Harassment by computer is a crime in several U.S. states (see computer crime). It is distinct from stalking in that stalking typically requires two or more contacts, whereas harassment by computer may be a single incident. It is also different from regular harassment, because the offense typically encompasses a range of crimes that would not be considered harassment if conducted in person.
Connecticut was the first state to pass a statute making it a criminal offense to harass someone by computer. Michigan, Arizona, and Virginia have also passed laws banning harassment by electronic means
Harassment by computer statutes are typically distinct from cyberbullying laws, in that the former usually relate to a person's "use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act," while the latter need not involve anything of a sexual nature.
- State Computer Harassment or "Cyberstalking" Laws, National Conference of State Legislatures.
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- "Section 18.2-152.7:1". Code of Virginia. Legislative Information System of Virginia. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-152.7C1. Retrieved 2008-11-27.
- Bahrampour, Tara: Student, 13, Charged in Washington-Lee Scare, The Washington Post, May 27, 2005.
- Code of Virginia, § 18.2-152.7:1. Harassment by computer; penalty.
- Code of Virginia, § 18.2-416. Punishment for using abusive language to another.
- Code of Virginia, § 18.2-427. Use of profane, threatening or indecent language over public airways.
- Coffee, Gordon A. and Klein, Charles B.: Combating Cyber-Torts: Protections and Pitfalls of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, Virginia Bar Association News Journal, Jan. 2003.
- Man Gets Two Years for Pretending to Be Ex-Wife Online, Associated Press, 2004.
- Rabinovitz, Jonathan: In Connecticut,harassment by computer is now a crime, New York Times, June 13, 1995. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. http://www.nerac.com/family/NeracReports/Cybercrimes_CT.htm. Retrieved 2005-05-30.