated, the stalker has a good chance of not being punished for his actions.[2]

This paper will review the current anti-stalking statutes and examine how they apply to stalking on the Internet, discuss possible problems with the anti-stalking statutes, and examine the problems associated with enforcement of the current anti-stalking statutes against cyberstalkers.


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