Online Impersonation Is Now Punishable in California.

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No more digital impersonations in California.  As of January 1st a new law took into effect in California to curb online impersonations.  This means that those pretending to be Bill Gates or some other famous personalities online may get into trouble.

ZDnet says: for a long time, online impersonation was mainly thought of as identity theft, or as something done occasionally by pathetic exes or total dicks, but it happened mostly when your credit got hijacked and you found yourself the proud owner of a $5K phone bill and a receipt for swampland in Florida. This past year saw a sharp spike in a much more personal kind of impersonation: when people abuse the anonymity of the Internet to cyber-harass individuals.

It was only a year ago that a California based Marine posed as his ex-girlfriend on Craigslist and via email to set her up for a brutal rape in her own home. Sentenced to 60 years, the punishment was clear.

Most cases are not this extreme, and they go unpunished. SB 1411 is being hailed by those facing a tsunami of legitimate cyber-harassment cases that come up empty-handed for legal recourse to stop, deter, or create consequences for impersonation attacks.

It is also getting a boatload of wariness as to how it might relate to protected speech. Before the law was signed, EFF’s Corynne McSherry told BBC she didn’t think SB 1411 included enough protections for satire and parody – especially in the era of political impersonation as protest, a la The Yes Men.

Read more at ZDNet

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