How an online stalker works
Reddit - "The Front Page of the Internet" - is one of the most important social media offerings in the USA. The forum with its idiosyncratic graphics is very broad in its offer - and of very high quality. Reddit users can solve virtually any problem; President Obama even took the time to answer user questions on Reddit.
In one of the sub-Reddits, sub-forums, there is the possibility to make confessions. An online stalker explains in detail how he proceeded with his attempt at stalking. A lesson in how information is disseminated over the Internet.
The text is well suited for a school lesson. I translate it into German, the English original can be found here.
I stalked a girl online for months ...
... until I went a step too far.
First, I found the girl by chance on Tumblr. I clicked through posts and references until I saw her picture. Your picture. God, is she beautiful. And sexy. Hands down one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen.
I searched their Tumblr page until I found their other social media profiles. All were public ...
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. She was not reluctant to do what she published. Lots of nude pictures and other sexy shots, but also lots of snapshots. The girl is breathtaking.
Finally, I looked at her Instagram pictures on a third party site and noticed - her pictures were geotagged. One. Two. Three. And so on. Geotags recorded her entire life on a map. Shit, that can't be. These tags. Most were less than an hour from my home. This girl doesn't live on the other side of the world, but very close by! That's when it started. I don't know what got hold of me, but I started digging deeper. I just had to.
Over the next few months, I collected all of the information from all of the girl's social media profiles.
I found out where she lived, where she worked, where she went to school, what she studied, in which school area, in which building. I also found out their schedule. I knew who her closest friends were, their names, and where they lived (she had geotagged these pictures, too). I knew where her parents lived, her sister and her boyfriend. She took so many photos of her apartment that I could have drawn a plan. I knew where she spent her free time and which places she frequented. I knew what kind of car she was driving and where to fill up.
To be sure, I looked at the satellite images from Google Maps and used Google Street View to identify trees and other objects that were seen in the background of images. I couldn't stop, it took hold of me. I shouldn't have known all that, and neither should anyone else.
With all these fragments, I was able to piece her whole life together. It was amazing and felt good, although I don't know why. But I didn't do anything; it was just like a game.
Until one day, on my way home - I did some shopping first. I stopped at a red light and suddenly I realized: This is where she lives. I am near you. I recognized everything around me, even though I had never been here before. I recognized signs, shops, trees. I was there. It was no longer a game. As soon as the light turned green, I made up my mind. I did it. I turned around until I came to their street.
There it was. I drove on and there was her house up ahead. Her car. Herself.
Everything I put together was real. Not just data in the computer, ones and zeros. I drove by, looked at the house. I recognized the curtains, she had posted them on Instagram.
What the fuck am i doing here?
I hit the gas and drove home. I had to go. This is not a game, you idiot, this is someone's life.
I don't know why I'm writing this. It's been over a month since I drove by her house and so far I haven't even thought about stalking. But I just had to get rid of that. Please take this as a warning to protect your online identity. Their posts alone did not contain too much information. But she didn't expect anyone to bother combining it all.
The key points are:
- The will to stalk arose as a by-product, out of a social media dynamic.
- Linking different accounts is problematic.
- Geotagging is something that many cameras do automatically. The corresponding pages show information, as a user you may not even notice it.
- The risk is not calculated from individual postings, but from their combination.
- Initially, the stalker did not know any data such as address, telephone numbers or names.
I like it:
Published by Philippe Wampfler
philippe-wampfler.ch Show all posts by Philippe Wampfler
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