Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, group, or organization.
The Internet is the global system of interconnected computer networks that use the Internet protocol suite to link billions of devices worldwide.
Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature.
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It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel.
Defamation — also calumny, vilification, and traducement — is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.
False accusations can be in any of the following contexts:
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It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten, embarrass or harass.
Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else's identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person's name, and perhaps to the other person's disadvantage or loss.
A threat is a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person.
Cyberstalking is often accompanied by realtime or offline stalking.
In many jurisdictions, such as California, both are criminal offenses.
California is the most populous state in the United States and the third most extensive by area.
Both are motivated by a desire to control, intimidate or influence a victim.
A stalker may be an online stranger or a person whom the target knows.
He may be anonymous and solicit involvement of other people online who do not even know the target.
Cyberstalking is a criminal offense under various state anti-stalking, slander and harassment laws.
A conviction can result in a restraining order, probation, or criminal penalties against the assailant, including jail.