Our opinion: Lawmakers do right on stalking

As technology continues to change, our laws and our sense of justice must adapt to meet the new technological landscape.

One such aspect of that evolution is the use of devices by predators to secretly track the locations of the victims — particularly women — that they are stalking.

“Whether it’s a creep at the bar or an angry ex-partner, this is a new avenue that they can use to non-consensually track somebody without their knowledge,” Adam Dodge, CEO of digital safety education company EndTAB and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Digital Justice Advisory Committee, told CNBC more than a year ago as this problem began surfacing.

As a lawsuit filed against Apple for their development and sales of one such device noted, the gadgets “revolutionized the scope, breadth, and ease of location-based stalking.”

We support the efforts by the state House of Representatives and state Senate, reported by the Associated Press, to update Pennsylvania’s laws against stalking to explicitly include secretly using devices to track victims of the stalkers’ harassment.

Legislation passed in the state House on a 199-1 vote would make the offense punishable by up to 90 days in jail. The state Senate’s version of the legislation would make it punishable by up to two years in jail.

Florida and Kentucky acted on this important matter in the past year, and Ohio likewise is deliberating on legislation to address it.

We hope our state’s lawmakers can find a compromise that is tough enough to soundly discourage this intrusive and unsettling behavior and we hope our state government and court system provide police and prosecutors the tools they need to hold stalkers accountable.

To do any less would be an abdication of our government’s responsibilities to public safety.


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