Definition of Cyberstalking

definition of cyberstalking

Almost every nation-state has a unanimous definition of cyberstalking. It is an online threat and harassment wherein the object is subjected to a bombardment of online messages, emails, and SMSs.

U.S. Law on Definition of Cyberstalking

Harassment, as the definition of cyberstalking in the U.S. computer statutes, is clearly dissimilar from cyberbullying, is usually relates to a person’s “use a computer or computer network to communicate the obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act.

PECA on Definition of Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking.- (1) Whoever with intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person uses a computer, computer network, internet, network site, electronic mail, or any other similar means of communication to,-

(a)  communicate the obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, picture or image;

(b)  make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature;

(c)  threaten any illegal or immoral act;

(d)  take or distribute pictures or photographs of any person without his consent or knowledge; or

(e)  display or distribute information in a manner that substantially increases the risk of harm or violence to any other person, commits the offense of cyberstalking.

S J Tubrazy defines

“Cyberstalking is harassment or threat to a victim using digital communication”. (urban dictionary)

To constitute the offense of cyberstalking certain common elements must be proved before the court, among these elements, are the following:

Means—the electronic transmission of information or communication by the use of a computer or other electronic means Specific person—sent to a person identified by a unique address and received by that person

Intent—to coerce, intimidate, or harass the person

Transmission—obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, indecent language, or any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act

Precedents

In the case of United States v. Neil Scott Kramer the accused used an electronic device for the crime of cyberstalking, the accused argued that this claim was insufficient because his charge included persuading through a computer device and his cellular phone technically is not a computer. Although Kramer tried to argue this point, U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual states that the term computer “means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or other high-speed data processing device performing logical, arithmetic, or storage functions, and includes any data storage facility or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device.”

In a case in India accused Manish Kathuria was arrested by the New Delhi Police for stalking an Indian lady Ms Ritu Kohli by illegally chatting on the MIRC using her name. He used indecent and abhorrent language and distributed her residence telephone number, inviting people to chat with her on the phone. As a result of which, Ritu kept getting obscene calls from everywhere. In a state of shock, she called the Delhi police and reported the matter.

In June 2000, a man was arrested by the Delhi police for assuming the identity of his ex-employers wife in a chat channel and encouraging others to telephone the net. The victim who was getting obscene telephone calls at night from strangers made a complaint to the police.  The accused was then located “online” in the chat room under the identity of the victim and later traced through the telephone number used by him to access the internet.

The defendant had made several malicious telephone calls to women. It was held that a recognizable psychiatric illness suffered by a victim of malicious telephone calls amounted to “ bodily harm” within the meaning of the Act. In R. v Ireland (Robert Matthew) R. v Burstow (Anthony Christopher) (HL) [1998] A.C. 147 (1997) 141 S.J.L.B. 205

The accused allegedly placed software on their laptops which allowed him to control them remotely from his own computer and smartphone. He then switched on the women’s webcams and filmed them in their bedrooms, jurors at Woolwich Crown Court were told.

The Internet community has played a vital role in encapsulating the definition of cyberstalking, Cyberstalking is a criminal offense under various state anti-stalking, slander, and harassment laws. A conviction can result in restraining order, probation, or criminal penalties against the assailant, including jail.

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