Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking involves the use of electronic communications to harass an individual or group and cause them to have a reasonable fear for their safety. 

From the Canadian Clearinghouse on Cyberstalking: 

In Canada, Cyberstalking is defined as a pattern of harassment  by electronic means which causes a person to have a reasonable fear for their life or safety of person. As the use of the Internet for everyday communications and social networking has increased, so too have the incidents of criminal harassment through the Internet (Canadian Clearinghouse on Cyberstalking, 2013). 

Examples of Cyberstalking

Adapted from the Canadian Clearinghouse on Cyberstalking:

  • Sending a constant stream of emails or instant messages to you, or your  friends,  fellow students, colleagues, or family members;
  • Posting inappropriate comments or make false accusations on your social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter;
  • Hacking your electronic accounts;
  • Installing malicious software (malware) to compromise your computer or to secretly record personal information

Additional examples can be found at the Canadian Clearinghouse on Cyberstalking Fact Sheet on Cyberstalking .

Criminal Harassment

Canada does not have a specific criminal law dealing with Cyberstalking. However, there are provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada that can be used. From the Canadian Clearinghouse on Cyberstalking:

In Canada, there is no specific Cyberstalking legislation.  Cases are prosecuted under section 264 of theCriminal Code (s. 264):

Criminal Harassment

264. (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

Prohibited conduct

(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of:

(a) repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;

(b) repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

(c) besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or

(d) engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.”

Punishment:

The offence is a hybrid offence, so it can be prosecuted as either a summary conviction or an indictable offence.  The maximum jail time, if an offender is convicted is ten years.

Other Charges:

In some Cyberstalking situations, criminal harassment charges may result, but charges may also or alternatively be laid under:

S. 326 (theft of telecommunication service)

S. 327 (possession of device to obtain telecommunication facility or      service), 

S. 342.1 (unauthorized use of a computer),

S. 342.2 (possession of device to obtain computer service), and/or

S. 430(1.1) (mischief in relation to data).

Reporting Cyberstalking

If you or someone you know at UNB is experiencing Cyberstalking, immediately contact your campus security office. They will engage UNB IT Security to assist in their investigation and can also escalate situations to the local policing authorities. 

Protecting yourself from cyberstalking

  • Set your privacy options on all of your social media sites
  • Refrain from talking about your day to day activities or locations on social media
  • Choose strong passwords for online services and set passcodes or passwords on all your computing devices
  • Be careful about downloading and installing software
  • Additional tips are available from the Canadian Clearinghouse on Cyber Stalking.