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Privacy body eyes online fake profiles

October 8, 2010

Authorities are investigating whether New Zealand should follow California’s lead and make it a criminal offence to impersonate others including politicians on the internet, notably via Twitter and Facebook.

California has passed legislation making it a crime to “harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud” through the internet or other electronic means. The offence carries a fine of up to US$1000 ($1350), a year in jail or both.

“Our identity is one of the most personal things we have, and when someone misuses that it seems there ought to be some sort of deterrence,” the law’s author, State Senator Joe Simitian, told BBC News.

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