New "e-personation" bill may limit your online revenge options

California Senator Joe Simitian drafted a new bill that would make it a misdemeanor to impersonate someone online — a.k.a. “e-personation” — with the purpose “of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding.” If busted for e-personation, you could get $1,000 in fines and/or one year in prison. The bill was passed unanimously by both the Senate and the Assembly so just needs Ahnold’s signature to become law in California.

This would mean, for example, that it would be illegal to create a Facebook or Twitter account with someone else’s name, and then use that account to embarrass that person. In other words, wounded exes who take to the Internet to screw with the asshole who dumped them may now face jail time if they’re caught. Fortunately, wounded exes everywhere have someone on their side: the online human rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Okay, so the EFF doesn’t explicitly say that they’re protecting the rights of the heartbroken. What they say instead is that “impersonating corporations and public officials has become an important and powerful form of political activism, especially online.”

But hey, maybe it’ll force everybody to be a little more creative when it comes to revenge. After all, posing as your ex and requesting dirty monkey sex on Craigslist is so 2009.


photo by Mindsay Mohan