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  •  Cyberstalking Is Illegal (State & Federal) (3+ / 0-)
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    SlackerInc, sockpuppet, martyc35

    You should report this to your local police and also discuss it with a local attorney.  See if there is something you can do about this directly, you might want to investigate it, just in case you need to put it all into motion.  From what you are saying, it sounds well worth the effort - and possibly this is a dangerous situation.

    Online stalking is a serious problem, it's nebulous.  Sometimes it is hard to prove, even just to people you know.  Sometimes only you really know it is happening, if you're lucky enough even to discover that you have been harassed (which is what makes it so complex - see below quoted text).    Online stalking can even involve identity theft of a variety of sorts, some kinds of which have not always been "illegal" but can affect your reputation.  It can be hard to explain the full details of the situation to others because sometimes you run into people online who are not "normal" - and others don't want to believe such things can happen.  But with the right legal tools, this kind of thing can be pursued, if the need arises.  You have some options at least, beyond name changes and moving.  Good luck!

    In some states, the statutes look a little general to deal with all situations.  It may be hard to prove intent to cause "alarm" or place another person in fear of physical injury or death.  I haven't looked at new formulations, including the new Federal law, which looks very general.  But such laws may still not cover the most common forms of alarming cyberstalking for a variety of reasons.  So we will have to see what courts do with these laws in terms of their interpretation, particularly as they relate to the the Constitution.

    Google "Cyberstalking Laws"

    New Federal Law - CNET "Perspective:  Create an e-annoyance, go to jail"

    USA Today "Cyberstalking law opens debate on what's annoying"

    Some of these sites didn't seem comprehensive, but were still very useful, so use them with care and always see a lawyer if you need more information - this is provided just for general informational purposes:

    Also see, National Council of State Legislatures web site (updated 1/19/06)

    Cyberstalking Laws Generally

    2003 guide, but still worth reading

    DOJ Report to Vice President Al Gore (old but interesting document)

    Another practical guide here, though dated now

    Cyberstalking: Navigating a Maze of Laws

    California's Law   Looks Thorough

    New York's proposed law looks very poorly thought through.   I don't think this passed though.  The provision cited for it does not have the proposed language, but it also might not be effective yet.

    Quoting from the New York Law's justification, the facts of which I think the actual statute may not address (ironically):

    JUSTIFICATION : With an estimated 200,000 individuals being stalked in the United States today, the advent of the Internet has provided stalkers with another, extremely accessible tool. Allowing users access to worldwide personal information, stalkers have complete access to you in a matter of a few simple keystrokes. It is critical that the penalty for "Cyberstalking" creates a deterrent to those who may consider perpetrating this crime.

    In Maryland for example, a woman discovered she had become a victim only after a phone call from someone who had seen a message posted on the internet. After the initial shock, she began investigating and discovered that someone had also been sending hate mail in her name to groups of Satanist, drug users and pornographers. Many times even her phone number was included and she actually received a terrifying phone call from a man who told her he lived only 20 minutes away and that "You`d better get a gun because the next time we read about you it will be in a police report."

    Although the E-mail messages were finally traced to a disgruntled business acquaintance, there were no state or federal statutes in place dealing with "Cyberstalking". Her only recourse was to bring civil action against the individual to bring attention to the issue and hopefully deter others from cyberstalking. This must not be allowed to occur in New York State.

    By the way, nothing in this posting should be construed as legal advice.  To address your specific requirements, you need to speak to a local attorney who is knowledgeable on these specific laws and matters and can advise you with regard to your specific requirements and issues.

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