This Note examines online harassment and online stalking throughout the world, including the current landscape of Internet communication, the effects of cyberharassment and cyberstalking on its victims, and both the difficulties in defining these crimes in criminal codes and the difficulties in inspiring law enforcement to investigate complex internet crimes. Specifically, this Note discusses the problems inherent in current cyberharassment and cyberstalking treaties and legislation within the United States, Canada, and Australia. For example, this Note analyzes how these jurisdictions define cyberharassment and cyberstalking, how these definitions are inadequate for dealing with current forms of cyberharassment and cyberstalking (both due to inconsistencies between the definitions, as well as inherent roadblocks in proving the crimes as defined), and how the seriousness of these crimes as defined discourage law enforcement from using extensive resources to investigate these crimes. This Note then proposes a Model Statute that would amend existing U.S. federal law to consolidate definitions of cyberharassment and cyberstalking, to address existing difficulties in proving cyberharassment and cyberstalking crimes, and to address the ambivalence by law enforcement to investigate instances of cyberharassment and cyberstalking. These amendments would both empower citizens to better understand what conduct constitutes cyberharassment or cyberstalking, to more easily prove when cyberharassment and cyberstalking have or have not occurred, and to better empower law enforcement to delve into complex online investigations for cyberharassment and cyberstalking crimes.
A. M. Seralathan,
Making the Time Fit the Crime: Clearly Defining Online Harassment Crimes and Providing Incentives for Investigating Online Threats in the Digital Age,
42 Brook. J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/bjil/vol42/iss1/8