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AZ Bill Would Ban Posing As Others Online, Regardless of Intent

If passed, an Arizona bill would ban individuals from posing as others online, joining about a dozen states with similar laws. This would include punishing users who create parody accounts on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The state says it could help fight fraud and identity theft. However others, such as Judge Andrew Napolitano, say it's unnecessary legislation. Acts of impersonation with the intent to do harm are punishable by laws already on the books.

This new bill, the judge says, would criminalize the impersonation attempt even if there was no harm done. "I would think the state has better things to do than get involved in this."

The judge gave the example of a mother creating

a Facebook account in the name of her child in order to teach him or her about the proper ways to use social media. Under such a statute, that mother could be prosecuted for impersonation.

"When we mire ourselves in more laws than we need," the judge argued, "we make things more complicated, more expensive and therefore less free."

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