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Internet Stalking. Preventing & Responding to Injuries Tuesday, October 28,2009 Nona L. Wood Associate Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities Dean of Student Life Office 250 Memorial Union, NDSU [email protected] Fargo, ND 58105, 701-231-7754. Cyberstalking Defined.

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Internet Stalking

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Internet stalking l.jpg

Internet Stalking

  • Preventing & Responding to Injuries

  • Tuesday, October 28,2009

  • Nona L. Wood

  • Associate Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities

  • Dean of Student Life Office

  • 250 Memorial Union, NDSU

  • [email protected]

  • Fargo, ND 58105, 701-231-7754


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Cyberstalking Defined

  • Although there is no one set legal definition at this time,

    • “Cyberstalking” has been used to describe a variety of behaviors that involve (1) repeated threats and/or harassment (2) by the use of electronic mail or other computer-based communication (3) that would make a reasonable person afraid or concerned for their safety.

    • Source: Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000; U. S. Department of Justice, 2000.


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Two Practical Examples

Craig Matthew Feigin, 23

Allegedly installed software on a woman’s computer to remotely control a camera on her computer.

Took 20,000 pictures as she moved from room to room in various stages of undress.

Was sending them to a European server.

Not clear if the photos were being sold.


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Two Practical Examples

Victim became aware when every time she got near her computer a light came on and her battery life of her laptop was not nearly as long.

Programs found on her computer include freeware known as “Log Me In” & “Web Cam Spy Hacker.”

Feigin admitted to doing the same to another woman’s computer.

Police fear 8 or 9 more potential victims, some at University of Florida or Santa Fe College.

Source: Gainesville.com, Friday, August 1, 2008.


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Two Practical Examples

A former business professor from the U of St. Thomas, Stephan Grzeskowiak, 34, is facing federal charges in U. S. District Court in Madison, WI, for allegedly violating state and federal laws governing privacy of electronic communications.

He allegedly tricked his exgirlfriend into downloading software that allowed him to read her e-mails at will.

He used a program called “SniperSpy.”

In addition, he used an alias to join an online support group called DailyStrength.com to manipulate her emotionally and to harass her.


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Two Practical Examples

He also stalked her outside of cyberspace, using a secret key to enter her St. Paul apartment while she was inside.

Both filed restraining orders; he ultimately agreed to allow the order against him to stand and his was dismissed.

He also faces civil charges over the same events.

He was released on an unsecured $100,000.00 bond and was required to surrender his passport and to avoid contact with his victim.


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Prevalence of Cyberstalking

Los Angeles District Attorney’s Threat Assessment Unit, 20% of their cases involve some form of cyberstalking

Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit, 20% of their cases involve e-mail or electronic communications

New York City Computer Investigations & Technology Unit, 40% of their cases involve electronic harassment and/or threat

Source: U.S. Attorney General, 1999


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Cyberstalking Characteristics

  • Some may be . . .

    • Socially withdrawn

    • May have antisocial or narcissistic borderline personality disorders

    • May use the Internet to pursue romantic relationships

    • May use cyber connections to pursue sexual gratification, either directly or indirectly


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Cyberstalker Characteristics

“Most stalkers believe that male dominance equals female submissiveness.”

“Cyberstalkers now may be younger, more intelligent and better educated than other criminals. They are described as fairly lonely, isolated, highly intelligent, impulsive, cunning, resourceful, understand how to be anonymous, and know computers.” Barbara Fullerton, December 22, 2003, “CyberAge Stalking”

Anonymity may be ensured by use of Anonymizer or MixMaster tools.


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Cyberstalking Behaviors

  • May include:

    • E-mail & I-M harassment, including e-mail bombs

    • Exposure to unwanted violent and/or pornographic content or messages

    • Forged message board postings

    • Harm to one’s reputation & livelihood

    • Identity theft

    • Text Messaging via Cell Phones (texting)

    • Voice mail

    • Sources: Magliozzi, 2007; Finn, 2004; Finn & Banach, 2000; Kandell, 1998; Leibs, 1995.


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Other Cyberstalking Behaviors

Disinhibition—a willingness to do or say things on the Internet that individuals would not do or say in person.

An illusion of invisibility.

No tangible visual or auditory feedback.

Online social norms may be supportive of cyberbullying and/or cyberstalking.

Victim fear of retaliation, perhaps worse than the original bad act.

Belief that freedom of speech has no limitations.

Source: Nancy Willard, J.D., Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use.


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Comparing Real World Stalkers & Cyberstalkers

  • Both types of stalkers desire power and control over their victims’ lives.

  • Males dominate as offenders, although female offenders do exist.

  • Females dominate as victims, although males may also be victims.

  • Intimacy between victim and stalker usually pre-exists cyberstalking in the majority of cases.

  • Online stranger stalkers are more likely to commit violence against their victims than nonstranger stalkers (Godwin, www.investigativepsych.com).

  • Both victims and stalkers may come from higher socioeconomic status groups due to their access to the Internet (Morewitz, 2003).


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Comparing Real World Stalkers & Cyberstalkers

  • Cyberstalkers may be anywhere in the world; the uncertainty of their location increases the fear factor.

  • Cyberstalking facilitates the introduction of a multiplicity of 3rd party stalkers, on-line or not.

  • Cyberstalking allows for harassment without physical confrontation — anyone may be a cyberstalker.

  • Source: Magliozzi, 2007.


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The Fear Factor

The fear factor can be very real.

In April 1999, Gary S. Dellapenta, a 50 year old former security guard in North Hollywood, pled guilty under California law to one count of electronic stalking and three counts of solicitation to commit sexual assault on a woman for using the Internet to solicit the rape of a woman who rejected his romantic advances.

He impersonated her in several chat rooms, posted her telephone number, address, and claimed that she fantasized about being raped.


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The Fear Factor

On at least six occasions, men knocked on her door, wanting to help her fulfill her fantasies.

He faced up to six years in prison.

This cases illustrates some of the problems of cyberstalking cases, jurisdictional issues and anonymity.


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Cyberstalking Victims

May be any age.

Persons identified as GLBTQ, or believed to be GLBTQ, may experience more cyberstalking (Finn, 2004).

A study of over 1500 youths, 10-17 years of age (YOA), who regularly use the Internet found, . . .


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Cyberstalking Victims

1/5 received an on-line sexual solicitation in the past year, about ¼ of which induced fear or distress.

Girls (66%) were targeted about two times as often as boys (34%).

About 24% of sexual solicitations reported were by adults.


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Cyberstalking Victim Impact

  • Can be just as threatening as “real world” stalking.

  • Can lead to:

    • interference with daily activities,

    • fear for the safety of self & loved ones,

    • anxiety,

    • mental anguish,

    • physical harm, and

    • even homicide

    • Sources: Kennedy, 2000; Lamberg, 2002; Finn, 2004.


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Cyberstalking on College Campuses

  • College populations may be particularly vulnerable for the following reasons:

    • They live in close & relatively closed communities.

    • They have access to high speed, broad band computer access.

    • They are technologically savvy.

    • They fit the age demographic of many typical stalking victims (18-29 YOA).


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Cyberstalking on College Campuses

  • A National Institute of Justice (1996) study estimates that 8% of women and 2% of men have been stalked at some point in their lives.

  • On college campuses, a National Institute of Justice (1998) study found that 13.1% of women said they had been stalked during a 7-month period in 1997, and 24.7% of all victims reported that the stalking included e-mail

  • Source: Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000.


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Cyberstalking on College Campuses

  • Another study of one college campus found that between

    • 26.6% & 35.2% of female students, and between

    • 14.7% and 18.4% of male students had been stalked

    • Source: Fremouw, Westrup, & Pennypacker, 1997.


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Cyberstalking on College Campuses

  • It is not hard to learn the daily patterns and other key information about other students:

    • Class schedules

    • E-mail addresses

    • Phone numbers

    • Student organizations & activities

    • Friends, significant others, roommates, etc.


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New Cyber Environments

  • MySpace.com

  • FaceBook

  • Xanga.com

  • P2P networks

    • Kazaa

    • BitTorrent

    • Limewire


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Future Forecasting

  • Increasing numbers of individuals will be using the Internet.

  • As numbers increase, Internet crime will increase.

  • Internet addictions and/or compulsive on-line activities may increasingly be identified as problematic and/or criminal behaviors.


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For Employers

Have clear and precise monitoring policies (Acceptable Use Policies, AUP’s)

Follow your AUP’s consistently

Even if you own a device, have a monitoring policy, and pay for the service, monitoring the content of a communication may not always be appropriate, so be careful before automatically monitoring content.

Text messaging should be included in your AUP.

At least in California, assuming that employee communications are public records needs caution.

Source: Andrew Serwin, June 23, 2008, WI Technology Network.


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Cyberstalking & Free Speech

  • There are legal limitations:

    • Death threats

    • Intimidation or extortion

    • Threats or intimidation involving bias or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

    • Sexual exploitation

    • Source: Nancy Willard, J.D., Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use


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Cyberstalking & Case Law

  • United States v. Bowker, 372 F.3d 365 (6th Cir. 2004).

  • United States v. Baker, 890 F. Supp. 1375 (E. D. Mich. June 21, 1995), aff’d. sub. nom., U.S. v. Alkhabaz, 104 F 3d. 1492 (6th Cir. 1997).


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Technological Fixes

  • Blocking Software

  • Encryption

  • Filtering software

  • Firewalls

  • Monitoring and tracking software

  • Outgoing filtering software

  • Passwords


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Sources of Assistance

  • Cyber Angels Internet Safety Program

    • www.CyberAngels.org

  • Center for Safe & Responsible Internet Use

    • http://cyberbylly.org

  • www.StalkingAssistance.com

  • www.getnetwise.org

  • Operation Safe Surf

    • www.attorneygeneral.gov

  • WHOA – Working to Halt Online Abuse

    • http://www.haltabuse.org/


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Sources of Assistance

www.americalinksup.org

www.parentech.org

www.safekids.com

<abuse@<domain name of provider>

www.consumer.gov/idtheft

www.privacyalliance.com

www.privacyrights.com

www.safetyed.org

www.haltabuse.org


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Other Recommendations

  • Don’t share personal information in public online places, such as chat rooms and newsgroups.

  • Create user names that are age and gender neutral.

  • Create separate e-mail accounts to use in chat rooms and newsgroups.

  • Send personal information only to secure sites.


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Other Recommendations

  • If unwanted contact occurs, send a clear message that you will contact authorities if it continues & follow through.

  • Save print copies of all unwanted communications, both e-mail & I-M.

  • Contact local law enforcement if you feel threatened—don’t wait.


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Other Recommendations

  • Avoid meeting on-line friends alone at all, unless in a very public location.

  • Source: Finn, 2004.


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