201410.24
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Cyberstalking Is A Serious Offense

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In today’s modern world, it seems as though no one can make it through the day without their cell phones, computers, iPads, and other electronic devices.  We literally have the world at our fingertips. With a quick push of a button we can communicate with anyone at any given time. The problem is that immediate access can be too much for people to handle.  It’s too easy to say something on a whim that can expose you to legal liability.  Social sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allow us to message hundreds, even thousands, of people at once. We have email and text messaging for instant communication. When used properly, these tools can be wonderful ways to network, work and socialize.  However, there is a dark side to all this instant access when it’s used for unlawful purposes. 

Have you ever said anything bad about an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend online in the heat of the moment?  Maybe said some mean stuff about your BFF after a nasty argument?  Be very careful of what you say and do online.  What may seem to you like harmless revenge may actually land you in jail for a long time.

Florida has many anti-bullying laws and policies to prevent stalking, harassment and cyberstalking.  Cyberstalking is the use of the internet, email or other electric forms of communication to stalk or harass someone, generally in a malicious and threatening way.  The crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the nature and seriousness of the act(s).  For example, you can be arrested for things like stalking, criminal mischief, extortion, and assault.

If you repeatedly follow, harass or cyberstalk someone, you may quickly find yourself the subject of an arrest warrant.  It is definitely not worth the embarrassment, cost and possible incarceration to engage is this type of behavior.  And don’t think that just because you deleted something that it’s gone.  The government has ways of getting all that information – you can’t outsmart the online world, no matter how internet savvy you are. Everything online can be traced back to you and even deleted data can be retrieved.  The benefit of online access comes with a heightened level of responsibility.  Protect yourself:  it’s better to stop and think twice before doing something that you will regret later.

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