Offensive behaviours – distortions

Careful WithThat Fake Social Networking Profile; If You ‘Personate’ Someone, You Can Go To Jail(TechDirt, 02 June 2010) – the article is critical of the offence: it should not be criminal to impersonate somebody on Facebook in California. I tend to disagree. Using the name of somebody can be criminal whatever the motives. French law considers that the simple use of a name is an offence, although a minor one. But the conjunction of using another’s name with fraud notably is in most jurisdictions a crime; why not for a fake webpage if this webpage has not been intended as a work of fiction but as the description of someone’s life and thoughts? Of course, torts may be a better tool to deal with such issues, but criminal law cannot be excluded per se.

On the other hand, criminal law cannot be misused just because the behaviour is wrong and does not fit other crimes than hacking for example. Mom Who Used Son’s Facebook Account Found Guilty Of Online Harassment (TechDirt, 28 May 2010). what she did was hardly constitutive of harassment: she accessed his account, changed the password and used the Facebook account…

same for banning sentences or pre-trial measures, a “Guy Who Encouraged People To Commit Suicide Online Banned From The Internet” (TechDirt, 27 may 2010), but this is far too broad a measure

About Audrey Guinchard

Senior Lecturer @ University of Essex (UK)
This entry was posted in Offences - Defamation, Offences - Harassment, Sentencing. Bookmark the permalink.

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