Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FACEBOOK BAN ON CYBER STALKERS; PROSECUTORS TO LAUNCH CRACKDOWN ON THE INTERNET MENACES; COURT ORDERS TO STOP TARGETING OF VICTIMS ON SOCIAL NETWORK SITES; Stalkers Face Email and Text Ban

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

FACEBOOK BAN ON CYBER STALKERS; PROSECUTORS TO LAUNCH CRACKDOWN ON THE INTERNET MENACES; COURT ORDERS TO STOP TARGETING OF VICTIMS ON SOCIAL NETWORK SITES; Stalkers Face Email and Text Ban

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor

STALKERS could be barred from using Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites in a crackdown by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Prosecutors will be told to apply for court orders banning stalkers from targeting victims via the internet. The purge will also tackle those who use texts, emails and phones to hound others.

The move follows concerns that the rise of Facebook, tweeting and other new forms of communication have made it easier to stalk people. Up to two million victims across the country are thought to have been targeted.

Nazir Afzal, the CPS director responsible for stalking and harassment cases, said today: "Lives are being ripped apart by stalking and it is a problem we are determined to address.

"Online stalking is part of the problem, through Facebook, YouTube and other sites. So we will be seeking to use the Malicious Communications Act to bring charges or obtain restraining orders that will stop people going online."

Prosecutors will also be told to bring charges wherever possible.

The guidelines say that restraining orders, which set tight conditions on a perpetrator's conduct, are an important way of tackling the problem. Court orders could be issued telling stalkers "not to display any material relating to the victim on social networking sites including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter".

Separate orders could instruct perpetrators "not to telephone, fax, communicate by letter, electronic mail or internet with the victim".

The guidance states that stalking involves a "long-term pattern of persistent and repeated contact, or attempts to contact, a victim" and involves either the physical pursuit of a target or other forms of hounding.

These include "indirect contact through friends, work colleagues, family or technology" as well as "other intrusions into a victim's privacy". …

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