Cyberstalking in the context of intimate relationships: Who’s monitoring the monitors?
Technology and Domestic and Family Violence: Victimisation, Perpetration and Responses
Taylor & Francis
School of Science
Electronic or internet-capable devices are used to harass victims of cyberstalking and their daily routines can be monitored with tracking software, listening devices, ‘stalker apps’, global positioning systems (GPS), and so forth. This chapter draws on case analyses to examine the extent of the use of cyberstalking monitoring devices (CMD) reported in criminal prosecutions of stalking. Data are presented from reported cases and judges’ sentencing remarks of stalking behaviour from two Australian jurisdictions. The chapter focuses on how cyberstalkers can covertly monitor intimate partners with very little risk of detection. Law enforcement monitoring devices (LEMD) are also relevant in this context and have a wide range of applications for policing. For example, GPS-based LEMD can be set with ‘no-go zones’ and offenders can be monitored in real time for crime prevention purposes. It is argued, however, that real-time monitoring of family violence offenders with GPS ankle bracelets focuses primarily on physical location and fails to account for the targeting of victims by the misuse of CMD. Preventative tools need to be developed to ensure that ‘no-go zones’ online are monitored by law enforcement personnel just as the offline zones are. Areas for future research and ethical implications are discussed.