High-Tech Stalking On The Rise, San Francisco Study Shows

09/30/2011 01:35 pm ET | Updated Nov 30, 2011

On Wednesday, at a domestic violence conference held by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, officials announced that high-tech stalking is on the rise, CBS News reported.

According to officials, of the 3.5 million annual national stalking victims, most are between the ages of 18 and 24, and incidents are increasingly occurring online and through personal cell phones.

Emberly Cross, an attorney with the nonprofit Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (CROC), spoke about the alarming increase in cell phone hacking in stalking cases. Cross explained that hackers can use a victim's cell phone to keep track of the victim's location at all times.

"They [stalkers] can use your cell phone to track where you're going, and people can actually remotely activate the camera on your cell phone," said Cross. "They can turn it on so that they can actually hear your conversations that you're having and know everything that you're doing and everything about you, and where to find you."

According to Probono.net, Cross's organization is a free and confidential project that helps domestic violence victims get restraining orders against their abusers. Cross explained that, while technology has granted a new level of access to the public, its possible anonymity has also made it more difficult for officials to obtain restraining orders.

"The increasingly affordable and available variety of phone, surveillance and computer technologies provides a wide array of dangerous tools for abusers," the National Center for Victims of Crime states on its website.