Once upon a time, the term cyberstalking might have only been found in dusty sci-fi novellas but today it’s a real crime that can happen to nearly anyone.
With the advent of smartphones, social media and online profiles- the ability to instantly contact friends and strangers is now just a click away. But with this instant accessibility has introduced a dark side and the arrival of ‘cyber stalkers’.
But how do we define cyberstalking in Australia?
Read on to find out…
(image via shutterstock)
What it is.
Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic devices to harass/stalk individuals or organisations. Examples of these types of harassment might include making threats, false accusations, damage to equipment, hacking and solicitation of minors for sex.
A famous case of cyberstalking occurred in 2011 when a twelve year old was sentenced to community service for doctoring a classmates Facebook account with explicit photos and requests for sex. Although never manifesting itself in the physical sense, this behavior was legally classified as harassment and defined as stalking. (source)
According to the Australian Stalking Amendment Act (1999) Cyberstalking is simply an extension of the physical form of stalking. Therefore the same laws apply to both.
So for a person to commit this type of offence they must engage in the following types of conduct:
-Contacting someone via telephone, post, fax, SMS, email or other electronic forms of communication.
-Tracing someone use internet, email or other electronic forms of communication.
-Loitering around or entering someone’s residence, place of interest, place of business or anywhere else frequented by the person.
-Interfering with someone’s property or possessions.
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