Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fighting antisocial media

Victims of malicious impersonation attacks on Facebook, Craigslist and other electronic media now have another means of holding the culprits accountable, thanks to a bill signed March 7 by Gov. Gregoire.
House bill 1652 was passed by the House in 2011 but died in the Senate when the session ended. This session, it made it through both houses on unanimous votes.
The measure specifies that under Washington state law, a person may sue someone who intentionally impersonates the victim on a social networking site or online bulletin board to harass, threaten, defraud or humiliate the victim so that the victim suffers financial or physical harm.
Supporters of the bill cited cases from Washington and around the country in which electronic impersonators posted phony Craigslist ads that led to sexual assaults and thefts or created a humiliating fake Facebook page in the name of the victim.
The bill excludes impersonation that would be protected as political, artistic or satirical expression, or that is performed by law enforcement personnel in a criminal investigation.
Washington state law has not specifically recognized electronic impersonation as an offense, and the malicious behavior could be difficult to take legal action against absent such a recognition.
For more on “e-personation,” click here to read a January article in the Tacoma News Tribune.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.