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Online Impersonations Now Illegal In California

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the lets-pretend dept.

Crime 217

theodp writes "TechCrunch's Michael Arrington reports that a California bill criminalizing online impersonations went into effect on January 1st. 'There has to be intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person — not necessarily the person you are impersonating,' explains Arrington. 'Free speech issues, including satire and parody, aren't addressed in the text of the bill. The courts will likely sort it out.' So, Fake Steve Jobs, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?'"

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Rich protecting themselves (4, Insightful)

cloakedpegasus (1761746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737218)

Of course its meant to keep the peasants in line. Like this bill was meant to protect me, psh.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737234)

California had to pass this law. It is the land of empty hollywood personas. They have to protect their stars or people might realize that a 2D flash animation is usually more entertaining than the real thing.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (2, Funny)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737374)

Well, of course! Why would they want to protect someone who doesn't have massive amounts of money?

Re:Rich protecting themselves (2, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737438)

I'm pretty sure fraud and impersonation were illegal before this. This new law, like most laws with the word "online" attached to them, is just a redundant addition to already existing regulations. So the "peasants" have less to do with it than idle legislatures trying to justify their existence, or the failure to realize that the magic box with the TV and typewriter attached doesn't require a whole new set of laws to govern it.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737560)

Most new laws are redundant additions to existing laws. The overlap is entirely deliberate.

This law is not about money regardless of the 'defraud' part. This law will be used to stop criticism and documentaries that show the rich and powerful in a bad light.

Its like using a shotgun instead of a pistol. You have half a dozen ways to stop someone doing something instead of just one.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738898)

This law will be used to stop criticism and documentaries that show the rich and powerful in a bad light.

Impersonation is not a key element found in criticism or documentaries, so your assertion is baseless.

The bill also requires that a violator "credibly impersonates another actual person", so simply standing up and criticizingly another person is CLEARLY not covered.

Making a documentary (and even posting it on the web) with actors portraying another person is not covered because the it is not "credible impersonation", simply an Actor doing his job, which always comes with disclaimers.

Going on the web and posting attacks pretending to BE another "ACTUAL" person is not permitted

The law contains a significant mention of school districts, which leads me to believe it was not aimed at celebrities but rather at various forms of cyber bullying.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737694)

*If* the summary is correct, then the law is about "impersonations" *not* fraud, as in stealing your money and assets.

There are many good reasons for this law and why I should not state that I am Bill Gates or Joe Shmoe. This law address loophole of cyber-bullying where someone will maliciously impersonate another and there is no law against it. See the case where a kid commited suicide because of the cunt, Lori Drew.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/08/30/0448217/Lori-Drew-Cyberbullying-Case-Dismissed?from=rss

So if you want to remain anonymous, write anonymous. If you want to have your real name on posts, put your real name or even your pseudonym. But you have no right to take someone else's name for any purpose. That is what this law addresses and it's about time.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738360)

I scanned all the links and it doesn't require it to be an actual person you're impersonating. It seems just as illegal to 'impersonate' a random housewife in a dishwasher tablet advert.

This is NOT about cyber-bullying in any way except as a means to push the law through 'for the children'. Its about rich people stopping things that shows them in a bad light. The Tiger Woods sex scandal tv movie will now be illegal.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (2, Interesting)

decoy256 (1335427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738208)

Exactly...

It's already illegal to beat someone up. But then we had to go and make special laws that make it "extra bad" if the victim was part of some special minority group (race, sexual orientation, religion, etc...)? If the assault was already a crime, then what we are criminalizing is the person's thoughts. That sounds like dangerous ground to me.

Don't get me wrong, I am opposed to people beating up others because they belong to some minority group, but I'm opposed to anyone beating anyone up for any reason. Unless it's a fair fight and no one is forced into it (i.e. duels). But that's another subject.

Re:Rich protecting themselves (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738666)

You've pointed out what wrong with most of the "new" laws. I know your example is well dated, but...

    Consider the new slew of laws regarding texting while driving.

    It's illegal to drive while distracted. It has been for an awful long time. If that distraction involved in injury or death, it's even more so.

    Then quite a while ago, they had to spell out that you could drive while watching TV. Any vehicle mounted TV couldn't be in view of the driver. Recently, they started with cell phones. You can't text while driving. You can't read your mail while driving. You can't hold your phone to your ear. Oddly enough, you can still hold in depth conversations if you go buy a earpiece. I don't quite get that one. I've seen plenty of folks in other real-world situations where you can't make them see the reality of their physical situation because they are on the phone. It wasn't necessary to add any of those laws to the books, other than it made government officials look productive.

    So when will they make the laws saying it's illegal to eat, shave your legs, put on makeup, and scream at the kids in the back seat while driving? Ok, I've never seen them all at once, but I've seen various combination of those with cars driving erratically.

    Great, so now it's illegal to impersonate someone else online. I expect they'll have to extend that to say you can't talk on a forum with a name that someone else uses. I guess I'm SOL, my online name matches dozens of other people. Worse, my real name matches thousands of other people in the US, and who knows how many world wide. If we just look in the scope of the Entertainment industry, my name matches about a dozen actors, directors, producers, and other production crew members. Hell, IMDB finds JW Smythe [imdb.com] possibly matching 19 people, none of which are me. I swear, they're not me. "Smythe" even shows results in iafd.com. Again, not me.

    No fucking wonder the law books are so bloated. In the quest for lawmakers to feel self important, they will keep adding laws to the books to continually restate other laws. It doesn't just bloat lawbooks, but these laws frequently carry different punishments for the same crime. Hmm, you had a phone, and you were driving carelessly, and screaming at the kids in the back seat, but your bumper sticker that says "Meet.Me.For.Cheap.Sex.com" has the name "Slut Monkey" on it. That's the stage name of someone else.

    (oddly enough, I couldn't find a reference to "Slut Monkey" being either a stage name nor movie title. Production will start tomorrow. All female applicants should send their resume with measurements, nude photos, acts their willing to perform, and current STD test results.)

Re:Rich protecting themselves (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737546)

No, but it may be used to protect politicians.

I'm Michael Jordan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737224)

First Post!

Re:I'm Michael Jordan! (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737328)

No I am Michael Jordan and this isn't a first post.

Re:I'm Michael Jordan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737698)

No I am Michael Jordan and this isn't a first post.

Yet

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737592)

I'm Anonymous!

Only a fool (4, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737226)

Would publish their full name, real address, data of birth, etc on a social media site, but on some sites that info is mandatory. I wonder how much the law was influenced by companies that collect user info as part of their business? Accurate info is, I would assume, more valuable than the crap I put in my profiles...

Re:Only a fool (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737586)

As long as you impersonate a fictional figure of unclear origin I suspect that courts will not care about trying to make a case.

And I have a feeling that as long as your actions aren't for otherwise criminal intent then you are clear.

But laws like this can be drawn all the way to the letter which means that parents may be responsible for their kids using their imagination and impersonating other figures. It's all in how laws are interpreted. Many of the laws we have can be used for totalitarian purposes but the courts don't use them that way so we do have some freedom to act.

I am not really Demonoid-Penguin (1)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738240)

Would publish their full name, real address, data of birth, etc on a social media site, but on some sites that info is mandatory.

Holy crap! I have to ask - where is this "social media" site? And how can they determine you are being truthful?

Re:I am not really Demonoid-Penguin (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738338)

Slashdot is an example of a social media site. In fact one of the original ones.

Free speech issues aren't addressed in the bill? (4, Interesting)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737240)

"The courts will likely sort it out."

You're kidding, right? In a country plagued with a broken patent system, a congress with an infant's knowledge of technology, and a government run by two-faced politicians, it would be a miracle if this doesn't add to the current issues regarding free speech online.

Re:Free speech issues aren't addressed in the bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737312)

Does the person being impersonated have to sue or is it just illegal?

If its just illegal... I got an email from Kofi Annan recently asking me to help him move some funds through my bank account.

What about TV shows and movies (being california and all) that show real people? This will allow rich people to sue anyone depicting them in a bad light.

I'm going to sue because their 'impersonation' of a particular character defrauded me out of the cost of a DVD box set.

Re:Free speech issues aren't addressed in the bill (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737538)

If its just illegal... I got an email from Kofi Annan recently asking me to help him move some funds through my bank account.

Funny thing. That is called fraud, and it is already illegal.

Re:Free speech issues aren't addressed in the bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737810)

I was going to keep all the money but now you're telling me its illegal. Damn!

Re:Free speech issues aren't addressed in the bill (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738154)

"The courts will likely sort it out."

You're kidding, right? In a country plagued with a broken patent system, a congress with an infant's knowledge of technology, and a government run by two-faced politicians, it would be a miracle if this doesn't add to the current issues regarding free speech online.

Stop fucking freaking out already! The law is for "intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person". Remember that cunt, Lori Drew, that bullied a kit into committing suicide by impersonating another person? That's what this law is targeting.

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/08/30/0448217/Lori-Drew-Cyberbullying-Case-Dismissed?from=rss

As to your rights to free speech and to remain anonymous,

  1. It is already addressed in The Constitution
  2. You should realize that judiciary is independent of legislative branch - the courts always hash out their own interpretation as it is relevant to the Constitution and other laws. That is the way you want it too - trust me - so stop bitching.
  3. You are not anonymous, even myself. Anonymous is an illusion.

Many more laws in California 01/01/2011 ... (2, Informative)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737244)

fyi - There were actually 725 new laws [patch.com] in California on 01/01/2011 ... and this one posted above is just 1 of them.

Re:Many more laws in California 01/01/2011 ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737292)

So? Want a cookie?

Re:Many more laws in California 01/01/2011 ... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738640)

want an oz of pot?

anyything less than 28g (1oz) of MJ will now be reduced from misdem. to an infraction (like traffic ticket). no bad entry on your record, no court needed, no arrest, no jail.

THAT is the story to report on, not this BS.

Re:Many more laws in California 01/01/2011 ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738862)

Now I want a cookie...

Re:Many more laws in California 01/01/2011 ... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738714)

Excessive law, is no law.

10 points if you can figure out who said it. Hint: He's been dead and in the ground for ~2000 years.

Meh. (5, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737264)

"There has to be intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person"

I'm betting most posters in this thread are going to skip over this phrase completely, and raise the "free speech no matter what" flag.

But on the other hand, if the impersonation is done with intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, why can't we just prosecute people for fraud, criminal intimidation, or whatnot?

Re:Meh. (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737322)

The problem is that the phrase is vague. Sure intimidate and threaten have specific definitions under the law which should be solid enough that people don't accidentally violate that. But defraud and harm are pretty wishy washy meaning all sorts of things which they apparently didn't feel like defining for the purposes of the bill.

Unfortunately, pretending to be somebody else for the purposes of parody could be seen as a form of either fraud or harm, without the person doing the impersonation intending to do so.

Re:Meh. (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737464)

Unfortunately, pretending to be somebody else for the purposes of parody could be seen as a form of either fraud or harm, without the person doing the impersonation intending to do so.

Well, the law says "impersonation with the _intent_ to harm, defraud etc.". I think this is quite clear: Parody that is seen as harmful but wasn't intended to harm doesn't fall under the law because the law asks for _intent_. Actually harm that wasn't intended doesn't fall under "impersonation with the intent to harm". Intending to harm but failing to do so falls squarely under the law, because that is clearly "impersonation with _intent_ to harm". On the other hand, if you impersonate somone with the intent of splitting him up with his girlfriend, and you were too retarded to think that would harm both persons involved, that won't protect you.

Re:Meh. (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737572)

are you a judge? a lawyer ? or anything related??
The problem with fuzzy definitions is abuse. And illegal != criminal prosecution. So unless you have a very deep pocket, and you're on the receiving and of the suite intent or not means squat.

Re:Meh. (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737878)

IANAL but I have taken 3 semesters of law courses. Intent means you knew you were doing it, you did it willfully (ie if someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do it you're usually ok for crimes below assault) and you weren't acting recklessly or negligently to the point that a rational individual would be expected to take the time or have the common sense not to do the same thing.

The last two are where parody can get into a sticky situation. If the parody does cause harm and the prosecution can prove that whoever made it should have realized this then they're in trouble.

Litigation = shooting gallery for the wealthy (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738004)

The problem is that the really dangerous intent is the intent to take someone to court. Because that's where the harm begins in serious measure. Money, time, even reputation.

Re:Meh. (0)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737326)

"There has to be intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person"

I'm betting most posters in this thread are going to skip over this phrase completely, and raise the "free speech no matter what" flag.

But on the other hand, if the impersonation is done with intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, why can't we just prosecute people for fraud, criminal intimidation, or whatnot?

You can't use the existing laws for the same reason existing patents don't apply to activities done with a computer. Computers are high-tech and innovative, so anything done with them is innovative and new and completely different.

Re:Meh. (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737350)

Thank you, finally someone who actually thinks and has a real opinion and doesn't just follow the slashdot trend of bashing the government for whatever it is doing even if it's actually doing something good.

Government "doing good" (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738046)

I will stipulate that in the case of some national parks (Tock's Island 100% excepted, what a complete foul-up that is), the government is doing good. Glacier park, for instance, is a pleasure to visit, and I am truly grateful the region is being conserved.

I would like to invite you to add to that notion - parks are general an example of doing good - by listing a few areas where you are under the impression the government is doing good.

Not trying to do good, mind you, but actually succeeding.

I find it all too easy to list areas of abject failure and areas where intent is probably good but the implementation and the results... terrible, but I'd like to see a list that would encourage me to think positively about the feds. I'm having real trouble thinking of appropriate areas. Perhaps it's just me.

Re:Government "doing good" (1)

decoy256 (1335427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738448)

The Federal Government has only been around for just over 200 years, you can't expect it to get things right in the first two centuries of its existence. And the Federal Reserve Notes have only existed for just under 100 years... they're still trying to figure out what to do with the unfettered power to print money out of thin air. Have some patience.

"It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much... to forget it."

–James Madison

Re:Government "doing good" (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738594)

... but I'd like to see a list that would encourage me to think positively about the feds. I'm having real trouble thinking of appropriate areas. Perhaps it's just me.

1. (Relatively) Clean water.
2. (Relatively) Clean air.
3. (Mostly) Society based on rule of law.
4. (Generally) Secure borders.
5. (Mostly) Significant protections for individuals from the Government.
6. Roads
7. A functioning Civil Aviation system
8. A truly excellent Coast Guard.
9. GPS.
10. The National Science Foundation / National Institutes of Health.

And I could go on. Yes, in each and every case I mention there are significant problems, even horrifying problems, but placed against the metric of the rest of the world and the rest of history, we're doing pretty good. Now, as a card carrying (as in Social Security card, you have one, right?) American you can and should complain about each and every thing you see as working less well as possible. And hopefully you will do something other than complain, like hop over to the rest of the world to see how Not To Do Things.

For the record, I think the US is in deep doo doo on a number of fronts and it's partly our fault and partly the way complex civilizations deal (or fail to) with the challenges of organizing a couple of billion people on a small planet. But all in all, the Federal Government does a credible job of a lot of things.

Re:Meh. (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737356)

But on the other hand, if the impersonation is done with intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, why can't we just prosecute people for fraud, criminal intimidation, or whatnot?

I don't get it. All the time these slashdotters moan and moan about how the law and how judges don't understand the Internet. And here we have a law that comes from understanding the Internet, and that that the Internet has opened new ways that didn't exist before to harm others, and people complain again. Is it because it threatens some slash=dotters favorite phantasies about getting others into trouble by doing illegal things while pretending to be them?

When we have laws that threaten people with punishment for certain actions, there are multiple reasons for these laws: The most important are punishment, and deterrent by inducing fear of punishment. But another reason is to state clearly what is acceptable and what is not. In this case, the law makes clear that such impersonation is not some harmless bit of fun, or a harmless prank, but a crime.

And you didn't read this properly, obviously. What is punishable is impersonation with _intent_ to harm. In other words, the impersonation is punishable even when the intent to harm failed. Say you impersonate a husband sending e-mails to a non-existing lover to split up his marriage. This can now be punished, even if you didn't succeed in your goal. The impersonation is also punishable if the intend to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud succeeded, but only to a degree where the harm, intimidation, threatening or defrauding itself wouldn't lead to punishment.

Re:Meh. (2, Insightful)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737686)

Maybe it comes from a desire to have legislators leave the internet alone.

No, really. Look legislators, I know you mean well. But often when you get involved trying to help, you make matters worse.

Take school bullies. When I was growing up, you let the bully get away with it till you got fed up, you confronted it and the bully went looking for a less painful target. If I got in trouble, so be it. I was fed up. It was a critical event in my development. Today, with our "zero-tolerance" policies and the stupid mantra of "let the authorities handle it", we get things like this. All the while ignoring the possibility that we are at this point because we refuse to let kids learn how to deal with bullying. Unintended consequence

If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; legislation is the only thing they have in their toolbox. Hysterical "news" reporting convinces them something must be done! So, because of a small number of jackasses, we now have a "law of the land" that affects many.

The reason I'm opposed is I don't believe it has much to do with trying to address a real problem. It has more to do with addressing a perceived problem, and it does so in a most ham-handed, inefficient, likely-to-fail manner. All so the legislators can be seen to be "doing something" - and get re-elected.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738132)

So, because of a small number of jackasses, we now have a "law of the land" that affects many.

Most criminal laws are "because of a small number of jackasses".

Re:Meh. (1)

PotatoFiend (1330299) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738022)

I don't get it. All the time these slashdotters moan and moan about how the law and how judges don't understand the Internet. And here we have a law that comes from understanding the Internet, and that that the Internet has opened new ways that didn't exist before to harm others, and people complain again. Is it because it threatens some slash=dotters favorite phantasies about getting others into trouble by doing illegal things while pretending to be them?

For the umpteenth time, Slashdot is not a single person with a single opinion. If you're referring to individual Slashdotters being hypocritical or otherwise self-contradictory, respond to them directly or call them out by name.

(Yes, I'm aware of http://xkcd.com/386/ [xkcd.com] )

Re:Meh. (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738048)

The point being made was that this law does not seem to make anything new illegal, except borderline cases. It was already illegal to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud people. Technically, loads and loads of stuff that goes on online could be classed as illegal prior this law anyway. If I recieved through the post some of the threats I've recieved online, I'd be worried.

The intent to harm is almost impossible to prove. If from your example, the sender of the e-mails believes (or claims to believe) that the marriage is bad for both parties, and that they are doing good by sending the e-mails, it doesn't fall under the remit of the law.

--
Barack Obama

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738730)

what happens when I wish to use my right of free speech etc to lampoon satairise , ridicule or heavens forbid mock - some famous person or pompous politican.

Can they claim deliberate harm as it hurt their feelings and I should have known it would?

Re:Meh. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737582)

But on the other hand, if the impersonation is done with intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, why can't we just prosecute people for fraud, criminal intimidation, or whatnot?

Duh, because it involves a computer!

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737584)

Harm? You are harming corporations by providing false information in order to protect yourself. Their information databases are of lesser quality for every false entry, i.e. you are harming them.

Fraud? Accurate personal information is worth money. Inaccurate information is not. You are defrauding the company by providing inaccurate information.

Yea, what could possibly go wrong?

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737700)

It doesn't say it is a crime to provide FALSE information, it says specifically 'impersonate another ACTUAL PERSON'. If you are providing information to a corporation while pretending to be ME, you sure as hell are harming me, and it sure as hell should be illegal.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737792)

By posting as Anonymous Coward, you, too, are providing false information. Why would you not provide your real name? Omission of information is just the same as providing inaccurate information.

HP PreTexting(tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737692)

a California bill criminalizing online impersonations went into effect on January 1st

What about offline impersonations [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Meh. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737788)

But on the other hand, if the impersonation is done with intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, why can't we just prosecute people for fraud, criminal intimidation, or whatnot?

Because we rarely prosecute for that, and thus there is an epidemic, and epidemics need legislation (..or enforcement... but legislators arent enforcers, so they legislate)

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738212)

What about Joe Jobs? What if I were to impersonate someone online with the intent of pissing off the /b/ tards and letting THEM harm, intimidate, threaten and defraud the target?

Re:Meh. (2)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738386)

A Senator might feel threatened by someone exposing some malpractive he's been up to - if people get to know about it, they might vote him out of office - similar to the person who anonymously published details of MP's expenses claims in the UK which led to a lot of them being de-selected by their local party members as the candidate for the next election.

message to theodp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737274)

I'm pretty fucking sure that calling yourself "Fake Steve Jobs" does not fucking count as an impersonation, you fucking idiot ;-)

Re:message to theodp (1, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737286)

No. Not under this fucking law. It should fall under the fucking exceptions. I also think that the fucking law should contain some more fucking swearwords to make people know it's fucking serious.

Re:message to theodp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737310)

It is a well known fact that Fake is his first name and Steve is his middle. No one likes being called Fake, even if it is their name. Apparently you haven't heard the jokes about him being a Real Doll yet.

Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (4, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737282)

If you read the article and text of the law 'There has to be intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person — not necessarily the person you are impersonating,'
Fake Steve Jobs is known to be fake. Articles on The Onion are known to be satire, and sometimes even funny. Comedy videos on youtube are known that they don't come from the impersonated person.
The only way fake steve Jobs would get in problem is if the fake was removed and person doing it started to do things to make people thing he was the actual Steve Jobs.
All this means is that California has upgraded their laws so that stuff you couldn't previously do in physical print you can now not do online.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737316)

Indeed. What more, people don't realize that it's not a fake Steve Jobs. It's Fake Steve (middle name) Jobs. Granted that it is a bit confusing but surely Fake has nothing to fear.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738304)

Indeed. What more, people don't realize that it's not a fake Steve Jobs. It's Fake Steve (middle name) Jobs. Granted that it is a bit confusing but surely Fake has nothing to fear.

Now I'm really confused - I thought Fake Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs just pretending to be Fake Steve Jobs so he could poke fun everyone who pokes fun at Steve Jobs.

And I bought an iPhone, an iPod, and an iPad because I thought he was cool and clever... :-(

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737332)

Just because it's known to be satire doesn't mean that you're not going to be found to be harming somebody. Which is the whole reason this is such a serious violation of the 1st amendment. Fraud and harm aren't always obvious or in the power of the individual doing whatever to control. Sure this could be used in cases where the person has really defrauded somebody or caused obvious harm, but without addressing parody and legitimate reasons for impersonation, I see no reason to be so optimistic. CA government is pretty fucked up.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737514)

Just because it's known to be satire doesn't mean that you're not going to be found to be harming somebody.

It's not whether you do harm, but whether you had intent to harm when you pretended to be something you aren't. This is already illegal, and it's called fraud. This is just making what is already illegal clearly illegal, perhaps even more illegal. It's just so that they can add more counts when they drag someone into court, basically.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (-1, Troll)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737454)

Its one more stab to the heart of free speech. Might get overturned in a federal challenge. One hopes.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737602)

In what context would this law be bad? It reads "...any person who knowingly and without consent credibly impersonates another actual person...." The key word here is "credibly." Thus, "Impersonation" in this bill doesn't mean a Saturday Night Live skit. It doesn't mean Fake Steve Jobs. Those aren't credible. It means me taking out a mortgage in your name, or trying to make people actually believe you just said something asinine when it was really me.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737762)

Define that key word of yours, 'credibly', and then struggle with the ramification of that definition in the context of this law.

For instance, even if you are very very bad at your comic impersonations, someone may still believe that you are the person you are impersonating for any number of reasons.

Isn't their belief, possibly based on the fact that they have never even heard of the person you are so poorly impersonating prior to the event, evidence that your terribly bad impersonation was still credible none-the-less?

Sure, the law apparently also talks about Intent.. but combining Credibility with Intent doesnt actually seem to add anything of value for the above reason.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (2)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738918)

Isn't their belief, possibly based on the fact that they have never even heard of the person you are so poorly impersonating prior to the event, evidence that your terribly bad impersonation was still credible none-the-less?

No.

Sure, the law apparently also talks about Intent..

Intent is one of the most well defined terms in law. Almost all criminal law is based around intent.

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737616)

Its one more stab to the heart of free speech.

How so? In what way is it protected free speech to fraudulently impersonate someone with the intention of causing harm?

Re:Why would Fake Steve Jobs worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737622)

Grow up already. Your rights end where my nose begins. You do NOT have to right to impersonate me in order to harm myself or others. These actions have been crimes for centuries (criminal impersonation, fraud, etc). This law just clarifies that just because you happened to do the crime online does not mean it is not a crime (just like wire fraud, mail fraud, etc).

News flash! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737354)

Identity theft in all its forms is illegal.

Now if only someone had the time and money to sue the spammers for ID theft when they use someone else's email address in the send field.

Re:News flash! (4, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737456)

Identity theft in all its forms is illegal.

So that must mean you're the real Anonymous Coward?

Re:News flash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737936)

Identity theft in all its forms is illegal.

So that must mean you're the real Anonymous Coward?

Of course he isn't -- I am.

Isn't this already covered by laws against fraud? (5, Insightful)

Damon Tog (245418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737368)

Isn't this already covered by existing laws against fraud? Do we need a separate law for each possible variation of fraud? Are they sure they don't need a law that prohibits impersonation over telegram cables or by using smoke signals?

Regards,
Abe Vigoda

Re:Isn't this already covered by laws against frau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737666)

I suppose you could compare this with the laws against unauthorised access to other people's computers. Before specific laws were passed there were several prosecutions for 'hacking', but they were all complicated by the need to express the charges as "Theft of $0.001 of electricity" or "Trespass-by-analogy".

Possibly it was felt that the existing laws and the existing case-laws for these laws were not a good match to the modern problems, and the legislature wanted to give clear guidance as to how fraud and impersonation should be treated? Maybe this is not as stupid as many on /. seem to think?

Re:Isn't this already covered by laws against frau (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737690)

Isn't this already covered by existing laws against fraud? Do we need a separate law for each possible variation of fraud?

But this is fraud ... On the Internet!

Re:Isn't this already covered by laws against frau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738404)

I'd bet that in the application of the US criminal law, the interpretation of the law is not allowed wonder off the textual form of the the written law. Also, a legal analogs are probably frowned upon, but allowed in special circumstances and with strict limitations. This would lead to a more case-by-case style of legislation (sorry, I don't know the proper translation to the concept in question) for criminal law in particularly. The behaviors outside of the written law are then simply not crimes. This is one of the principles included the concept of rule-of-law.

Re:Isn't this already covered by laws against frau (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738912)

Isn't this already covered by existing laws against fraud? Do we need a separate law for each possible variation of fraud? Are they sure they don't need a law that prohibits impersonation over telegram cables or by using smoke signals?

Regards,
Abe Vigoda

Much ceasing and desisting you must do. Confused with my name be yours. Yes.

Sincerely,
Yoda.

die!!! (-1)

merxete (1965396) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737370)

Slashdot sucks. I'm going to kill you. All you technonazi commies will burn in hell. - Sarah Palin

Re:die!!! (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737470)

I refudiate you for your attempt to impersonate Ms. Palin, who does not live within 3500 miles of California.

Re:die!!! (0)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737478)

You go, girl!

What about (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737378)

The FBI agents impersonating 13 yr old girls looking for sex, or for that matter NBC's To Catch a predator crew. It would be nice to see them punished...

Re:What about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737912)

Wha? You're on the pedophiles side?

Re:What about (1)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737974)

Devil's advocate and I'm going to not post AC because I think there's another way of looking at this and I'm willing to stand behind my views.

Let's go with "yes".

If you create an artificial supply of something that may or may not exist and you advertise its availability and a sick person takes advantage of that offer, I think there's a bigger problem than the person being sick. To Catch a Predator creates an artificially enticing "kid" then trolls for someone willing to take advantage of that "kid". My problem is that the show really should be called "To Create a Predator". What they're revealing is willingness, not inclination. Given the opportunity presented by the show's fake "kid", yes the sick guys shown are evidently willing to become pedophiles. That doesn't necessarily mean that given other opportunities presented differently they would.

When the majority of sexual abuses are conducted by relatives and other known-people, this show is missing the point by a huge factor, for ratings. That disgusts me more than the willing men involved.

Don't create new predators. Instead, focus a show on somehow exposing and stopping those that already exist.

Re:What about (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738430)

Let's go with yes. You do know what they do on that show is actually illegal right? Yeah they out them in public, but they didn't get a single conviction. The judges just threw the cases out on their asses because of the thing we have called due course and laws about collecting evidence & entrapment. There's a reason this guy who was a bit mentaly handicapped ended up on the show a few times. I just wish the show had been stopped before someone commited suicide because of their less than upstanding methods. They were all about as low as the pedo's they were looking to catch imo. It's great to catch these people, but not at the expense of "our" standards.

But won't someone think of the children!?!?!?

Oh yeah, and great choice of going AC. A show that outs AC's, and an AC defending them...

Re:What about (3, Interesting)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737962)

The FBI agents impersonating 13 yr old girls looking for sex

1. It is only "impersonating" if the person exists, not if it is a non-existent person.
2. It is not "impersonating" if you write on behalf of another person, which the FBI does if this is a real person.
3. Going to jail for a crime that you committed does not count as "harm".

The FBI would obviously be in trouble if they used the identity of a real 13 year old girl without the parents' consent.

Re:What about (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738274)

3. Going to jail for a crime that you committed does not count as "harm".

Doesn't sound like much fun to me.

LK

Re:What about (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738076)

The law is about impersonating actual individuals. You're still allowed to impersonate fictional 13 year old girls looking for sex.

Calironia's Default Deny Penal Code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737384)

Why doesn't California just do the firewall thing and outlaw everything then explicitly allow only those activities deemed to be legal in their state?

Posting as an impersonated anonymous coward...

myspace.com/barackobama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737474)

I can think of a cool place to start rolling this law out, put the POTUS in jail for a year for taking the website. harm check, intimidate check, threaten check, or defraud check

Retarded laws burn in hell

There goes Dana Carvey's youtube career (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737500)

eom

Uh-oh, CREEPERS JEEPERS PEEPERS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34737568)

Hey everybody won't you lend me your ear
There's something to fear - it's here and that's clear
Men gettin richer rapin the land
I can't understand why we don't take them in hand

Woa oh - Lord I don't want to be their fool no more
I don't want to be their fool no more
Open eyes but you're sleepin
You best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes CREEPIN in
'fore tomorrow comes CREEPIN in

Feel that our lives are in the hands of fools
Loosin their cool - it's us that they rule
Too many people sittin dead on their ass
They aint got no class people this time must pass

Woa oh - Lord I don't want to be their fool no more
Heeeeey, I don't want to be their fool no more
Open eyes but you're sleepin
You best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes CREEPIN in
'fore tomorrow comes CREEPIN in

Woah ooooooohh - yeah tomorrow comes CREEPIN'

Ooooooh hear me cryin 'cause the people like me
That long to be free are not actually
Please everybody won't you hear this song
Help a country that's wrong to someday be strong

Woa oh - Lord, I don't want to be their fool no more
No! Lord, I don't want to be their fool no more
Open eyes but you're sleepin
You best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes CREEPIN
CREEPIN'...
(tomorrow comes CREEPIN' on...)

[tick!]

Woooooooowie!

Interesting wording (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737680)

What if "the other person" you intend to harm is yourself? Civil laws -- slander, libel -- cover this paradox. Criminal law usually does not.

Oh come on. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34737938)

Calling yourself "Fake Steve Jobs" impersonates Steve Jobs about as much as saying "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV" impersonates a medical professional. It's right there in the name, ferchrissakes.

So how does the court determine intent, exactly? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738192)

[NT]

Ahl be bach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738292)

As soon as the law is repealed.

A wonderful law to protect your reputation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738320)

This will shut down a majority of the troll with the intent to do harm. We have a bill that essentially gives you plausible deniability when something is mis-using your identity.

I have a friend who played an online game [powerchallenge.com] where there is rampant GM corruption, and he decided to stand up and written a mod [youtube.com] (co-developed with nationalist gaming clan myg0t) for the game which essentially broken the status quo,. He was repeatedly harassed, and someone even managed to find his LinkedIn/Facebook/Orkut profile and spam, making smearing web pages with his real name and picture on it, linking him to child porn and antisemitism. He found out that a master GM was behind it. He end up need to use services like Reputation Defender to restore his professional image.

In other words, don't let anyone know who you are and where you live when you are #1 (or close to #1) in an online game.

With this law it gives you ability to sue "John Doe" and force those companies to reveal the IP address of those mother fuckers GM who think they have the right to stop what they call "Cheating", while from our point of view it is just "social justice".

 

Minority Report (1)

scotts13 (1371443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738378)

Oh, for heaven's sake. We already have more than enough laws to cover any conceivable actual harm, and punish those responsible. What this does is help criminalize behaviour that has the POTENTIAL for harm, something we've been working on for quite a number of years. We're trying to stop crime before it occurs, and that's a really slippery slope - ask Phillip K. Dick.

Enforcement Will be a B*tch (5, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#34738442)

Who can you enforce this against? A California resident using a California server? A California resident using an out of state server. A non-California resident using a California server? A non-California resident using a California server to defraud a California resident? The same with a non-California server? A non-everything? Will California become the East Texas of Internet Defrauding Tourism (well, hey, they need to do something to improve their economy)?

Clearly this is why politicians shouldn't be making laws regarding technology.

too bad for chris hansen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34738914)

does this include cops impersonating underage girls in chat rooms?

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