Women use Web for male stalking

A new breed of women are using the Internet as their very own private detective before embarking on dates with men they deem suspicious, a new survey has found.

Around one in ten women confess to surfing the Web as a way of finding out about someone they might fancy, with even more connecting online when they know the male intimately.

This translates into two out of three British females entering keywords into search engines to expose the suspected hidden past of their partners.

Men however are more likely to go online to find a skeleton in the closet of their boss and co-workers, the survey by Easily.co.uk found.

And when men aren't using the Web to gain the upper hand with someone at work, they are searching for information about themselves; an egocentric habit also shared by women.

Jonathan Robinson, Easily's business development director, said: "It's amazing to see just how many of us have been interested to see what information there could be about ourselves and people we know on the Internet.

"The Internet is now the first port of call for anyone wanting to know about anything or it would seem, anyone."

Overall in the survey, half all of all men questioned admitted to surfing online just to find out about someone in the workplace.

Furthermore the different usage of the Web compared to women was evident in a man's choice of what information to display on web pages.

For men, the most frequent content uploaded was their CV, while women preferred to fill their display with family photos.

A similar probe last year by AOL, found men and women were not only using internet and e-mail to explore relationships, but also IM networks; where both sexes said they waited an average of four weeks before asking someone out on a date.

The habits of men and women online emerge after a 36-year-old female IT expert was handed a restraining order for paying hackers to harass an ex-colleague by sending malicious e-mails.

Anita Debnath from Hinckley, even posted her target's name on a gay websites for prisoners, prompting an inmate from the US to send the unsuspecting male a pornographic letter.

Ms Debnath, a computer science graduate with two masters degrees, admitted to seven computer-related offences after sending spoof e-mails to her victim, his friends and colleagues.

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