Social media and other forms of online communication can be useful tools, but like any tool, they can be as harmful with misuse as they can be helpful when utilized correctly. It is not always possible for New York residents like you to keep your online communication positive, but we at the law offices of Neil S. Ruskin caution you that some negative interactions you have with others through the internet can cross the line into criminal behavior if they are persistent or come across as threatening.
According to FindLaw, the definition of online harassment can be fuzzy, but it basically consists of a pattern of behavior that causes someone to fear for his or her safety. Two of the most common types of harassment that occur online are cyberbullying and cyberstalking. The former involves intimidating someone via online communication, while the involves using the internet to track someone’s movements in a way that represents a violation of their privacy. Another form of online harassment is hacking into someone else’s online accounts for the purpose of identity theft. This includes accessing accounts to post content intended to hurt an individual’s reputation.
It may be easy to let these behaviors escalate until they are out of your control. However, a joke that goes too far may cause individuals or family members to become frightened enough to involve the police. If that happens, it can spell big trouble for you, even if you meant no harm by it. More information about criminal defense as it relates to charges of cybercrime is available on our website.