Cyberstalking and Ip Numbers
CyberStalking: menaced on the internet
- Albert Benschop -
Stalked in cyperspace
The internet and other telecommunication technologies rapidly pervade every remote corner of our economy and culture, politics and leisure, and in our private lives. The internet is an attractive medium, which can, in principle, facilitate and accelerate all our interpersonal relations, and even add new qualities to them. But just like other revolutionary technologies the internet doesn't only offer an enormous potential for progression, but also for improper use and abuse. The medium that can help us to engage in or maintain personal or intimate relations can also be abused to harass people, to threaten and torture them with sexual harassment. The internet has created a new type of criminality: cyberstalking.
|Stalking = constant harassment The English verb 'to stalk' originally meant 'creep up on', 'pursue'. At present it is also used for constantly harassing someone with visits, phone calls, letters, e-mails, etc. By now the word stalking has also been included in sign-language.|
Cyberstalking is a serious problem. Because more people are going to make use of the internet and other telecommunication technologies, it is expected that cyberstalking will increase in scope and complexity. In order to trace the peculiarities of cyberstalking, we will start by mapping conventional ('offline') stalking first.
What is Cyberstalking?
There is no such thing as a universally accepted definition of cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is the repeatedly harassing or threatening of an individual via the internet or other electronic means of communication. A cyberstalker is someone with amorous and/or sexual motives who constantly harasses someone else electronically: via the bulletin board, chat box, e-mail, spam, fax, buzzer or voice-mail. Stalking generally involves the constant harassment or threatening of someone else: following a person, appearing at someone's house or workplace, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing someone's property. Because the stalking activities are so diverse and have to be seen in their connection it is difficult to give a precise description of stalking [Royakkers 2000:3].
In the next table the defining characteristics of stalking have been summarized:
Deliberately and consistently
harassment or intimidation of
Invasion in physical or symbolic privacy.
Undesired proximity (physical, visual or virtual).
Undesired communication (face-to-face or mediated).
Threats (explicit or implicit; verbal or written).
Or a combination thereof.
Slur of (feeling of) safety.
|Stalking as a process In the case of stalking harassing someone else is no incident but a continuous process. Contrary to other offences that usually consist of an illegal act, stalking consists of a series of actions, which in themselves can be legal, such as phoning, sending flowers or e-mails [Baas 1998]. "Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom he has no relationship (or no longer has), with motives that are directly or indirectly traceable to the affective sphere. Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect)" [Royakkers 2000:7].|
In the following definition of A.P. de Boer [Zwartboek] the specific characteristics of stalking are brought together: "The long-term repetitively stickily querulously parasitical besieging of the victim, under the guise of admiration or courtship, but with the barely veiled intention to torment the victim mentally".
Given the lack of clarity of the clinical definition of stalking it is not surprising that a legal or operational definition of stalking is controversial as well. In most legislation with regard to stalking it is demanded that the offender utters a 'credible threat' towards the victim. Sometimes it is even required that direct family-members of the victim have to be threatened. There are also laws in which stalking is defined less restrictively and which only require that the offender's behavior leads to an implicit threat. They reckon with the fact that stalking often only or in the first place has a psychological character: the stalker harasses his or her victim to harm him or her psychologically.
In case of the criminal prosecution of stalkers it is often difficult to make a reasonable case for a 'credible' threat. Stalkers often don't threaten their victims openly or personally. More likely they show behavior that causes fear of violence in the specific context. In case of cyberstalking it is even more difficult to make a reasonable case for a 'credible threat', because the stalker is often unknown to the victim and usually operates from a great distance.
Behavior can be annoying or threatening but it isn't covered by legislation. Yet, such behavior can be a foreplay to stalking and violence or threat of violence and should therefore be treated seriously. Every year 60 to 70 women die in the Netherlands after having been stalked by their ex-husband or ex-partner. "The perpetrator wants to play the leading part in the lives of the victim and her relatives. If that doesn't work out, he wants the ultimate part: killing his victim" [Jack Kantelberg, Stop Stalking].
Sound legislation forbids behavior that places someone in a position in which fear of death or physical injury is a reasonable possibility. Only for some years now stalking has been described as a separate phenomenon in criminology, and in most countries stalking is not treated as a separate offence by the police and judiciary [Baas 1998]. However, the phenomenon stalking has become more and more a subject of interest in the last years.
Peculiarities of Cyberstalking
Online stalking and intimidation can take the most diverse shapes, but shares important characteristics with offline stalking:
Celebrity Stalking Special versions of the psychotic stalkers are the erotomaniac stalkers. Mostly they are women who believe that their object of desire is in love with them. An example of this: fanatical fans of sports heroes, pop singers and other media stars. Therefore they are called 'celebrity stalkers'.
- Many online or offline stalkers are motivated by a psychopathic or psychotic desire to have control over their victims and display obsessive behavior to reach this goal. Psychopathic stalkers
suffer from a personality flaw but are conscious of the problematic character of their behavior. Psychotic stalkers, on the contrary, are not conscious of their behavior. They suffer from a
psychological disorder and image that the victims are their partners [Kienlen a.o. 1997; Skoler 1998; Mullen a.o. 1999; Kamphuis/Emmelkamp 2000]. On the pretext of: "She loves me, only she
doesn't know it yet".
- The majority of the stalkers are men and the majority of their victims are women. But there are also cases of women stalking men.
- In many cases the stalker and the victim used to have a relationship: stalking begins when the victim tries to break off the relationship. However, there are also many cases of stalking by strangers.
Due to the enormous quantity of personal information available on the internet, the cyberstalker can easily locate private information on a potential victim.
Since cyberstalking implies no physical contact the misconception may arise that it is not as bad as physical stalking. This definitely isn't always the case.
As the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our personal and professional lives, stalkers can take advantage
of the ease of communication and of the grown access to personal information.
The ease of use and non-confronting, impersonal and sometimes anonymous character of internet communication can remove or
lower barriers for cyberstalking.
Potential stalkers are often unwilling to or incapable of approaching their victim personally or by phone, but hesitate
less to harass their victim via electronic communications.
- Just like in the case of physical stalking, online harassment and intimidation are often a prelude to more serious aggressive behavior, including physical violence.
|Stalkers are usually motivated by a desire to control the victim.||Local stalking usually requires the stalker and the victim to be localized in the same geographical area; cyberstalkers can be localized anywhere (on the other side of the street, town, country or world).|
|The majority of the cases concern stalking by former intimate friends, although there are unknown stalkers in the local and virtual world. .||Electronic communication makes it much more easy for cyberstalkers to encourage a third party to harass and/or threaten a victim.|
|Most victims are women; most stalkers are men.||Electronic communication lowers the barriers for stalking and threats; a cyberstalker can evade a physical confrontation with his victim.|
There are many similarities between offline and online stalking. Internet and other communication technologies, however, offer new possibilities for stalkers to pursue their victims. It is an existing problem, aggravated by new technology.
A cyberstalker can repeatedly send threatening and intimidating messages by the simple click on a button. Some cyberstalkers use special programmes to send messages at set or random moments without being physically present at the computer. A cyberstalker can get other internet users to do his dirty work for him and harass or threaten a victim by making use of a discussion forum, bulletin board or chat room. For example by placing controversial or tempting messages with the name, phone number or e-mail address of the victim. This results in messages being sent to the victim. Every message —of the actual cyberstalker or others— will have the intended effect on the victim, but the cyberstalker's efforts are minimal. Besides, the lack of direct contact between the cyberstalker and the victim makes it more difficult for the judiciary and police to identify the stalker, and to localize and arrest him.
The anonymity of the internet offers new chances for would-be cyberstalkers. The true identity of a cyberstalker can be hidden by using different providers or by adopting various screen names. More experienced stalkers use anonymous remailers or anonymizers that make it nearly impossible to trace the true identity of the source of an e-mail or other electronic communication.
Anonymity places the cyberstalker in an advantageous position. Being unknown to the target, the stalker can be in another country, province, around the corner of the street or in the next workstation. The perpetrator can be a former friend or lover, a complete stranger met in a chat room, or a teenager who wants to play a joke. The victim feels powerless because it is often impossible to identify the source of the threat. The veil of anonymity can encourage the perpetrator to continue his stalking. Knowing that their identity is unknown, offenders are often more inclined to pursue the victim at work or at home. And the internet offers substantial information that is needed to do so. Several websites offer personal information, including non-registered phone numbers and detailed information on home and office addresses. Other websites offer (against payment) social security numbers, financial data and other personal information.
The Ip Numbers and how you can decode fakers
In this description of a particular case of stalkering, which gave us the opportunity for talkin about the way Internet can be deceitful, and dangerous, we have come across to the concept of IP addresses and numbers.
The IP address is the most popular open-system protocol used to communicate across any stes of interconnected networks including Local Area Networks (LAN) or Wide Area Networks (WAN).
An IP (Internet Protocol) is an identification number assigned to a device (e.g. a computer or a printer) in any of those two networks.
The IP number identifies a user as long as the IP doesn't get encoded, or has a "non fixed" form (which is my own case: I paid for a PROVIDER which uses a no stable IP number, to protect my devices. Furtherly, I generally use 4 personal different computers, which increases the way my own IP is mobile).
IP numbers may be LOCATED through a various available services.
This is why isn't good for the privacy to share it.
Although the locators might be not completely spot on, the fact is the UNIQUENESS of the IP number gives the assurance the identity of a writer is THE ONE OF ANOTHER writer once their IP numbers are the same.
Technically, it means JUST that the machine from where a person writes is THE SAME.
But it goes fairly unobjectionably to say if somebody claims for instance to be writing from New York, or Lousiana, and the IP shows the address locator based in Minnesota, and moreover that locator in ALL THE THREE case shows the SAME IP number, then that person claiming fake identities is a LIAR, a Faker, and as it was proven in Psycho's case in this pages, very likely is a diseased mind with compulsions that borderline the stalkering patterns.
Or who is COMPLETELY fitting into it, actually.
There are very numerous ways to decode Ip numbers, way out those I displayed for underlining Pyscho's lies.
It's good for all internet people to learn about IP and the ways to decode them (and also it's extremely useful to learn about, and buy, all the softwares and devices that HIDE your IP numbers, so that cyberstalkers won't have ways to access your datas), and I will be happy to provide further resources on the matter upon requests.
Please, again refers to contact page for that as well.