New app means bad news for online stalkers

Philip Mason tells the story of a recently developed app enabling victims of ‘virtual’ harassment to upload evidence straight to the police

As anyone who has kept an eye on the news in the past few years will know, there has been a massive recent increase in cases of the law being broken in the online space – a phenomenon otherwise known as cybercrime.

While this hasn’t, unfortunately, also signalled a corresponding fall in the number of incidents taking place outside of the virtual realm, it has nonetheless required that the police start to redefine the very notion of crime itself, and ‘volume crime’ in particular. Hence – without wanting to state the blindingly obvious – the bringing into existence of the National Cyber Crime Unit, as operated by the National Crime Agency (NCA). Hence too observations such as those made in last year’s NCA National and Strategic Assessment of Serious and Organised Crime that “UK cybercrime continues to rise in scale and complexity”.

When it comes to cybercrime, the focus of attention is invariably, and probably quite rightly, that which takes place in the economic space. The perpetration of fraud is by no means the only way to make life a misery online, however, with the anonymity afforded by social media apps, private messaging platforms and so on facilitating wholly new ways to violate someone’s personal life without criminals even having to leave the house.

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