Online Deception and Cyber Narcissism
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the Information Age have created a new dimension leading to an entirely new population of humanity engaged in malevolent, harmful and deceptive practices. ICT and cyberspace are not tools used by the classic sociopath, deviant, narcissist or criminal, but a new generation called iPredators. These Information Age assailants will be permanent fixtures to humanity for centuries to follow.
In order to effectively educate, evaluate, investigate or advise any ICT user on Internet safety, whether they are a child, adult, group or business, it is paramount to grasp the basic concepts and terms vital to all ICT users. The two terms important to be familiar with are iPredator & Cyberstealth. For it is in cyberspace & the internet, using ICT, that vast majority of iPredators develop, activate and institute Cyberstealth.
The Information Age is a societal paradigm and period beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century and presently thriving in the second decade of the 21st century. The Information Age represents the evolution, emergence, consumption of and reliance upon Information and Communications Technology (ICT). In a mere four decades, ICT and its importance to humanity have led many to surmise that the planet and its human inhabitants are amidst an Information Revolution.
Mobile device technology, telecommunications, social media & cyberspace are just a few examples of humanities newest communication channels. In all of these arenas, they deal with the new frontier of how humankind obtains exchanges and disseminates information.
Online Deception & Cyber Narcissism
Presented for review is this writer’s constructs of iPredator & Cyberstealth along with a brief description of the terms Deception, Narcissism & Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Descriptions of these terms are relevant to understanding the general tenets of Information Age Deception & Cyber Narcissism. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is not exclusive to the iPredator typology or the only mental illness that engages in Information Age Deception & Cyber Narcissism. Overview of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is presented merely as a template of the role psychiatric illnesses and personality disorders can play in iPredator motivations and their etiology.
When NPD, Anti-Social Personality Disorder (APD), Pediatric Conduct Disorder & Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Thought Disorders, Delusional Disorders, Mood Disorders and other psychiatric illnesses or developmental disabilities are not etiological factors, the root causes considered as victimization accelerants for iPredators are severe forms of APD called sociopathy, psychopathy or political and/or religious fanaticism common in acts of cyber terrorism.
Advancements in technology, behavioral sciences and the field of medicine are inevitable along with all aspects of human existence. With the passage of time, it is guaranteed that present day Information Age humanity will one day, at a time in the distant future, be viewed as archaic and primitive. The question to be answered by future historians, in the timeline of human progression, is when iPredators and their tactics of Cyberstealth are no longer problematic to society.
Not being able to predict humanities future trajectory, the concept of hope for an expedient strategy is applied. Given the elements of crime, deviance & evil have always been part of all cultures throughout history and the analogy of “past behavior is the best predictor or future behavior, it falls to reason iPredators and Cyberstealth will be maladaptive facets of human existence for centuries to come. The concepts of iPredator & Cyberstealth are presented as follows:
iPredator: A child, adult, group or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology (ICT.) iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age, either gender and not bound by economic status, race or national heritage.
iPredator is a global term used to distinguish anyone who engages in criminal, deviant or abusive behaviors using Information and Communications Technology (ICT.) Central to the construct is the premise that Information Age criminals, deviants and violent disturbed are psychopathological classifications new to humanity. Whether the offender is a cyberbully, cyberstalker, cyber harasser, cyber criminal, online sexual predator, internet troll, cyber terrorist or engaged in nefarious cyber deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator. The three criteria used to define an iPredator include:
I. A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT. II. The intermittent to frequent usage of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to obtain, exchange and deliver harmful information. III. A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.
Cyberstealth is Information Age Deception
Unlike human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely on the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology (ICT.) These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to data available. Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using ICT in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.
iPredator Bridge: iPredator Bridge is a theoretical tenet of iPredator representing the psychological, perceptual & behavioral trajectory of people who use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to harm others. Similar to the iPredator, they are motivated by personal convictions, greed, power, control, narcissism or psychopathology. Different from the iPredator, they have yet to fully engage in criminal/deviant activities using ICT or use complex perceptual distortions to validate the harm they cause. iPredator Bridge investigates why some people draw near to this nefarious and malevolent realm and either proceed in their maladaptive trajectory or cease and desist.
Hidden in cyberspace, and through ICT, they contemplate the benefits and detriments, proceed, and then continue a path where their cognitive and perceptual processes are focused upon directly or indirectly harming others. For those who cross this proverbial bridge, they enter a world where their choices are increasingly governed by criminal, deviant, immoral and maladaptive processes.
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Although it is assumed all humanity, has residing deep in their psyche, the potential & Dark Psychology for behaving in harmful and malevolent ways they rarely or never activate, ICT and cyberspace offers a direct connection and psychological route to the dark side. Just as ICT and cyberspace is incredibly pro-social and beneficial to humanity, these same technological advancements can lead humanity to diabolical and sinister endeavors.
The iPredator Bridge is a symbolic representation of the approach, route and initial crossing into the realm of the iPredator. In a rudimentary and abstract way, it is posited that cyberspace, ICT and all future technological advancements, related to information technology, is an extension of the mind and the instinctual drives of the collective brain to replicate itself outside a human organism. Related to this postulate are the theoretical tenets of Carl Jung (1875-1961) and his construct of the Collective Unconscious.
Cyberstealth is a concept formulated along with iPredator and is a term used to define a method and/or strategy by which iPredators use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) , if they so choose, to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they troll and stalk a target. Cyberstealth is a methodology entrenched in Information Age Deception or also called cyber deception.
Given the Internet inherently affords everyone anonymity, Cyberstealth used by iPredators range from negligible to highly complex and multi-faceted. The rationale for using “stealth” in the suffix of this term, serves to remind ICT users the primary intent fueling iPredators. This intent is to hide their identity by designing false online profiles, identities, covert tactics and methods to ensure their identities remain concealed reducing their probability of identification, apprehension and punishment.
Unlike classic deception used by traditional criminals and deviants, Information Age Deception completely relies on the anonymity and “veil of invisibility” available to all ICT users. The primary difference between Information Age Deception and Cyberstealth are the activities iPredators and ICT users engage in. In this writer’s construct, Cyberstealth is reserved for iPredators who actively plan a strategy that have criminal, deviant and harmful implications to targeted victims.
Information Age Deception includes all forms of Cyberstealth, but also includes deceptive practices that do not have elements of crime, defiance or harm against others. An example of Information Age Deception, not included in Cyberstealth, would be a young man who joins an online dating service and publishes in his dating profile that he if 6’0 feet tall when he is really 5’9.
Information Age Deception does not require an ICT user to engage in nefarious, deviant or malevolent activities. Although all forms of deception are problematic, Information Age Deception can be as subtle of what many call a “white lie.” Another difference is when iPredators use Cyberstealth to hide their identity from victims. In general, iPredators use Cyberstealth when their actions involve illegal activities and hiding their identity is paramount to reduce being identified, apprehended and prosecuted. ICT users who evaluate their odds of being identified, develop tactics and strategies to minimize identification are motivated by criminal, deviant & harmful causes are iPredators using Cyberstealth.
As the Internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable. Cyberstealth is a covert method by which iPredators are able to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target. Concurrent with the concept of Cyberstealth is IVI or iPredator Victim Intuition. By using Cyberstealth, an iPredator’s IVI is the aptitude to sense a target’s online vulnerabilities, weaknesses and technological limitations increasing their success with minimal ramifications.