Online Impersonation

Have you ever heard of or watched the TV show "Catfish"?

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If you haven’t, Catfish is a TV show that uncovers stories of online romantic relationships in which one person is involved with (and has usually sent money to) another person they have never seen. Some of the “couples” will have communicated online for several months without having ever seen one another, and the investigation usually reveals that the person on the other end was not who they claimed to be.

The show gave rise to the popular term “catfish,” which Merriam-Webster defines as the act of deceiving someone by creating a false personal profile online. Though it may be the most common, catfishing is merely one form of online impersonation. While many people may find it entertaining, catfishing and other methods of online impersonation can come with serious consequences.

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Computer Restrictions on Supervised Sex Offenders

Last week I wrote about the North Carolina law that makes it a crime for any registered sex offender to use a commercial social network, G.S. 14-202.5. In that post I noted that similar laws in other states have been overturned or limited on First Amendment grounds, and that litigation on the constitutionality of our … Read more

Restrictions on Computer or Internet Use as Part of a Sentence

Jamie recently blogged here about ad hoc conditions of probation, i.e., conditions other than the statutory ones. Because I’m interested in criminal law and technology, I wanted to add a follow-up post about restrictions on computer or internet use as part of a criminal sentence. It’s a timely topic, both because of Jamie’s post and … Read more