california bill would crack down on e-impersonators

Online Impersonation

Battling impostors: SB-1411 is designed to punish those who use fake identities online. Credit: Christopher T. Fong and Russell Yip / The Chronicle

An article in SF Gate (San Francisco Chronicle online) by Alejandro Martinez-Cabrera highlights California State Bill 1411 (SB-1411). If passed, the bill:

would make it unlawful to knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person.

Current law addressing false impersonation is outdated and was not drafted with the technologies of the 21st century in mind.  SB 1411 brings us up to date by making these forms of cyber impersonation a punishable offense.

State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced a bill in June that would make it a misdemeanor to maliciously impersonate someone. SF Gate has previously reported on the bill here.

If Simitian’s bill passes, online impersonations with the purpose “of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding” would be punishable with a maximum fine of $1,000 and one year in jail.

The article states:

Malicious online impersonation has often been brushed away as the complaints from overly sensitive people who can’t stand parody or criticism, but a range of recent incidents have really stressed the question of where to draw the line.

Recent incidents? I might know of one.

The bill unanimously passed both the California Assembly and Senate, and now awaits Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature.

I strongly urge the governor to sign the bill. As a victim of this kind of crime, I cannot underscore how important this kind of legislation is. The first amendment was designed to protect differences of opinion, dissenting views, and to promote new ideas, not as a shield to protect criminal impersonators, forgers, and identity thieves hiding behind electronic forms of anonymity in an effort to dodge accountability and civil remedies while they perpetrate well-orchestrated, premeditated campaigns of harassment, defamation, and libel against their victims.

The law is coming.

a lesson in literary criticism from governor schwarzenegger

Letter from California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to

A letter from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. While a typical reading of the letter states, "the fact that major issues are overlooked while many unnecessary bills come to me for consideration," and concludes, "I believe it is unnecessary to sign this measure at this time," a vertical reading of the far-left-hand letters in each of lines reads: "I f@#k you."

there is no way on earth that this can be a coincidence. so, i shall interpret this as an exercise by governor schwarzenegger in literary criticism.

our beloved governator, arnold schwarzenegger, has a pair of brass ones. and it’s why i still like him.

schwarzenegger recently vetoed a poposed bill by california assemblyman tom ammiano dealing with the financing of the port of san francisco. schwarzenegger followed with a letter explaining his decision.

an article by phillip matier and andrew ross in the san francisco chronicle points out:

A straight reading of the guv’s letter laments “the fact that major issues are overlooked while many unnecessary bills come to me for consideration,” and concludes, “I believe it is unnecessary to sign this measure at this time.”

But a vertical read of the far-left-hand letters in each of the missive’s eight lines offers a more blunt explanation: “I f- you.”

apparently the governor vetoed the measure after a few choice words from ammiano to schwarzenegger:

the veto message came after Ammiano called the governor a liar and shouted from the audience to “kiss my gay ass” when Schwarzenegger unexpectedly showed up at a Democratic Party dinner in San Francisco on Oct. 7.

Ammiano later called Schwarzenegger’s attendance at the event a “cheap publicity stunt” that wasn’t at all amusing, in light of the governor’s cuts in social services, ordered furloughs of state workers and failure to act on some gay-rights issues.

so, after the governor heard what ammiano had to say, and with ammiano’s bill still on his desk, schwarzenegger vetoed it. of course, there were certainly some policy and political concerns involved, and this wasn’t done simply done out of spite, but i like the way coincidence always seems to rear its head at the most opportune times.

and that’s how it is done. just like the great acrostics of the hebrew bible, governor schwarzenegger sent a message to the democratic assemblyman and sent him a letter too.

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