Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Jail Time For Providing False Info On Domain Registration?

from the anonymity-be-damned dept

Yet another backwards attempt at solving online crime problems from our elected officials. There's a new bill being pitched, which would increase jail time and fines for people who register domains with false information. While they are talking about those who do this as part of an online fraud scheme, I don't see why that particular act should be punished separate from the crime itself. Does it makes sense to punish someone more if they used a computer in a crime than if they did the same crime without a computer? What about if they used a car? A pencil? There are times when it makes perfect sense for people to want to be anonymous online. However, not all our representatives agree that anonymity belongs online. Representative Lamar Smith from Texas is quoted as saying: "The government must play a greater role in punishing those who conceal their identities online." Watch out anonymous coward posters! Lamar Smith is on to you. Meanwhile, the other sponsor of the bill, Howard Berman (also known as "the Representative from Disney") wanted to make it a criminal offense to just register a domain name with false info (as opposed to the current offering which only focuses on its use in a crime). However he is still trying to push through a part which will hold the registrars liable for those who register with false info. In other words, the registrars would now need to check to make sure the information is legitimate - which seems like quite a burden.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2004 @ 1:51pm


    Lamar Smith??? Ha!

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

  • identicon
    bbay, 4 Feb 2004 @ 5:28pm


    I know of a couple of people who have registered domains w/out using their real name for privacy purposes. They're not spamming or committing fraud, they simply don't want their real names known by their website fans. This should be allowed.

    And surely, it can't be hard to track down the owner of a domain in the event that they've committed a crime. There has to be some kind of billing trail. Requiring the whois info to be correct by law is an unnecessary invasion.

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

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