News

Online 'e-personation' could bring fines, jail time

Bill sponsored by Simitian is awaiting governor's review

A bill that would make it a misdemeanor to maliciously impersonate someone on the Internet was passed by the state legislature this week.

SB 1411, authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly, Simitian's office said Thursday.

Simitian said the bill updates California's "outdated" impersonation laws to include online applications such as impersonation via e-mail and social networking, or so-called "e-personation."

"In the age of the Internet, pretending to be someone else is as easy as using their name to create a new e-mail account," Simitian said in a

statement. "When that is done to cause harm, folks need a law on the books they can turn to."

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Under the law, a victim can be either a person whose identity is assumed or a third person being harassed, according to Simitian.

Those convicted could face a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail and possible civil litigation.

The bill now moves to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for approval.

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Online 'e-personation' could bring fines, jail time

Bill sponsored by Simitian is awaiting governor's review

Uploaded: Sun, Aug 15, 2010, 9:11 am
Updated: Mon, Aug 16, 2010, 8:48 am

A bill that would make it a misdemeanor to maliciously impersonate someone on the Internet was passed by the state legislature this week.

SB 1411, authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, passed unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly, Simitian's office said Thursday.

Simitian said the bill updates California's "outdated" impersonation laws to include online applications such as impersonation via e-mail and social networking, or so-called "e-personation."

"In the age of the Internet, pretending to be someone else is as easy as using their name to create a new e-mail account," Simitian said in a

statement. "When that is done to cause harm, folks need a law on the books they can turn to."

Under the law, a victim can be either a person whose identity is assumed or a third person being harassed, according to Simitian.

Those convicted could face a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail and possible civil litigation.

The bill now moves to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for approval.

Comments

Cannot Regulate Internet
College Terrace
on Aug 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm
Cannot Regulate Internet, College Terrace
on Aug 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm
Like this comment

What if I am sitting in India/China/Laos and use a fake email id. The US govt./laws are not going to do a thing to me.

This law is designed to harass Americans ONLY.

Anonimity is a fundamental right on the Internet.


anonymous
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm
anonymous, Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm
Like this comment

Posting anonymously is one thing. Using someone else's real name to commit fraud is very different. I assume the new law is intended to beef up existing identity theft laws.


RS
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm
RS, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm
Like this comment

Its narrower than that, its a california law, so the person has to be in california


casey
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 15, 2010 at 11:32 pm
casey, Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 15, 2010 at 11:32 pm
Like this comment

You can read the bill at the California Legislature's website - Web Link

The bill does not regulate your right to post anonymously. You will may get into trouble if you "credibly impersonate[] another actual person...for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding another person[.]"


E.S.
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:28 am
E.S., Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:28 am
Like this comment

What about "spoofing?" Someone twice used my email address as that of the sender as well as the receiver. I understand that there's no way to catch the perpetrators of these spoofs. Or, is there?


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:30 am
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:30 am
Like this comment

While I do not question some for desiring anonymity on the internet I question I deny it is a fundamental right. I would for my use welcome a unique personal internet identity AND a mechanism to block out any anonymous communications to my computer. I realize this might deny me the enlightenment of certain ads, but I would try to get by without them.


George W. Bush
another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:37 am
George W. Bush, another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 10:37 am
Like this comment

Is this about the internets? And the google?


Anon.
Crescent Park
on Aug 16, 2010 at 11:21 am
Anon., Crescent Park
on Aug 16, 2010 at 11:21 am
Like this comment

Obviously the real George Bush posting here.

There is so much to be "regulated" on the internet, I doubt any of it will be even talked about before everything is known about every one of us law abiding citizens ... and I would guarantee a "threat assessment" number can be attached to any one of our personal files based on what we consume, watch, pay for, support, express, etc.

All the stuff that is posted in message boards from various sources can be correlated and summed for all kinds of information about us, and even more so when done over cellphones and personal devices.

Think about it.


George W. Bush
another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 11:36 am
George W. Bush, another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 11:36 am
Like this comment

There's an old saying in Tennessee:

Fool me once, shame on you, er, me, uhhhh.....

Web Link


Dr. Who?
Evergreen Park
on Aug 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm
Dr. Who?, Evergreen Park
on Aug 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm
Like this comment

> I deny it is a fundamental right

If you have the right to give a false name to anyone who says: "what's your name" (in other words it is not against the law to do so), why should be you required to provide your real name when communicating via electronic media (in this case the Internet/Web)?


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 16, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Like this comment

So I should be allowed to make withdrawals from your bank account?
I don't know about you, who, {youhoo?] but I find it hard to sympathize with the pathetic wretches who lack the maturity and courage of conviction to sign their name to their opinions.


Al Bore
another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 9:49 pm
Al Bore, another community
on Aug 16, 2010 at 9:49 pm
Like this comment

Hey Geroge, this is about what I invented. The internet and my good friend Arnold whats his name will take care of me and my invention. So I can save the planet.

This new law will help keep the non-believers in check and me in check$ from the true believers.



INTERNET COPS?
Charleston Gardens
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:57 am
INTERNET COPS?, Charleston Gardens
on Aug 19, 2010 at 2:57 am
Like this comment

is big brother gaining momentum, we will be in for a long ride with this


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Aug 19, 2010 at 10:52 am
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Aug 19, 2010 at 10:52 am
Like this comment

Say what you will about Samizdata, but it was Lech Walenski going public that shut down communism in Poland. Lech was a shipyard electrician as once was I.


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