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At its most basic legal definition, “cyber-stalking is a repeated course of conduct that’s aimed at a person designed to cause emotional distress and fear of physical harm,” said Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law.

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The law is notoriously slow to adapt to technology, but legal scholars say that if done right, the law can be used as a tool to stop this behavior.After ignoring a couple text messages from him, I told him I was busy, but kept it polite. It was a close-up shot of him masturbating for ten seconds. And most importantly, it felt like a threat.“Unwanted sexual contact online—it’s something we take seriously,” said Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found 40 percent of adult Internet users have experienced harassment online, with young women enduring particularly severe forms of it.Thirty-eight percent of women who had been harassed online reported the experience could be described as extremely or very upsetting to them.When this happens to a victim, they can take their complaint to one of the justice system’s two worlds: criminal or civil.In the civil court, victims of these kinds of cyber attacks, from stalking to revenge porn to online bullying, can sue their harassers through something called tort law, otherwise known as civil wrongs.Self-taken photos—nude or not—are owned by the photographer unless otherwise assigned, so a website displaying those photos without consent is violating copyright.

In the world of criminal law, federal cyber-stalking laws, in place since 2011, include language allowing prosecutors to go after people using electronic tools to harass.

His articulate responses drew me in, and I breathed back nerves and adrenaline with the ocean air as we continued this perfect first date.

Busy professionals, our schedules rarely overlapped so the digital flirtation commenced.

Where victims have had a modicum more success in the civil sphere, is by threatening to sue, or even actually suing, for copyright violation if a website is displaying photos that were originally taken by the victim.

Since copyright forms upon the creation of a work, generally it’s the photographer who holds the right to the image.

There, victims can claim the torts of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, harassment, and public disclosure of private fact, said Citron, depending on the specifics of the case.