Tales of a Cyberstalker (1 of 8)

First of all, this blog is not for those trying to catch their low-down, cheating boyfriend/girlfriend, stalk their favorite celebrity or unrequited love interest (a la Lisa Nowak), blackmail their crappy boss or keep up with their favorite frenemy.  For those of you with Sting’s Every Breath You Take as a ringtone, and voicemail intro and start up tune, sorry, find another blog.  This blog will chronicle my attempts to stalk myself and a few select friends, who have agreed to be my guinea pigs, for lack of a better word.  For those of you who want to know where I am heading to determine if you are going to keep reading or for the few remaining stalkers hoping to get more tips, here is a more detailed account:  In Week 2, I will delve into privacy concerns or the lack of privacy shown to stalking victim.  Starting in Week 3, this blog will explore cyberstalking in various forums such as Facebook (Week 3), Twitter (Week 4), virtual worlds (Week 5), Google Maps and other tracking websites (Week 6) and by mobile devices such as iPads and cell phones (Week 7).  Week 8, the final week, the discussion will focus on the social benefits and harms provided by social media and mobile devices and the impact of the technology on privacy.

If you are confused as to what cyberstalking is, here are a few definitions.  For non-stalkers, these definitions will be an education.  For those who have dabbled in keeping electronic tabs and are unsure if your actions classify you as a cyberstalker, the definitions should help to clarify.  For actual stalkers in denial, the definitions will help you realize that you can go to jail for some of the nonsense you have already done or plan to do.

Florida Statutes Section 784.048(1)(d) states,  “’Cyberstalk’ means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.”  Full text of the statute can be found in the following link:

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0784/Sections/0784.048.html

The federal government’s statute is similar, however, cyberstalking is not enumerated, but it is instead placed in the statute governing domestic violence and Stalking.  (See18 U.S.C.A. 2261A, http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C110A.txt)

So if you still have not figured it out, cyberstalking is incessantly following (or worse, threatening) an ex friend,/boss/teacher/neighbor, your baby momma or other person, via computer or mobile device and causing him/her to fear for his or her life just for your perverted kicks.  This may sound harmless, however, the jail time if you are caught cyberstalking can be severe.  The federal government’s penalty under the Federal Domestic Violence and Stalking Act can carry up to life in prison if the stalking results in death to the victim. (18 U.S.C.A. 2261A).

Now if there are any stalkers still out there, is it really worth it?  I know I am not talking to a rational being who will willingly admit that yes, I am a crazed/obsessive/sadistic person who thinks cyberstalking is a perfectly acceptable way to spend a morning, afternoon, dinner or holiday, but the rest of you who have smacked the red devil off your shoulder and pulled out your notepad, these can be some pretty serious penalties.

Next Question – Has anyone been stupid enough to get caught cyberstalking?  Yes!  Here are a few examples with links to those who now share three hots and a cot with their cellie Fat RayRay and who considers Adebesi[i] his prison patron saint:

 

Gary Dellapenta in California who was charged with cyberstalking after placing ads soliciting rape using the name of a woman who had rejected his sexual advances.  Several men showed up at the victim’s apartment at night to fulfill her alleged rape fantasy.  Gary was sentenced to 6 years in prison and California became the first state to pass cyberstalking legislation.  http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jan/22/news/mn-523

Michael Valentine, a Suffolk County, New York cop, posed as his ex-girlfriend and solicited dates for her online.  A few men showed up at the victim’s door prepared to go on a date. http://www.northcountrygazette.org/articles/040306CyberStalking.html

If these two did not scare you, here is another story, this told from the victims’ perspective since the perpetrator has not been found. There is no case as yet, however, the story describes the cyberstalking of 2 press employees who were cyberstalked after their involvement in the firing of another co-working. http://articles.cnn.com/2000-05-31/tech/cyberstalking.idg_1_cyberstalking-chat-rooms-newspaper-managers?_s=PM:TECH

If your fantasy is to have a leading role in a real life 21st century’s version of The Hand that Rocks the Cradle[ii] or Fatal Attraction[iii], this not the blog for you.  This blog will explore the various forums available for cyberstalking, the privacy concerns and social harms associated with cyberstalking.   Check in next week to delve into privacy concerns or the lack of privacy shown to stalking victim.

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~ by sjohn7887 on October 13, 2011.

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