Technology-Assisted Stalking: New York Laws To Get Update To Protect Residents From Electronic Following, Recording, Tracking Movements Using Technology


Senate Passes Scarcella-Spanton’s Legislation to Update Laws and Protect New Yorkers from Technology-Assisted Stalking

Editor’s note: Staten Islander News has previously covered the introduction of this legislation, which has now passed the Senate, here.  

At that time, Senator Scarcella-Spanton said, “For far too long, New Yorkers have lived in constant fear of their location being compromised through the misuse of technology.  This bill is a crucial step toward keeping New Yorkers safe and protecting their location in an increasingly interconnected world. By broadening the definition of stalking, we send a clear message to criminals that they will be prosecuted for technology-assisted stalking in New York State.”

ALBANY, NY – Senator Scarcella-Spanton, Chair of the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee, passed Senate Bill S5505, which redefines the term “following” for a crime of stalking in the fourth degree. The proposed legislation redefines the crime of stalking in the fourth degree to include the use of certain devices or computers to gain unauthorized access to, record, track, or report the movement or location of individuals or their property.

In an age of rapid technological progress, our laws haven’t kept pace with the new ways predators can stalk individuals. With tools like Apple AirTags or Find My Phone, someone’s location can be tracked without consent. This legislation aims to update stalking laws in New York State to address these gaps in our current laws.

The bill expands “following” to include unauthorized use of devices to track someone’s movements without consent. This update acknowledges the urgent need to combat evolving methods of stalking and provides justice for victims– while recognizing the severe impact these types of crimes can have on its victims’ mental and emotional well-being. Broadening the definition of stalking sends a clear message: perpetrators of technology-assisted stalking will face prosecution.

“As technology continues to advance faster than ever, our laws here must evolve to protect New Yorkers from the various ways stalkers can access their location. Location sharing, which was created to help promote safety, is now being exploited for nefarious purposes, and it’s so important that we update our laws to address these new threats. This legislation is a crucial step in keeping my constituents safe and protecting their privacy.” – Senator Scarcella-Spanton

Senator Scarcella-Spanton was appointed as Chair of the New York State Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, and is a member of the Committees on Civil Service and Pensions, Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Disabilities, Insurance, Labor, and Women’s Issues.

Banner Image: Cameras on a building. Image Credit – Arthur Mazi 


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