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Arizona moves to outlaw online impersonators


Critics of an Internet censorship bill introduced in the Arizona House fear that proposed legislation could chill First Amendment-protected rights.
If HB 2004 passes, it’ll be a crime punishable by prison to lie on the Internet. Administrators of Twitter parody accounts and other online impersonators will be forced to throw in the towel, or else face as much as one-and-a-half years in prison for violating a law expected to soon go up for debate.

Arizona House Bill 2004

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1.  Title 13, chapter 20, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 13-2012, to read:
13-2012.  Online impersonation; defenses; classification; definitions
A.  A PERSON COMMITS ONLINE IMPERSONATION IF THE PERSON, WITHOUT OBTAINING THE OTHER PERSON’S CONSENT AND WITH THE INTENT TO HARM, DEFRAUD, INTIMIDATE OR THREATEN ANY PERSON, USES THE NAME OR PERSONA OF ANOTHER PERSON TO DO EITHER OF THE FOLLOWING:
1.  CREATE A WEB PAGE ON A COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE OR OTHER INTERNET WEBSITE.
2.  POST OR SEND ONE OR MORE MESSAGES ON OR THROUGH A COMMERCIAL SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE OR OTHER INTERNET WEBSITE, OTHER THAN ON OR THROUGH AN ELECTRONIC MAIL PROGRAM OR MESSAGE BOARD PROGRAM.
B.  A PERSON COMMITS ONLINE IMPERSONATION IF THE PERSON SENDS AN ELECTRONIC MAIL, INSTANT MESSAGE, TEXT MESSAGE OR SIMILAR COMMUNICATION THAT REFERENCES A NAME, DOMAIN ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER OR OTHER ITEM OF PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION BELONGING TO ANY PERSON AND ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY:

Rep. Michelle Ugenti, a Republican lawmaker that represents the state’s District 8, proposed her parody ban bill back in December, citing complaints from a constituent that claimed to have been harassed on the Web. Her bill is among the latest that attempt to thwart cyberbullying, and she says it won’t be last. It might, though, be the most extreme.
“It’s an issue that’s only going to get bigger,” Ugenti told the Arizona Republic last month. ”The Internet has gone from a novelty to having a position of credibility, and it’s appropriate to have statutes that address it specifically.”
Rep. Ugenti thinks she can help achieve that in Arizona, and strives to do as much through HB 2004, an amendment to the state’s impersonation law. HB 2004 would add verbiage to the law that’s aimed at making sure no one has to worry about any online imposters making fake posts in an attempt to wreak havoc. For the conservative lawmaker, it’s legislation that will limit just how far computer users can go with certain conduct online. Others, though, say it could be the start of much larger censorship problems.
“The bill has a high standard,” Rep. Ugenti told the Republic. “It’s the impersonation without the individual’s consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate and threaten.”  MORE

Short URL: http://www.newsnet14.com/?p=119376

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