Winger Working to Increase Protections Against Cyberstalking

State Representative Christine Winger passed a consumer protection bill this week in the House. HB3251 aims to prevent cyberstalking, or the electronic monitoring of an individual using spyware or electronic tracking software. 

This offense is committed when a person knowingly installs, conceals, or otherwise places electronic tracking software on an electronic device without the consent of the owner for the purpose of monitoring and following the user.

Current law does not mention this type of electronic tracking or monitoring under the existing criminal offense of cyberstalking. HB3251 extends current law to include the offense, a first violation of which would be declared a Class 4 felony and a second or subsequent conviction is a Class 3 felony.

Thousands of cases of cyberstalking are reported to local police departments each year, with women being the victim in the majority of these cases. Rep. Winger believes this legislation is necessary to protect every citizens’ privacy and safety. When spyware or tracking software is installed, it often is done so for the purpose of harassment or stalking. Winger believes the extension of this bill will specifically help protect victims of domestic violence who are trying to conceal their locations from their abusers.

“With the increase in technology and countless software systems available at our fingertips, we need to increase security and protections in response,” said Winger. “A person should not have to worry about their safety, and this will help provide some assurances. This bill will help prevent any malicious tracking and harassment that unfortunately has become all too common in today’s world.”

HB2351 moves onto the Senate where it will continue to proceed through the legislative process.

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