Texas Politicians Want To Make It A Felony To Create Intimidating Fake Online Profiles

from the if-you-intimidate,-please-be-real dept

The latest in a long line of questionable "cyberbullying" legislation has shown up in Texas, where the legislature has approved a bill that would make it a felony to create a fake social networking profile with intent to "harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten" anyone. Of course, that seems rather broad. Oddly, the article doesn't mention the Lori Drew case (Update: actually, it does mention Lori Drew at the bottom... but says this law wouldn't apply, because it only applies to fake profiles of "real people"), though, it does mention the Tony La Russa/Twitter legal battle, even though it's difficult to think any court would rule a parody profile as being with intent to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten. Of course, even if the bill is signed into law, Eric Goldman notes that it would likely have trouble surviving much of a challenge, pointing out the oddity of singling out "social networking sites" and (more importantly) the fact that any such law would likely ban all sorts of protected free speech. Still, "anti-cyberbullying" laws are all the rage these days, and politicians want to make sure they can tell constituents that they're out there "protecting the children," so expect to see plenty more of this type of legislation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    How they would enforce it, who knows? The idea is pretty good though. The wild west mentality of the net needs a little toning down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Rebel Freek (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:04am

    "How do you use this thing?"
    "You point this end at something and pull that other thing"
    "so what happens when I point this end towards me?"
    "You go off to a magical place"
    "I want to go to (where ever)" Bang...
    I only dream it was that easy to take out some of these morons writing laws....

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    "The idea is pretty good though. The wild west mentality of the net needs a little toning down."

    Says the Anonymous Coward. LMAO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    What article did you read?

    Oddly, the article doesn't mention the Lori Drew case...

    Umm...the article you linked to did mention the Lori Drew case. It said that the law would not be applicable in that situation because the fake profile was not an actual person. It seems the legislation is aimed at making it illegal for someone else to make a profile impersonating another actual person and using it for said purposes. More of an identity theft thing. But I still see issues with the parody profiles or the freedom of a *sucks profile. Sure these could "harm", as you said, very broad and will open up to definition and feed the lawyers.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    If you think that, then you don't fully appreciate and understand what the Internet is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re:

    yeah, I am really screwing it up for all the other anonymous cowards out there, right? Perhaps they will all sue me.

    remember, puff, puff, pass it to the left.

     

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  7.  
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    Nikki, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    I think this is start to a good law against internet fraud. The rest of the country should follow along. Nikki selling photography 101 1 dollar ebooks

     

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  8.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: What article did you read?


    Umm...the article you linked to did mention the Lori Drew case.


    Wow. Don't know how I missed that. Corrected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Justin Dessonville (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:32am

    Already Crimes/Civil No No's

    Isn't there already some precedent for this type of behavior. Harassing/Assaulting someone outside of the online world is a crime, isn't it? And libel is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    With these positions already in place, what's the point of this bill?

     

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  10.  
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    Rebel Freek (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Re: Already Crimes/Civil No No's

    "To save the children!" Which translates to "I am a greedy bastard that uses children to grandstand pointless on pointless bills that do more harm then good and waste taxpayer dollars..."

     

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  11.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Re: Already Crimes/Civil No No's

    "With these positions already in place, what's the point of this bill?"

    (re-) Election.

     

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  12.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Why? some politician find out the 'chick' he was flirting with was really a 50 year old guy? lol

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Fake Profiles R Us, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    Re: You are a moron

    Anonymous Coward sez:
    How they would enforce it, who knows? The idea is pretty good though. The wild west mentality of the net needs a little toning down.
    Okay genius, start by giving all of us your real name, address, phone number, email addresses, and other relevant info. The wild west mentality of the net needs a little toning down, and we want to start with you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Vic, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Damn!

    There goes my plan to set up an account as a Captain Hook to scare and intimidate my kids!

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Step 1:
    Understand that Texas doesn't report anything negative pertaining to Republicans, and this affects their world view. (This is odd, considering the current state of affairs in Texas.)

    Step 2:
    Research and realize that the police in Texas are more crooked than the criminals they lock up and the judges they appoint. Look into Marshall, TX.

    Step 3:
    Realize that the past 8 years were done under Texas Law.

    Step 3:
    Understand that Texas views, as shaped by the media (see #1), are not the views of America as a whole.

    Step 4:
    Create profiles like 'mmasnick' when they first come available. Use the name Mich Masnickoloski with passwords like 'carlocarlocarlo' This is only done at websites that they own. More of a term of endearment than anything else. See what they do.

    Step 5:
    Show America how Fucked up Texas is.

    Step 6:
    Support Texas Succession.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Damn!

    If you really want to scare them, set the account up as Michael Jackson rather than Captain Hook.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    chris (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    Why? some politician find out the 'chick' he was flirting with was really a 50 year old guy? lol

    everyone on the internet is 50 year old fat guy named morty. especially women.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Valkor, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re:

    Nikki, you're intimidating me with your spam. Maybe this could be illegal in Texas, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Unsupported Judgement by a liberal AC

    Step 7: Repeat Steps 1-6 until you believe them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Ben, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Texas Taliban Terrorism..

    We is gonna save dem childrens frum dem bad pipples on duh innernets.

    We is gonna exacoot evvy ones ov dem!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Jason, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    Nevermind that the judge in Marshall,TX causing the most problems today wasn't appointed to the job by Texans, but by Bill Clinton.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Jorge, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    Not Infringe Free Speech

    Actually, dude, it does NOT infringe free speech. While anonymous speech is protected, pretending to be someone else is not, and never has been constitutionally protected.

    Defamation, for example, is not protected by the First Amendment. Likewise, false light (a form of invasion of privacy) is also not protected (Pretending to be someone online usually covers that), b/c the First Amendment does not protect false speech.

    Note: the difference between defamation and false light is (1) defamation must harm the target's representation and (2) only requires an audience of one third party -- false light requires a widespread dissemination of the misleading/false statements, but those statements don't have to harm the target.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 6:15pm

    How do they intend to enforce this upon someone in say ... Nigeria ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:21am

    Re: Re: Unsupported Judgement by a liberal AC

    Step 8:

    Realize anything labeled "Texas" such as
    "Texas" Toast,
    "Texas" BBQ,
    "Texas" Asshat,
    "Texas" Waffles,
    "Texas" Ego,
    "Texas" Justice

    Is really, a ploy to find out how willing you are to give up what you believe in.

    Yes, everything is bigger in Texas. Especially the women. Tell me about your woman, Chuck? Does she Toast/BBQ/Asshat much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 12:23am

    Don't mess with Texas you say?

    Who wants to?

    GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Rosco, Jun 11th, 2009 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Re: You are a moron

    +1 dude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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