A note on cellphone harassment

In To catch a mobber, catch a cyber-criminal, I wrote about how those real estate mobbing me—that is, attempting to harass me out of my legal rental to compel its sale—incorporate harassment over the telephone as a major component of their strategy. Smart phones and mobile devices are these days ubiquitous and the capabilities they provide of cellular, wireless and GPS create an infrastructure that is the backbone of the mobbing platform, providing ample throughput to the mobbing victim through every moment of his or her day.

A mobbing victim who is resistant can monkeywrench this, and so I have. To deny the mobbers access to your communications and entertainment systems, you have to be willing to modulate your own use of them. But in the end, the choice you make does not affect whether you are harassed, but how. The mobbers have lots of tricks up their sleeves, as well as an endless assortment of means and modes of harassment they can apply to your every environment, whether you’re at home, out for a bike ride, or looking for more of those wax putty earplugs at the local QFC grocery. It’s possible they make use of the same drones now common for use in surveying and selling real estate to mob residents off of the properties they want. These are criminals who work in real estate “acquisitions” for themselves or others, and none of them can afford to be caught.

In To catch a mobber, catch a cyber-criminal, I wrote about how it makes little difference to the mobbers that I don’t carry a cell phone and that I leave it off, close or lower the volume on applications’ sound capabilities, turn off tracking and almost never turn on the WiFi. Riding on a global infrastructure of smartphones, mobbers can combine surveillance techniques of following with the use of IMSI catchers and hacking. They can use IMSI catchers and network scanners to suss out identifying information for every cell phone that would give them proximity to their victim, and for all access points within range to their victim.

At first, when I realized that the smartphones of others were being used as a means of harassment, I thought it was an accommodation of my refusal to carry one or leave one on with all communications interfaces available. But then I realized that using the cell phones of others is the perfect means to avoid detection. Other people don’t know what mobbing sounds like, and other people don’t know that someone in the room is being mobbed. If you tell a stranger to listen for slurs and insults on their cell phone, it’s probably not going to work out too well for you.

Yesterday when I was once again at Lynnwood Recreation Center swimming, it was interesting to note the great difference in the volume of the harassment after the music provided by the facility was turned off for a class. The staff probably does not turn off power to the speakers. And then in the near empty locker room, as one-line slurs of harassment darted around the banks of lockers and benches as I moved from area to area showering, dressing, and drying my hair, I realized that those cell phones left behind in the locker room could also be amplified by their enclosure in the lockers and, left unattended and on, could be freely used by the mobbers, singly, or even multiply, as a chord or chorus.

This is mobbing.



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