NYT on cyberstalkers
A frightening article from the Times:
“Mr. Valentine, of Lake Grove, accessed the woman’s personal profile on the dating site Match.com, sending electronic “winks” and other communications to 70 different men on the site. At least two showed up at the woman’s home for dates.”
The article notes that one stalking victim sought her tormenter’s identity from the dating website, but was told that they could not supply her with identifying information. This seems exactly right to me; the article quotes one expert who sums up the reason: “They can’t possibly give that out to another user . . . It might be a stalker calling to get that information.”
It’s a delicate balance. The anti-harrassment law has been criticized here and elsewhere for its overbroadness. However, there are legitimate reasons for such laws, and Im glad that such laws exist. Similarly, it must be frustrating for the victim to be stonewalled by the dating site. But the site is absolutely right — it just can’t give out user information to other users. Site administrators have no way of verifying who the victims are, and who the stalkers might be. That said, I hope that the stalking victim described in the article can — assuming her facts are verified — get a subpoena and access the information that will allow her to identify and stop her tormentor.