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5 ways to tackle cyberstalkers & blog trolls

The essential guide to staying safe online

Later, Tim was hit at a more personal level when another group of people set up a blog aimed at mocking and attacking prominent members of the hobby community, including himself. Some of the material included photographs depicting their targets being violated, he says. One individual was able to force the bloggers to remove the images, using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the same law that helped Silverstein force the removal of the offensive images from the blog harassing him. Despite that victory, however, the bloggers continue, "and they used the DMCA notices as a way to further malign [the victim] in public," Tim says.

Cyberstalkers

Cyberstalkers can also assume many different forms, according to Wood, although they're basically characterised by a continuing pattern of communication that the recipient considers to be offensive. Other common traits of cyberstalkers are malice, premeditation, repetition, distress to the victim, an obsession on the part of the stalker, seeking of revenge, threats that make victims fear for their physical safety and disregarded warnings to stop.

As with trolls, there are several different types of cyberstalkers, according to Wood:

1. Intimate partner: The most common type of stalker, this is usually a man who has a history of controlling and emotional abuse during a relationship.

2. Delusional stalkers: This type of stalker builds an entire relationship with the victim in his or her mind, whether any prior contact has taken place or not. Such stalkers are likely to have a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or erotomania, which means they believe the victim is in love with them. The typical delusional stalker is unmarried, socially immature and a loner who is unable to sustain close relationships with others.

3. Vengeful stalker. This type of person is angry with the victim due to some real or imagined insult or injury. Some of these stalkers are psychopaths - a person affected with an antisocial personality disorder - who have no conscience or remorse. They may have paranoid delusions, often feeling that they themselves are victims and are striving to get even.


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