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But the court disagreed, noting that additional language had been added to the identity theft statute, which had previously been limited to attempts to obtain “credit, goods, or services,” showing an intent to extend the law’s reach beyond identity theft for purely financial gain.
The court also found that the defendant had willfully obtained his classmate’s password even though he claimed that he received it through an unsolicited text message.
The court noted that the boy “willfully obtained the victim’s password when he chose to remember the password from the text message, and later affirmatively used the password to gain access to the victim’s electronic accounts.” Do We Need E-Personation Statutes?
At present, only three states—California, New York and Texas— have specific e-personation statutes.
Calling the comments that Thornton allegedly posted about the detective “horrendous,” the judge noted that while the current law does not specifically address electronic communications, it clearly applies to a broad spectrum of impersonation techniques.
Reportedly, the New Jersey legislature now intends to amend its identify theft statute to further clarify that it does, indeed, apply to electronic communications.
In October, in one of the first prosecutions under the California law, Jesus Felix, a 22-year-old Los Angeles man, admitted to creating 130 Facebook pages and numerous Craigslist listings with sexually explicit photographs of his former girlfriend.
For example, just this month, a Morris County, New Jersey judge ruled that a case would proceed to trial, based on 41-year-old Dana Thornton’s alleged creation of a fake Facebook profile about her ex-boyfriend, a police detective.
I will argue that the California statute is unhelpful and that existing laws are likely to be sufficient to deal with cases of e-personation that is fraudulent, defamatory, or otherwise harmful to the victim.
Why the Court Ruled Against Thornton on Her Motion to Dismiss the Indictment Thornton’s attorney, Richard Roberts—in a motion to dismiss the indictment—argued that “[I]n New Jersey, no courts have ever ruled that creating a profile of anyone online, without the individual’s consent, constitutes false impersonation.
(However, whether this case should proceed in criminal court, rather than as a civil case, is a different issue).
I will contrast the New Jersey court’s approach with that of California—where the legislature has enacted a new statute focused exclusively on online e-personation.
Victims have needed a law they can turn to.” Senator Simitian then went on to provide examples of what he views as harmful e-personation, such as these: A teacher was impersonated by someone on Facebook whose posts made it seem as though the teacher was mocking a disabled student.