May 2, 2012

Online Impersonation bill making its way through legislature

5-2-2012 Louisiana:

BATON ROUGE,LA (NBC33) — "My family was torn apart four years ago because of someone on the Internet who was impersonating someone else," says Ethel Boudin.

Ethel Boudin is Mark Fruge's mother. He is now a registered sex offender. This is because four years ago he met up with a juvenile he thought was an adult. He claims she lied about her age in an online dating website.

"I don't know many fourteen-year olds that would be on a telephone at one o'clock in the morning with a best friend in the background describing sexual acts in the manner that this friend did," says Fruge.

In order to try and stop this from happening New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno introduced House Bill 96. It would make it illegal to impersonate an actual person online with the intent of doing harm to them.

"It's become such a problem across the country that in the past year and a half California, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, New York, Hawaii and Illinois have all put legislation in place making this a crime," says Moreno.

The penalty for breaking this law would be at least ten days in jail and a fine of at least $250. Fruge believes this is a good first step but believes the bill doesn't go far enough.

"This is defining impersonation as another actual person. To impersonate someone you do not actually have to be another actual person," says Fruge.

His example: "My name is Mark Fruge. I am 34 years old, but if I tell Facebook my name is Mark Fruge and I am 13 I am impersonating someone else," says Fruge.

But Moreno says adding that to the bill would change it too much.

"Any type of amendment to broaden the language would be problematic...because that could widen the net too much and catch people who really haven't committed any crime," says Moreno.

The Senate Committee agreed and didn't add any amendments to the bill. ..Source.. by NBC33

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