Politics

New California Law To Punish People Who Steal Online Identities

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(AP)

(AP)

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PALO ALTO (KCBS) — Starting in January, impersonating someone online could mean jail time or a hefty fine.

Palo Alto State Senator Joe Simitian wrote the law at the behest of Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, who has had his online identity stolen three times.

“If people think disparaging others by impersonating them online is a prank, it’s a sad prank,” said Guardino. “Because at least with the situations with me, my brother and others, they were done in incredibly ugly, character-damaging ways. And sending it out to tens of thousands of people, the ones who know me would know better, but thousands of those who don’t would assume the worst.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Guardino said he’s anxious for the new law to take effect.

“It seems like this is becoming easier and easier for people to do and until January 1, 2011, something that they can do without consequence,” he said. “State Senator Joe Simitian and the legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger are changing that. It will now have serious consequences if you are going to be cowardly impersonating someone online.”

Those consequences could include up to a thousand dollar fine and a year in jail.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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