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Arizona Bill Would Outlaw Online Impersonation

January 6, 2013

By Gilbert Falso :: 4:54 am

Internet Impersonation Bill ArizonaArizona state representative Michelle Ugenti (R) has proposed Arizona House Bill 2004, calling for the outlawing of online impersonation without permission and with malicious intent.

Critics of the bill are worried that it violates First Amendment Rights, and does not leave room for parodies.

The bill’s language makes it a felony offense to create a website or social networking profile in someone else’s name with the intention to “harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten” that person or others. It would be a misdemeanor for anyone to send an electronic message or text that appears to come from another person with an intention to harm or defraud.

Ugenti says she authored the bill after receiving a plea for help from a constituent who had been impersonated on Facebook and had both her reputation placed in jeopardy.

“The Internet has gone from a novelty to having a position of credibility, and it’s appropriate to have statutes that address it specifically,” Ugenti said to The Arizona Republic newspaper.

In 2012, Arizona passed a bill that outlawed online threats and harassment.

Ugenti has represented the 8th district of Arizona since January 10, 2011. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Business Administration. Before entering politics, she worked as a real estate agent.