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Evidence handling in proactive cyberstalking investigations: the PAPA approach

NCJ Number
Date Published
12 pages

This article describes the PAPA system. a comprehensive toolkit that captures all relevant cyberstalking data with the potential for admissibility in a court of law.


Stalking is the malicious, unsolicited intrusion on another's personal space, and cyber-stalking extends this to cyberspace via Internet technology. All fifty U.S. states criminalized stalking in the 1990's, and many have passed cyberstalking statutes as well. The anonymity and reach of the Internet, and the difficulties in capturing, recording, and verifying digital evidence combine to create new challenges to law enforcement agencies trying to prevent and detect the crime and apprehend the criminals. In particular, the "expectation of privacy" afforded to all participants of live-wire communication makes it difficult to bind the actual perpetrator with his or her online persona. Toward this end and as far as possible under existing federal, state, and international statutes, PAPA captures data with the goal of producing evidence that is admissible, authoritative, reliable, complete, and believable in cyberstalking cases. (Published abstract provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2005