In Florida Cyberstalking cases, it is very important that the victim keep records of what happened when, as well as maintaining emails, instant messages, etc.
How a Victim Sets Up a Case for Cyberstalking
By maintaining and providing this information to the investigator they can greatly assist in both identifying and building a case against the perpetrator. According to William Ryan Moore, a Cyberstalking Lawyer in Florida, recent changes in the law now allow for the seeking and obtaining of an injunction against prohibited behavior which utilizes electronic means to harass. “Restraining Order” Law originates in repeat or domestic (dating) violence. Florida law requires very little evidence to pass the threshold and issue an order.
These protective or preventative laws have such serious bite that they are often criticized by constitutional rights advocates.
Cyber-Harassment & Cyber-Bullying
This criminality, along with cyberharassment and cyberbullying are collectively referred to as Internet harassment. Attorney Moore defines these acts as follows:
Cyberharassment involves electronic communications (e.g., email, Internet, social networking sites), absent a specific threat to the victim, e.g., continued posting unwanted, off topic, and/ or unflattering comments on a social networking site, in a blog, or in a chatroom
Cyberbullying is cyberharassment when both the victim and the offender are juveniles. It encompasses not only harassment activities but veiled threats
Types of Cyberstalking Cases
Cyberstalking is the repeated use of the Internet, email, or related digital electronic communications devices to annoy, alarm, or threaten a specific individual or group of individuals. There are various types of cyber-stalking cases.
These groups threaten their victims more than the others and in the majority of cases also included offline behavior. One-third of this group had previous criminal records and two-thirds were known to have previously victimized others. Their computer literacy was rated medium to high by their victims. This group, more than any other, utilized the widest range of Internet tools, such as spamming, mailbombing, and identity theft, to harass their victims. This group was also the only to use Trojan programs. Three-quarters of this group’s victims reported receiving bizarre or unclear/ unrelated comments and intimidating multimedia images and/ or audio files, e.g., skull and crossbones, corpses, screams, etc. In these instances such comments were taken as evidence these stalkers had severe mental issues. Two-thirds of these victims had known their stalker before the victimization commenced. Half of the victims noted the harassment started over some trivial matter and was blown out of all proportion. One-third of the victims saw no apparent reason for the stalking. The rest of the victims acknowledged they had previously been in an active argument with their stalker.
This group was made up of stalkers who were not trying to establish any relationship with their victim. Their only apparent goal was to cause distress by constant annoyance and irritation to their victims. This group also was estimated to have a medium to high level of computer skills. These stalkers issued generalized threats to their victims. Only one in this group had a record and only one had any previous stalking history. None in this stalker group had any psychiatric history. Nevertheless, three went on to stalk their victims offline.
This group was actually made up of two subgroups, ex-intimates and infatuates.
Ex-intimates a victim’s ex-partner or ex-acquaintance. The ex-intimate subgroup engaged in online behaviors ranging from trying to restore their relationship with the victim to threats on the victim’s significant other or friend. In some cases the ex-intimate impersonated their victim, such as pretending to be their ex-partner in chatrooms or buying goods online in their name.
Infatuates -individuals looking for an intimate relationship with their victim. This group was characterized as trying to gain attention and/ or obtain a relationship with the victim. Additionally, victims reported this group having a wider range of computer skills than other groups, from fairly low to high. These stalkers utilized email, web discussion groups , and electronic dating sites and demonstrated detailed knowledge about their victims. Infatuates were seeking to form a closer relationship with their victim, often through more intimate communication than the other subgroup. However, when their attempts were rebuffed their messages became more threatening. In one infatuate case, the offender stalked the victim offline.
Two or more individuals stalking their victim online. This group’s stalkers envisioned themselves wronged by the victim and accordingly sought to punish the victim. At times this group would recruit others to harass the victim offline. Victims ranked their stalker’s computer literacy from fairly high to high.