Cyberstalking:the technology of hate

Bocij, Paul and McFarlane, Leroy (2003). Cyberstalking:the technology of hate. The Police Journal, 76 (3), pp. 204-221.

Abstract

This article discusses the emergence of cyberstalking as a means of victimising individuals and minority groups. However, rather than focusing on the activities of far-right groups, we discuss how technology can encourage individuals to harass others. The central argument made is that technology both enables and invites participation in criminal or antisocial behaviour from individuals who would not normally take part in such activities. One way in which this can be explained is by suggesting that some of the social and technological characteristics of the Internet act together in order to lower inhibitions and establish new norms. For instance, the anonymity offered by the Internet enables people to participate in activities such as encouraging violence against others with little fear of retaliation. In addition, by allowing a cyberstalker to harm another person at a distance, the victim is effectively depersonalised. In this way it can be argued that some of those who sympathise with the goals of far-right organisations may be reluctant to act in the offline world but more willing to act in the online world.

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