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October 25, 2006

Criminal MySpace Impersonation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ryan Jones @ 12:00 am

It seems like the MySpace stories in the news get stranger by the day, and this one is no exception. Police in Farmington, Conn have charged a 13 year old girl with criminal impersonation for creating a MySpace profile claiming to be her teacher. The article doesn’t say what the profile said, but we can probably assume that it wasn’t nice things.

Now, I’m not denying the school should do something about this issue – they should. The consequences could be bad if a student were to send a confidential message to the teacher, or if the blog said something referencing a student. Do I think they should have charged her with criminal impersonation? Hell no.

If we look at the legal defintion of criminal impersonation then we notice some nice red text there. (note: I know this is a colorado definition. I check the Conneticut law and it’s the same. I picked this page because it highlights what I want to talk about.)

It’s hard to see how creating a fake MySpace about a teacher gives this particular 13 year old any unlawful benefits, and it clearly doesn’t subject the teacher to any legal proceedings.

Hopefully this will all be handled without lawyers or prosecutors and the girl will learn an important lesson about what you can and can’t post on the internet (although legally I think she had this right).

While we’re on the lesson train, maybe schools will take note and learn that:
a.) Matters like this are better handled with sit down talks between teachers, students, and parents.

b.) They can’t control what students do on the internet outside of the classroom.

http://dearmckenzie.com/defau11.php Update: I should probably add that IANAL, so don’t go creating fake myspace profiles because I said it should be legal.

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