The U.S. Justice Department is working on passing a law that would make it illegal to use a false identity on Facebook and Match.com. The Justice Department statement is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow to Congress and it was discovered by CNET. The Justice Department wants to make it so that people can be prosecuted if they violate a website’s terms of service. The problem is that most people do not sit down and read hundreds of terms of service pages.
The Justice Department computer crime chief Richard Downing will be in front of Congress tomorrow insisting that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act should allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider.”
Currently the CFAA law makes it illegal for anyone to access a computer without authorization, but the Justice Department wants to expand this law to include a website’s terms of service. If the change does go through, then the government would have the right to charge someone with a felony for using a false ID on social networks.
Who should fear the changes?
I do not fear this change whatsoever. Even though some people believe that this is a violation of free speech, I do not spend time creating fake Facebook and Twitter profiles of high-profile people like George Bush and Barack Obama to fool people into believing that it is actually them. But people that do spend time fooling people could be charged for that.