State’s cyberstalking law declared unconstitutional

By Cole Lauterbach 
Illinois News Network

An Illinois appellate court ruled last month that Illinois’ 2008 law on online harassment, or cyberstalking, violates free speech and due process rights. The ruling involves a conviction of a man for harassing a radio station employee in Chicago.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, says the bill she co-sponsored addresses a very common type of harassment.

“The purpose of this bill was to bring Illinois into the 21st century and start addressing some of these issues,” she said. “It’s very easy, with modern technology, to go after someone electronically.”

Holmes said the General Assembly should pass new legislation soon. “It’s a very real, modern-day problem. If we don’t address it in veto session, let’s make sure we address it as soon as we’re back in session,” she said.

“Let’s not wait for too much criminal activity and someone actually getting hurt before we go ahead and try to address this.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 3.3 million people reported being stalked in the United States in a calendar year. About 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail or instant messaging.

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