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How to deal with online stalking


“He was constantly after me on Facebook – ‘Can we have dinner? Can we get together?’ I said, ‘Please, don’t send me any more messages!’ – but that only made him angry. He started writing about me on (gossip site) 2-Channel, using my real name and occupation.”

Thus Josei Jishin (Jan 17-24) introduces the proliferating plague of online stalking. Facebook, Line and social networking sites in general are, for most people, means of innocent communication among friends and acquaintances – “I did this today, I’m doing that tomorrow.” You post photos of yourself, imagining people you like sharing your enjoyment. But not everyone out there is likeable, and some, unknown to you and for reasons unknown, can be downright hostile – or, perversely, in love with you. Maybe you’ve met them, maybe you haven’t. Anyway, however it may have come about, they’re after you, a clinging nuisance if not downright dangerous, as the stabbing last May of an idol singer by a fan reminds us they can be.

A toughening of anti-stalking laws in December is a welcome if belated sign that the government is starting to take the issue seriously. The definition of stalking was broadened to include online harassment, and penalties doubled (to a maximum fine of 1 million yen or a year’s imprisonment).

Online social networking connects everyone. You post with your friends in mind, but not everyone is friendly. Some are too friendly. Most providers offer blocking mechanisms of varying degrees of efficacy, but blocked stalkers can turn ugly, experts warn. What to do? asks Josei Jishin of people qualified to give advice.

The first step, predictably enough, is fine-tuning the privacy settings and reviewing them regularly. But that’s only a beginning.

Photos can be a giveaway, revealing not only your appearance but your whereabouts. Are there any identifiable buildings in the background? Just what a stalker needs to track you down. Likewise, posts like “Lately I’ve been hanging out at the Such-and-Such Cafe. Moreover, if your smartphone’s GPS device is on when you snap your selfie, your location is recorded. Who’s noticing? You never know.

Suppose someone is annoying you and you want him/ her out of your life. Tip number one, from journalist Mayuko Watanabe, who specializes in online literacy, concerns what not to do: reply. Say nothing, she advises; show the person no sign of life whatever, because any sign you do show, however discouraging in intent (as in the example cited above), can be taken for encouragement (“she really likes me, she just wants me to try a little harder”). Blocking, says Watanabe, risks stiffening persistence and worse. “After that,” says the woman who to her dismay found herself being talked about on 2-Channel, “I blocked him. He sent messages to all my friends: ‘I know her, I want to get in touch with her.’”

We don’t learn what, if anything, happened next. But once things reach that point, it’s probably best to contact police, says Watanabe. The December law revisions give them added powers to require providers to deny access to abusers.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Title is misleading....not a whole lot of "help" there. Want to avoid stalkers online? Easy, get offline for a while, use common sense, and quit thinking that everyone in the world "loves" you, and most importantly, lose the "heiwa boke" mentality!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

There are certain things users can do, most importantly blocking anyone who harasses them. But ultimately this comes down to law enforcement. No constitution has been written to enshrine freedom of the Internet because most nations' constitutions were written before the Internet existed. But we nonetheless implicitly accept that our other freedoms naturally extend to online behavior, not making a distinction between free speech offline and free speech online. However, most countries' legislatures and LEOs have not extended that same equality of modality from offline wrongdoing to online wrongdoing. We have to accept that a harm done online doesn't magically cease to be a harm just because it's online. The online world should be legally identical to the offline world. That means if it would be criminal harassment to spread personal information about you to thousands of strangers with an implicit invitation for them to harass or threaten you, it should be criminal harassment if I do it online.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Moreover, if your smartphone’s GPS device is on when you snap your selfie, your location is recorded.

This is true, but the bigger social networking sites strip out this metadata when you post your pictures.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Had a mild stalker a few yrs ago. She worked in the same building and started sexually harassing me in person, via email, over the phone at work and home, then she showed up at my home for a booty-call. All unwanted. She had reviewed all my social data online.

I printed out the corporate policy on sexual harassment and had multple (5+) chats with her. I was clear that I considered her advances as sexual harassment and she needed to stop. She did not.

After about a month total time and multiple attempts to get her to stop, I spoke with her direct manager and provided the 50+ emails and accounts of her phone calls and showing up at the house. She was moved to a different floor and kept contacting me. Next, she was moved to a different building. That got her to stop. After 6 months, I heard she was fired.

Since then, I only share general information online. I never post where I am or where I will be. It is only AFTER returning home that I post anything about travel.

Never trust posting anything personal online. Those filters for public/private are just a tiny bit in a database. It is easy for a tiny mistake to release private data to the public. Plus, if it is online and some of your friends can see it, they may assume everyone can and forward it where you never intended. Best to keep anything that needs to be private off the internet. That includes email, tweets, and any social sites. Don't over share like Wiggy107 http://www.csoonline.com/article/2124038/identity-access/the-final-5-tweets-of-harold-wigginbottom--tech-savvy-ceo.html he was kidnapped and held for ransom. And Google upper management doesn't use their own social network: http://mashable.com/2011/10/04/google-needs-to-use-google-plus/ there's an interesting graphic about 2 pgs down. Why is that?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Thanks for the deep article.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Reckless - in a committed relationship. Wasn't even tempted.

Don't put stuff on the internet you don't intend to be public FOR EVERYONE. It really is that simple. Do not trust those social networks to keep you secrets. They won't.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why would anyone have faith in a social app? I've never really understood that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let's call a spade a spade. If you decide to use facebook or line, you should be prepared to have your privacy comprised. Sure, you may get stalkers who pursue you aggressively but as far as I'm concerned it comes with the territory. I personally find line to be a necessity, to enable me to quickly and cheaply contact my friends. Folks like theFu can talk about being pursued by a stalker, if she was cute then all power to him, if not then any man would want to run away. Bottom line, don't use such apps if you can't handle it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

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