Make sure to use your ‘real’ name on MySpace

Recently Lori Drew was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for signing up for a MySpace account under a fake name. While the larger circumstances were quite shocking (and have been covered enough I don’t think I need to go into them), she was charged for nothing more than pretending to be someone else on the Internet. The indictment calls this a felony, under title 130 section (a) (2) (c) of the US Code, which criminalizes anyone who “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains information from any protected computer if the conduct involved an interstate or foreign communication.” The access to MySpace was unauthorized because using a fake name violated the terms of service. The information from a “protected computer” was the profiles of other MySpace users.

If this is found to be a valid interpretation of the law, it’s really quite frightening. If you violate the Terms of Service of a website, you can be charged with hacking. That’s an astounding concept. Does this mean that everyone who uses Bugmenot could be prosecuted? Also, this isn’t a minor crime, it’s a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment per count. In Drew’s case she was charged with three counts for accessing MySpace on three different occasions. (link)

(excuse me while I delete a few MySpace accounts…)


1 Response to “Make sure to use your ‘real’ name on MySpace”

  1. 1 Identity Theft Secrets July 10, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    MySpace and other social networking sites are prime targets for identity theft, especially making minors the victims of identity theft as they are the ones most likely to share information that they should not. It is really a “crime” to create a false name to use for your profile in an effort to protect yourself? In a way, it’s really one of the more sane and safe things to do, your real identity is not posted nor can it be used.

    But what happens when using this “fake” name results in identity theft? Who is ultimately responsible. This is just one more example of the need for more protection and provention on the part of parents, sites and individuals to prohibt identity theft.

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