Peace and Blessings Family, After Brother Rhymebad mentioned that he's been stalked for 6 years, and we have a new law forum ... ... i thought i'd dig up some stuff on Internet harassment, stalking, and cyberbullying. Even i have been harassed, defamed, etc., and while i've never done anything about it ... trying to ignore it for the most part ... there are legal avenues of recourse. If necessary, contact your local police, state, or federal authorities, and get an attorney if need be! Destee Online Harassment (Cyberstalking) - What it is and what to do about it There is a clear difference between the annoyance of unsolicited e-mail and harassment. True harassment is methodical, deliberate, and persistent communication that disturbs the recipient. It does not have to be threatening (overtly or otherwise), or from someone who knows you. The unwanted communications are often constant, filled with disturbing and inappropriate content, and do not cease even after you asked them not to contact you again. Examples of harassment are: • Unwanted/unsolicited e-mail • Unwanted/unsolicited instant messaging • Private or public messages on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) • Disturbing messages on newsgroups or bulletin boards • Unsolicited communications about your coworkers, friends and acquaintances • Offline communication like paper mail or phone calls Harassment online is just as illegal as harassment offline, and it is just as frightening. Don't get rid of e-mails. Checkout the headers (the "from", "to", "subject" and "date"). Also go to the Options or Preferences menu of your e-mail program and see if you can turn on "full headers". Look for the "Message ID" and/or "NNTP Posting Host" lines. You'll find the real ISP (internet service provider) that the person is using on these lines. Send a copy of the offending mail with the full headers to the ISP at: postmaster @ i s p n a m e . c o m (Ex.email@example.com) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. If someone forges your name on Usenet posts, do the same as above. Also go to the site of the ISP to see if there is a phone number by which to contact them directly to complain. If contacting the ISP does not produce results, do the following: 1. Call GMU Police 993-2810 2. Call Virginia State Police Computer Crimes Unit (804) 333-3800 3. Call the FBI Computer Crimes Unit (703) 762-3160 CYBERSTALKING AND INTERNET HARASSMENT: WHAT THE LAW CAN DO Judge David Harvey - A Judge of the District Court Harassment on the Internet can take place in a number of Ways. One form may involve sending unwanted, abusive, threatening or obscene e-mails. Another means involves electronic sabotage or spamming where the victim is sent hundreds of junk e-mail messages. A variant of spamming involves the sending of computer viruses to the victim. The third common form arises in live Internet relay chat sessions, message boards or news groups or by way of instant messaging. Online harassment may also be indirect. The harasser may impersonate the victim and send abusive or fraudulent e-mails in the victim’s name. The victim may be subscribed to mailing lists without his or her consent with the result that hundreds of unwanted e-mails are received every day. Hostile Usenet posts about the victim may appear or the perpetrator may spread vicious rumours about the victim online leaving abuse messages about the victim on website guest books. The harasser may even transmit offensive or altered images of the victim to websites or provide Personal information about the victim online. Man Sentenced for Internet Harassment South Carolina Man Sentenced In First Federal Prosecution Of Internet Harassment James Robert Murphy, 38, of Columbia, South Carolina, was sentenced to 5 years of probation, 500 hours of community service, and more than $12,000 in restitution today for two counts of Use of a Telecommunications Device (the internet) with Intent to Annoy, Abuse, Threaten or Harass. Murphy was indicted in April 2004, for sending harassing emails to Seattle resident Joelle Ligon and to other employees of the City of Seattle. How Can A Lawyer Help Me Respond to Cyber Bullying and Internet Defamation? The victims describe the resulting destruction of their business reputation; their personal privacy; their intimate relationships. This is caused by the toxic combination of two harsh truths: (a) anonymous speech tends to bring out the worst in people and (b) people reading this garbage tend to believe that where there is smoke, there is fire. The law provides a number of ways to address cyber bullying and Internet defamation. For example, if the particular facts present themselves, one might bring a lawsuit for: o the intentional infliction of emotional distress o libel o interference with contract o interference with prospective economic advantage o unfair trade practices o violation of contractual confidentiality provisions o invasion of privacy / right of publicity o copyright infringement Cyber bullies on notice Anonymous harassment on the Internet may seem harmless, but in reality the practice can turn out to be deadly. Mo. Internet harassment bill passed after MySpace suicide FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed a bill Monday outlawing cyberbullying, just miles from where a 13-year-old girl committed suicide nearly two years ago after being harassed on the Internet. The bill updates state laws against harassment by removing the requirement that the communication be written or over the telephone. Supporters say the bill now covers harassment from computers, text messages and other electronic devices. Bill Aims to Turn Internet Flamers Into Felons A little known bill is now causing a firestorm among free speech experts Cyberstalking is a Crime We at WiredSafety receive requests for help from ordinary people, adults and teens, who are harassed by intrusive e-mails, threatening e-mails, real life 'phone calls from someone whom the victim only knew online. There are different ways to define cyberstalking When identifying cyberstalking "in the field" , particularly when considering whether to report it to any kind of legal authority, the following features or combinations of features can be considered to characterize a true stalking situation: * Malice * Premeditation * Repetition * Distress * Obsession * Vendetta * No Legitimate Purpose * Personally Directed * Disregarded Warnings to Stop * Harassment * Threats What is Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is any harassment that occurs via the Internet. Vicious forum posts, name calling in chat rooms, posting fake profiles on web sites, and mean or cruel email messages are all ways of cyberbullying. Repeated or excessive harassment via email, forums or chat rooms is harassment and should involve the police. Threats of violence should also be reported to the police. Try to save all messages as evidence. The police will know what to do from there. Reporting Cyberstalking [online stalking] and/or harassment If you suspect that an online stalker knows your actual location it is imperative that an official report be filed with your local law enforcement agency IMMEDIATELY. This is especially true if threats of physical violence are part of his/her attack. In any case, you must contact law enforcement in your area prior to our accepting any case for any cybercrime that involves any offline risk. If you have already contacted your local law enforcement agency and filed an official report and/or you are: a) being cyberstalked (followed from site to site, sustained direct harassment through e-mails, IM, etc.) b) being cyberharassed (chat room flaming, derogatory postings, etc.) please refer to our interactive Cyberstalking Self-help guide which is designed to help you find information about your problem quickly and then file the appropriate report with our organization, where necessary. Reporting Computer, Internet-Related, or Intellectual Property Crime Internet-related crime, like any other crime, should be reported to appropriate law enforcement investigative authorities at the local, state, federal, or international levels, depending on the scope of the crime. Citizens who are aware of federal crimes should report them to local offices of federal law enforcement. .