Do any of your Facebook friends have tongue in cheek or just outright pseudonyms on the social network?
We all know the internet is built on a foundation of lies, untruths and Ever conceal an important detail on Match.com, OKCupid or eHarmony? Better start saving up for bail, if the US Department of Justice manages to make such actions a federal crime. Fake names, fudged height or weight stats or other internet little white lies could fall afoul of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), as CNET explains:
The law must allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider,” Richard Downing, the Justice Department’s deputy computer crime chief [is expected to explain to Congress]… Scaling back that law “would make it difficult or impossible to deter and address serious insider threats through prosecution,” and jeopardize prosecutions involving identity theft, misuse of government databases, and privacy invasions, according to Downing.
Opponents of the regulations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU and FreedomWorks pointed out some of the obvious flaws in pushing the prosecution of such acts in a letter written last August:
“If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime,” the letter says. “Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law.”
Scary? The laws have already been used to prosecute, in the case of Lori Drew- the woman who used MySpace to bully a friend of her daughter’s. (The harassed girl took her own life, and Drew was widely pilloried for her role in the teen’s suicide.) Have you already set out on the path of becoming a felon by using a middle instead of surname on Facebook, for instance?