Social networking and identity theft

I though I wrote about it but can’t find the post (please tell me if you do). So the issue is about a fake profile created on Facebook involving a Morrocan prince. Apparently, the person has been discovered and since then sentenced to three years imprisonment in Morroco for identity fraud. Mr Masnick, from TechDirt, disagrees on the harshness of the sentence and the principle of prosecuting the offender. He thinks the reaction is disproportionate to the crime.
I can’t disagree that three years, when there is no money gain and no defamatory statements, is harsh. But on the principle of prosecuting, sorry, I wholly agree. A fake profile in a CV or a newspaper would certainly have attracted prosecution, so why not when it’s on the web? The public interest defended here is that of integrity of information. In that sense, resorting to a take down notice, as suggested in the article, does not seem appropriate. Moreover, this idea of constantly using take down notices is not particularly protective of freedom of speech, for there is absolutely no impartial control on who says what; the procedure actually bypasses completely judicial proceedings and as such attracts the same criticisms as it does for defamatory statements. “Moroccan Man Pardoned For Fake Facebook Profile” (19 March 2008)

About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Offences - Fraud, Social networking. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Social networking and identity theft

  1. Anonymous says:

    Update on that front: not a crime in itself to create fake friends on Facebook, but their use can be dodgy or criminal. For a dodgy use, dispelled by mere checking, see the fake friends created by Ticketmaster an American company not in the good books of consumers.

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