In Part 1 I made the case that being prudent is not the same as bonafide stalking. In Part II I will discuss when the line is crossed into the realm of true creeper stalking. Tomorrow we will conclude the series with real-life examples.
We all use the term “stalking” loosely in day-to-day conversation. I know when my friends and family use cool location sharing apps, namely Glympse and Device Locator, we will figuratively refer to it as stalking each other. Likewise, everyone will say they are stalking on Facebook, when in reality using Facebook exactly as it is designed to be used is not stalking.
When is the line crossed from mere due diligence into the realm of stalking? Here are some LITMUS TEST QUESTIONS:
Are you viewing private information not available to the public at large? Example:Viewing a Linked-In profile available to public is perfectly fine. Reading private emails after hacking their private email account is not okay.
Have you been dumped? Doing homework to see if you might be interested in someone new is totally different than monitoring the movements of an EX. Especially an EX that is trying to move on with his or her life and wants you to move on with yours.
Would a Reasonable Person be Creeped Out? A reasonable person is not defined as your grandparents who are not up on the ways of the internet. A reasonable person is one who understands the difference between public information and private information.
Do you have a legitimate use for the information? Are you really doing homework to learn about them, or are you obsessing over him when you are in fact not part of their lives? (Or no longer part of their lives?)
Are you gaining the information under false pretenses?
- Example of Legitimate Inquiry: “Hey Kim, I met this guy John S. and I’m interested in him. I noticed on FB that you are mutual friends. Do you think I should text him?”
- Example of false pretenses inquiry: “Hey Kim, it is a long story, but I noticed that you are friends with John S. I need his phone number to ask him an important business question”.
Does the person want you looking at his or her stuff? If they have asked you to leave them alone and you are still looking up information on them, you are probably close to crossing the line.
Are you keeping a shit file on them? Are you looking up information because you are hoping to dig up dirt on them? If so, revenge might be your subconscious motive. It seems not having legitimate reason to be vengeful only makes people angrier, therefore they keep digging and doing mental gymnastics until they find one.
Tomorrow the Cyberstalking Series will conclude by looking at examples of how these litmus test questions apply to real situations.