Monday, July 7, 2008

Faking MySpace User Information Possible Federal Crime?

Tags: fake profiles, myspace

So last week I started part 1 of my fake profiles series, with the focus being on creating fake profiles for MySpace. Why bring it up again so soon you ask? Well, maybe because the federal courts are looking at how creating a fake profile should be considered a federal crime.

Actually, the extent to which they are going would likely criminalize most (if not all) violations of any website's terms of service. What this means is that any time you decide to fill out a form online, if you enter any false data or in any other way violate that website's terms of service, you could be sent to jail.

Well lying is bad right? And when you use a website you should follow that website's guidlines right? Perhaps. But you sure as hell shouldn't make it against the law to do otherwise.

Let's take this a little further. Let's say that I decide to put up a terms of service for this website and in it, I say that if you want to read any of my posts, you must sign up with your primary email, home phone number and home address. This is a rediculous terms of service, especially when you cannot trust me to not go ahead and spam the hell out of you or sell your info to the highest bidder. To make matters worse, who would really go out of their way to read every single word of every single terms of service on every single website they ever visit? Well, if the federal government has their way, perhaps you should start doing so because you could be breaking the law a thousand times over each day and you wouldn't even know it!

Obviously I think creating fake profiles for the sake of spamming people (or in this case harassing people) is wrong, but criminalizing the act of putting in false information for websites is the greater of two evils here. A website has every right to cancel your account and deny you access if you don't abide by their rules, but that's just it, it's their rules, not the government's. Until people feel safe with their information being online, you cannot force them to release that info to every website that asks for it.

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