Can Law Enforcement Officers Handle Cyber-Stalking?


The Washington Post takes readers into the world of cyber-stalking, the illegal monitoring of private information and communication of ex-lovers and spouses as a form of domestic violence. The spurned may use global positioning systems, invasive computer programs, cellphone monitoring chips, and tiny cameras to follow the whereabouts, goings-on, and personal communications of unsuspecting victims.

Stalkers with little more than cursory computer knowledge have been able to track the e-mail and Web activity of current or recently divorced spouses. “What’s so disturbing for many victims is that they can be harassed or followed from anywhere,” said Susan Folwell of the Women’s Center, a counseling and resource center in Vienna, Va. Evidence is difficult to gather, so police officials often don’t feel they have enough to win a prosecution. “It seems like these stalkers are a step ahead of us,” said Amy Santiago of the Alexandria, Va., police domestic violence unit, which has investigated about a dozen cases. “We’re trying to keep up with it, but it seems like every day things are changing.”


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