The Seven types of Cyber Abuse

Cyber Abuse Carla Franklin

Cyber Abuse is a vicious crime that occurs through digital channels

The fact that “ignorance of the law is never a defense“, doesn’t stop people from continuing to engage in online behavior that is not only unethical, but also illegal. As someone who survived and fought back against cyber stalking, I’m often invited to speak to high school and college-aged students on the topic of cyber abuse. Consistently, I find that most young people and adults who attend my talks don’t understand the full emotional and legal impact of cyber abuse. Many don’t even know all the forms that cyber abuse takes and that there are some laws on the books to protect victims from each type. Now, these laws aren’t always appropriately enforced, and most are unreasonably limited given the damage that cyber abuse does, but the laws are there nonetheless and should be used.

Typically when people discuss general online digit abuse, harassment and stalking, they use the term “cyberbullying”.

Stop cyberstalking

Stop cyberstalking

This is a misnomer.  Cyber abuse the most appropriate term to describe crimes and other legal violations that are directed at individuals and committed through digital channels including cell phone services and the internet.

Cyberbullying, like Cyberharassment and Cyberstalking, is a type of cyber abuse.  Specifically, it is cyber abuse committed by young people (age 17 and under) again young people, while Cyberharassment and Cyberstalking are commited by adults.   Cyberharassment may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass (Wikipedia).   Repeated patterns of cyber abuse against a victim by an adult constitutes cyberstalking.

Cyber abuse can though any digital means, not just online.  Victims are damaged mentally, financially and professionally to a degree that is far more severe than similar behavior done in person, by postal mail or by phone. Why? Because online and digital communication is global and available to anyone 24 hours a day. Ignoring a perpetrator’s is not always a solutions for victims, especially in cases where this is on going intention to intimidate, alarm, humiliate and irrevocably damage the victim.  Understanding the primary types of cyber abuse, and associated legal consequences, can help empower the victim and his/her loved ones to fight back appropriately and put an end to the behavior.  Below are the seven high-level forms of cyber abuse and the legal consequences associated with them.  Over the coming months, I will be blogging about the real impact of each type of cyber abuse and how victims can empower themselves.

TYPES DEFINITION LEGAL CONSEQUENCES
Cyberbullying
•Cyberbullying is digital abuse committed against young people (17 and younger), by young people
•Suspension from school and athletic teams
•Juvenile arrest
Cyberstalking/ Cyberharassment
•Cyberharassment – a form of cyberbullying committed by adults (18 and older)
•Cyberstalking – repeated acts of cyberharassment
•Civil lawsuits
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, impersonation, defamation
Phone / Caller ID spoofing
•Caller ID spoofing is the practice of causing the telephone network to display a number on the recipient’s Caller ID display that is not that of the actual originating station
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, impersonation, identity theft, fraud
Sexting
•Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages and/or photographs, primarily between mobile phones.
•Copyright infringement
•Criminal arrest for distribution of pornography, child pornography, invasion of privacy
Revenge Porn
•A form of cyber-rape that involves the distribution of sexually explicit photos and/or videos of an individual (either real or photoshopped) on the Internet without permission.
•Civil lawsuits
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, impersonation
Internet “bombing”/ bombarding
•Creation of 100s to 1000s of harassing and defamatory online postings in an effort to negatively alter a victim’s search engine results and deliberately cause mental anguish, job loss and misconceptions
•Civil lawsuits
•Criminal arrest for harassment, stalking, defamation
Digital burglary
•Illegal entry into or access of another person’s online account
•Criminal arrest for invasion of privacy, impersonation, identity theft, fraud
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Internet round table hosted by NY State Senator Eric Adams

Senator Adam (NYS Senate)On October 5, 2010, I had the honor of attending an internet round table hosted by NYS Senator Eric Adams.  Attendees included Google, Yahoo, and the Motion Picture Association.  During the discussion, we spoke about proactive (i.e. education, parental monitoring and online tools) and reactive (i.e. legislation) solutions to combat issues involving harassment, bullying and copyright infringement on the internet.

Statement from Senator Adams: “Our State is challenged by the need to analyze and keep pace with emerging issues and changing technology concerning the internet. Oftentimes, proposed legislation and enacted law lag years behind real-world developments. It is essential that government leaders, especially legislators, be cognizant of and collaborate harmoniously and efficiently with the private sector to safeguard our citizenry and our commerce….” (click here to read more)

Way to go Perez Hilton…..

Making this video took a lot of guts.   You are truly amazing for acknowledging your “wrongs” and taking the issue of cyber-bullying head on.  Yes you were mean…but like everyone, you have grown and matured.  You are and always were more man than any anonymous bully, because at least you didn’t hide behind a veil of anonymity.  You are amazing for creating this video.  You will give hope and inspiration to millions….

 

Carla Franklin’s petition of Google: Cyber-harassment, internet and legislation

I,  Carla Franklin, have been the subject of recent media regarding my petition for information of Google, Inc, regarding an ongoing matter of harassment.  This unfortunate and unwanted media buzz occurred when the August 17, 2010 petition, known as an Order to Show Cause (not a lawsuit for money) was leaked to or shown to the press without my knowledge or consent.

Several news articles have been written about my case; most  were inaccurate, relied upon limited information in the court filing and took details out of context.

The truth about me is that I am management consultant, who has been gainfully employed as a full-time consultant since receiving my undergraduate degree.

I have been dealing with ongoing obsessive and harassing behavior since 2006.  Despite ignoring phone calls, e-mails, changing my number, trying to be nice, and hoping that the obsessive behavior would stop, the behavior continued over a four-year period. Last year, things escalated online.  An anonymous YouTube account was created to make a YouTube channel or “shrine” dedicated to me, using video clips of me talking to a friend.  The personal information that was included and the obsessive, “shrine-like” nature of this You-Tube channel scared me.  Several weeks after the YouTube “shrine” was removed, another anonymous YouTube account was created and used to comment on video clips of me created by Columbia Business School.  The comment left on the clips was “whore.”

I am asking Google, Inc. for information about the person who is harassing me online because I believe it is equally as dangerous as the harassment that has occurred in person, and if I pursue legal remedies I don’t want anonymous online activities to be excluded from this person’s damaging pattern of behavior.

In summary:

  • I am not seeking money from Google/YouTube. I am following the normal, required process to seek information. Because internet harassment laws are currently non-existent, I had to pursue a civil route to gather information on my harasser.  If these activities had happened through the mail, over the phone, or in person, I could have gone directly to law enforcement to remedy the issue.  Tougher internet legislation (like the Stalker Act of 2010) needs to be passed.
  • Google/YouTube and other internet product providers have invested limited time and resources into measures that allow individuals to protect themselves from  harassment and stalking.

My case is about a pattern of online and offline abuse and the right of an individual like myself to link these two elements in a legal case.  There are laws to protect us from harassment in person.  The internet should not become a place for anonymous harassers to hide.  For more detail on the mater, please see the link below.  It references the only interview that I’ve done on this matter. —> http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6797340n

Current criminal laws protecting citizens against cyber-harassment are scant or non-existent.  Those who find themselves at the mercy of “anonymous” trolls and online bullies generally have to use civil measures of “Defamation” or “Copyright Infringement” to get information from Google, Yahoo, and other online content providers in order to pursue criminal remediation against harassers.  Legislation must be passed to protect others from the same behavior that I, Erin Andrews, and most recently Tyler Clementi had to endure.  More unnecessary tragedy and suffering will occur until the laws catch-up with the crimes of the internet.