U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Cyberstalking: Tackling Harassment on the Internet (From Crime and the Internet, P 141-151, 2001, David S. Wall, ed. -- See NCJ-213504)

NCJ Number
Louise Ellison
Date Published
11 pages
This chapter examines the nature and regulation of "cyberstalking" on the Internet, which refers to the use of e-mail to intimidate and harass Internet users.
Harassment on the Internet can come in a variety of forms. A direct form of Internet harassment is the sending of unwanted e-mails that are abusive, threatening, or obscene. It could involve electronic sabotage by sending the victim hundreds or thousands of junk e-mail messages, as well as the infection of a victim's computer with a virus. Indirect forms of harassment include impersonating the victim in an online transaction or communication, which could include sending abusive e-mails or fraudulent information in the victim's name. Some have argued that laws are powerless to regulate cyberstalking, since the Internet has global reach and cloaks stalkers in anonymity. This chapter challenges this pervasive view. A multilayered approach to regulation is workable. It educates and empowers users. The government, working with the Internet industry, can provide potential stalking victims with technical solutions, such as the application of privacy-enhancing technologies, specialized policing practices, and international cooperation among law enforcement agencies. 5 notes and 32 references