Common to gamers and early internet users, the favorite pastime fantasy of totally faking your identity online actually used to be illegal in Rhode Island. But that changed last month, according to Ars Technica.
Rhode Island state law makers voted this month to repeal an obscure 1989 law that forbid spreading untruths online, and punished scofflaws with a misdemeanor charge and a $500 fine.
The law was enacted to stop scammers and con artists from preying on the denizens of the then-tiny Internet. But it also weirdly included over-broad language that, “outlawed the ‘transmission of false data’ regardless of whether liars stood to profit from their deception or not,” reported the Associated Press.
This meant that announcing you were the Lizard King, or claiming someone’s mother loved bears a little too much, or telling the good people of Match.com that you’re blonde when you’re really brunette, would earn you a criminal record.
Luckily, Rhode Island is taking more rational steps to approaching the dubious nature of facts on the Internet than others. Recently, one of China’s most popular social media sites introduced a points system where people too frequently found spreading “untruths” get kicked off the service. But for the moment, while all these Rhode Islanders are drunk on their new freedom, we should take all of their status updates with a grain of salt.
[via Ars Technica]