Lying online could be illegal in the US soon

The U.S. Department of Justice asked Congress to extend current laws by actually going after those who are lying online or using a false name when signing up for a service to be a federal crime.

According to Richard Downing, deputy section chief of the Computer Crimes division, Congress needs to revise the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and related legislation so that the DOJ can go after online criminals more effectively. he said that the proposed changes would improve cyber-security for Americans, critical infrastructure and government systems.

Along with tougher penalties, Downing says the law needs to be updated to include attacks on computers other than those belonging to government and financial institutions.

The current law has also been used in a number of civil lawsuits, such as when employers go after former employees who left the organization with customer lists and other sensitive data.

In theory, you could be prosecuted and fined [or a jail sentence] for something as simple as using a different name, a different birth date or even a different weight [say on an online dating site you say you are 150 lbs when you are in fact 180 lbs].

On a web site where I find the request for my birth date is irrelevant, I generally add one day, one month and a year to my actual birth date. Still easy to remember. But I do this [as I said] because a site asking for my birth date shouldn’t be relevant. On the other hand, saying you are 22 when you are actually 16, just so you can get into a web site that doesn’t allow any non-adults isn’t right.

But Downing said that “The DOJ is in no way interested in bringing cases against people who lie about their age on dating sites, or anything of the sort. We don’t have the time or resources to do that.”  Phew. 🙂

Still with this proposed law update, concerned about the likelihood of the law being abused in frivolous civil lawsuits brought against individuals for lying on dating profiles or social networking sites could take place more often.


About ebraiter
computer guy

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