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Cyber Stalking Laws

January 9, 2013


Cyber stalking laws have had to come into effect very quickly because of the steep upward curve of harassment and stalking via the internet. The internet is the ultimate playground for cyber harassers and cyber stalkers because of its ease of access to information and its anonymity. Cyber stalking laws vary from state to state and also country to country.

US Federal Law does provide protection for victims of cyber stalking most of the time.“Federal law provides a number of important tools that are available to combat cyberstalking. Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Section 875(c) applies to any communication actually transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce – thus it includes threats transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce via the telephone, e-mail, beepers, or the Internet. 

This law is not complete because of the various conditions where communication may or may not be considered harassment or stalking. State and local cyber stalking laws also have some blurred interpretations:

The Interstate Stalking Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, makes it a crime for any person to travel across state lines with the intent to injure or harass another person and, in the course thereof, places that person or a member of that person’s family in a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. See 18 U.S.C. 2261A. Although a number of serious stalking cases have been prosecuted under Section 2261A, the requirement that the stalker physically travel across state lines makes it largely inapplicable to cyberstalking cases.

As the internet becomes easier to access information and tools for cyber stalkers , the problem for laws to cover these fast changing innovations becomes even greater.

You can find more information on cyber laws in the Cyber Stalking Victim Resource and Support Group


About the Author:

Christopher is an IT specialist with 30 years of experience in developing technology working with corporates and SME’s. Chris is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, as well as numerous certificate based qualifications in technology and application development. Christopher is the CEO of internetSOS - A project to help people learn how to protect themselves online.

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