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MISSISSIPPI PASSES LAW PROHIBITING ONLINE IMPERSONATION

House Bill 552 goes into effect today. It is entitled “AN ACT TO CREATE THE OFFENSE OF ONLINE IMPERSONATION; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.”

It provides as follows:
 
SECTION 1.
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person who knowingly and without consent impersonates another actual person through or on an Internet website or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding another person is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) For purposes of this section, an impersonation is credible if another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated.

(3) For purposes of this section, "electronic means" shall include opening an email account or an account or profile on a social networking Internet website in another person's name.

(4) A violation of this section is punishable by a fine of not less than Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) and not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment for not less than ten (10) days and not more than one (1) year, or both.

(5) This section shall not preclude prosecution under any other provision of law and shall be considered supplemental thereto.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2011.