Most states have laws in place to protect against unreasonable, unwarranted, unwelcome and persistent attention - all of which adds up to "stalking." With justification and proof, anybody can request and receive legal protection through protective court orders or court orders that mandate a particular distance has to be maintained between a stalker and the would be victim.
The internet is still a relatively new venue, a law unto itself, not unlike what the old, wild western frontier must have been like for the unruly cowboy or the fastest gunslinger. Although the cyber venue is gaining some attention in courts around the country, and although things are slowly changing, there is still a lack of protection for the innocent.
A few years ago a faceless person on the internet had the unfair and unchecked capability of being able to destroy another person's good name using only their fingertips and a keyboard. Recently, however, courts are ruling that internet email is a valid form of communication, i.e. authors are, indeed, accountable for what they write and send to public email lists, chat forums or to private individuals if what they write constitutes untruth or is slanderous.
On the internet, a victim cannot easily get a court to render a ruling that would demand a stalker cease and desist. A stalker has the advantage and, if they are very clever, will know how to harass, embarrass, belittle, bait, challenge and torment and then avoid completely any and all legal recourse. The cyber stalker tiptoes away untouched, unrepentant and free to stalk again. How do I know this? I have been cyber stalked, repeatedly, continuously and still.
Here is what happened: I joined an email list for Mastiff lovers. I am devoted to Mastiffs for 24 years and blessed that in that time I was owned by some of the finest Mastiffs ever born. In 1998 I went "online." Friends walked me through the procedure and protocol. It took me about a nanosecond to understand this was not only a brand new technical experience for me, but it was a new social experience as well. Unbeknownst to me, I had enemies waiting online for me that I never knew existed. They are faceless. I was treading in shark infested water and I was treated as though I was the rare steak.
I became aware some members of the email list were making fun of me behind my back. I was referred to in a derogatory way as "the Author" because a book I wrote on Mastiffs was gaining favorable national acclaim. Too many people wanted my attention, or advice, or they wanted simply to draw on my expertise in Mastiffs and it was bitterly resented.
I found myself joining in on the list less and less. I tried to maintain a low profile. I avoided drawing notice to myself.
With other friends I began an email list of my own that was restricted to Mastiff Breeders. This list was to be our place to discuss breeder issues, subjects not known to be pleasant or pretty or palatable to pet owners. Pet owners don't want to read about a yukky discharge an animal with pyometria (pus/infection in the uterus) has.
Our new list was immediately viewed as a threat to the pre-existing list. The owners and members were accused of being secretive, of hiding things, things we didn't want others knowing. We explained the differences in the lists, tried to reassure them in the face of their insecurities. Time passed and all was well. That is... all was well so long as I stayed quiet and in my "place."
I came to like this new venue, this internet. It was a LOT OF FUN! My friends are spread all over the world and the internet let me to be in touch daily by email. I learned to establish and maintain my personal home page where I could put pictures up of my wonderful dogs. I began to receive awards for the quality of my web site. I worked hard so this was very rewarding.
My web site was picked as the best of a large group of web sites and I was invited to participate in a contest against 11 other monthly winners. I was asked to submit a picture of one of my dogs to represent my site in the contest. Before long, everybody knew about the contest and they were cheering "Cannon" on and voting for him. In my signature line I said "vote for Cannon." So my posts going to the email list had that in them.
On a list well known for heated, nasty flame wars and no rules and no intervention ever by the owner, it was a shock to learn my mail was suddenly banned and I was accused of spamming a list. Nothing with key words, such as Cannon, vote, contest, etc. would go through. Several others who had been actively campaigning for Cannon were similarly censured. I was surprised but I respected the list owner's wishes and I unsubscribed their list and set up my own email list. I subscribe to the live and let live policy.
Within hours of the news of my new list getting out, the other list owner's girlfriend began to attack me and there was nothing subtle about her actions. She put up pornographic web sites and pictures of mastiffs on them. She put my real name on pornographic sites, she linked my name and her boyfriend's name under a sexually explicit picture. She put demeaning versions of my name on the sites. I began to receive daily mail advising of new sites that had only one goal: embarrass, humiliate, belittle, batter, discredit and harm me in every possible public way. She fixed it - and encouraged others to test it - so if you put my name in the search engines they would take you to pornographic sites.
She was and is vicious and relentless. I didn't know how to defend against her. I didn't comprehend her. I had never been subjected to anyone with her type of mean spirit or small mindedness.
Not satisfied yet, she began an email blitz on the other web site contestants. The contest host wrote the contestants and advised an "unsportsmanlike person" tried everything in their power to have Cannon disqualified; that each day there was nasty email received with different unfounded accusations; that a smear campaign had been launched calling into question fairness of the contest itself. The host said the ballot box was being stuffed against Cannon, all stemming from her domain. This was ugly and sordid and I bitterly regretted being in the contest, feeling helpless and unaccountably responsible for the other contestants receiving deceitful email. I asked to withdraw, but they wanted us to stay. All of this trouble over a silly, fun contest and one person's mindless, hateful intentions... it was unbelievable.
She still joins my list under bogus names and email addresses and then attacks me when she thinks I least expect it. Little does she know I always expect her. She is a cyber stalker.
I can't make her go away and leave me alone. She takes the pleasure from my days and destroys my peace of mind in the nights. While she has always underestimated me, I have never made the mistake of underestimating her. I print out hard copies of EVERYTHING that originates from her. Every web site she puts up; every email that I think she may have authored; every deed and every word of hers I save. My file steadily grows. You see, this person is mentally unbalanced, she is seriously ill. Who can predict, really, when a person like her will completely lose it and their actions cross over the line and become criminal?
The only way I could stop her would be to turn my computer off and walk away from this venue. She will be able to continue hurting me because I will not be cowardly for her. What I will not do is give in to her. I will not run from her. I will not hide from her. I will not give up this internet venue simply because she perceives me as a threat and she has so many insecurities. I will not disappear or disguise my hard earned credentials simply because they are a threat to her total lack of credentials.
Sadly, you don't have to be anybody important to attract a cyber stalker. If I were somebody important I could pull strings and make her disappear. You don't have to do anything wrong to be lied about or taunted and belittled. You just have to breathe. I never had a chance against this person. All I did was exist. She didn't like it and she has the computer expertise to follow me all over cyber space. I can do nothing except what I am doing right now. I am writing about her and trying to purge her from my life.
So... now you know what a cyber stalker is and what they are capable of doing to you. They are not necessarily a physical threat to you, although that certainly cannot be discounted as a possibility. They are absolutely a psychological threat to you. Making your life hell is a game to them. In a sick, perverse way making you feel ill inside gives them enormous pleasure.
TROLL, CYBER STALKER, SPAM & HELP SITES
- ABOUT TROLLS AND FLAMERS
- BEWARE THE TROLL
- FAQ - DEALING WITH TROLLS, CROSS POSTING AND FLAMES
- DIANE'S PATENTED MAGIC FLAME-RETARDANT ELIXIR
- ART OF TROLLING
- USENET FISH TALES - HOW TO AVOICE BEING TROLLED
- STAYING SAFE IN CYBERSPACE
- WOMEN HALTING ONLINE ABUSE
- 1996 UK DEFAMATION LAW
- STALKING PREVENTION & VICTIM PROTECTION ACT OF 1999
- THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER: THE CHALLENGE OF UNLAWFUL CONDUCT INVOLVING THE USE OF THE INTERNET
- PROTECTION FROM HARASSMENT ACT 1997 UK
- MALICIOUS COMMUNICATIONS ACT 1998 UK
- INTERNET SAFETY
- COALITION AGAINST UNSOLICITED EMAIL
- RULING COULD STRIP ONLINE ANONYMITY - 5/26/2000
- LIBEL LAW: WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW CAN HURT YOU
- LIBEL DEFENSE RESOURCE CENTER
- POWER REPORTING: RESOURCES FOR JOURNALISTS
- REPORT ON CYBER STALKING
- STIFF PENALTIES SOUGHT FOR COMPUTER CRIME
Click Here To Return to our Homepage Click Here To Go to our Gorgeous Girls Click Here To Go to our Beautiful Boys Click Here To Go To Ancestors Click Here To Go To New Litter Click Here To Go to our Web Rings Click Here To Go To Mastiff Art/Prints