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Monday, January 3, 2011

CA makes virtual impersonation a crime

Heads up, anonymouses and web squatters. The State of California has formally enacted SB 1411 as of January 1, making the electronic impersonation of any real person a crime.

Technically, this sure could cramp the style of a number of the regular commenters on the Mayor Sam blog. But we doubt it will.

Details of the law from the text of the bill:

SECTION 1. Section 528.5 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

528.5. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and without consent credibly impersonates another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person is guilty of a public offense punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).

(b) For purposes of this section, an impersonation is credible if another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated.

(c) For purposes of this section, "electronic means" shall include opening an e-mail account or an account or profile on a social networking Internet Web site in another person's name.

(d) A violation of subdivision (a) is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

(e) In addition to any other civil remedy available, a person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of subdivision (a) may bring a civil action against the violator for compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), (4), and (5) of subdivision (e) and subdivision (g) of Section 502.