While doing some research for an upcoming seminar, I ran across the Department of Justice report on cyberstalking. Unfortunately it has not been updated since 1999. While the posting itself is old, the changes in ways to obtain, view and find information has grown at a more rapid rate. Protecting your personal information should be the first step at defining your online presence. So how was cyberstalking defined in 1999?
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
Pretty close to how we would define it now, with more emphasis on the tools and ways of contact. The report refers to creating anonymous mailboxes somewhere on the Internet through an ISP. How things have changed. Now you have a presence all over social networking sites with tons of personal information shared in different levels depending on their defaults and your work at setting preferences.
I believe that this study/document needs a definite update to account for the explosion of sites that every age group is now participating. We need stronger rules and laws that govern peoples actions in cyberstalking to add controls over the new features being offered. The section on cybercrime is being updated regularly. Shouldn’t the section on cyberstalking follow suit?