Nowadays, many people are more dependent than ever on electronic communications. If you are among them, a time may come when you fear you have said or posted something you should not have, or otherwise gone too far in your online communications. Maybe you went through a bad breakup, and you find yourself lashing out online as you struggle to adjust to life on your own, or maybe you and a friend had a falling out, and you are dealing with the aftermath through electronic channels.
Given the many variables involved in cyberstalking cases, determining exactly what does and does not constitute cyberstalking can be difficult. Even if your intent was not to stalk or harass someone through electronic means, you may still have done so in the eyes of the law. Therefore, it is important to understand Wisconsin’s unique laws in regard to cyberstalking. The Wisconsin State Legislature is the governing body responsible for determining what constitutes an unlawful use of computerized communication systems.
Essentially, internet stalking, or cyberstalking, refers to the act of communicating with someone via electronic channels with the intent to frighten, intimidate, threaten, abuse or harass that individual. It can occur through email or another form of electronic communication, and it may also include sending or delivering electronic communications and messages that can be construed as lewd, profane or obscene in nature. If you take any of the above actions and attempt to conceal your own identity in doing so, this, too, may constitute cyberstalking, and your actions may lead to a Class B misdemeanor charge.
Additional potential criminal acts
You may also find yourself facing a cyberstalking charge in Wisconsin if you knowingly allow someone else to frighten, intimidate, threaten, abuse or harass someone else through your own computer or electronic channel. This has the potential to hold true even if you do not directly engage in the harassing or threatening behavior yourself.
Cyberstalking can have serious repercussions, and many of the laws surrounding it are unclear. This can mean trouble for you, because it means you may face accusations of cyberstalking even if your intent was something entirely different.