Thwarting the Stalker

Are Anti-Stalking Measures Keeping Pace with Today’s Stalker?

This note examines the ways in which stalkers can utilize technology, not only to pursue their victim, but also to evade the law. Although stalking behavior is prevalent throughout history, the Internet provides a new way in which to access the personal lives of potential victims. The author argues that the law must be vigilant in finding appropriate remedies for victims of the technologically savvy stalker. Beginning with an historical overview of stalking, the author details the various types of stalkers and their typical behavior. Not only has traditional stalking been on the rise, so too has electronic stalking. The early 1990s saw the first state anti-stalking statutes and a federal initiative for the creation of a model anti-stalking law. Despite the advances in legislation, the enacted legislation fails to keep pace with technology. Meanwhile, technological innovations threaten to increase the occurrence and intensity of stalking. The author proposes collaboration amongst federal, state, and local officials to outthink today’s stalker. First, law enforcement officials must become familiar with the remedies already available to victims of stalking and create cyber-crime task forces. States should review their existing anti-stalking legislation to determine whether the statute addresses cyberstalking and amend laws that do not. Communities can also utilize emerging technology to target specific stalkers as well as stalking behavior in general. Finally, the public must be made aware of cyberstalking, its dangers, and the means to protect themselves and their communities.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.