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doesitmatter

@grnet.gr

Is it legal to give fake information on the Internet?

i'm not talking about giving fake information to stores for fraudulent purposes.

i'm just talking about giving information to sites that don't involve money at all.

say someone signs up for a new email account, for example. if they give a fake name, fake birthday, fake zip code, etc, have they done anything against the law? if so, how does one maintain one's online privacy without breaking the law, aside from not using the internet at all?


Rebrider
Been There Done That
Premium
join:2000-11-23

3 recommendations

said by doesitmatter :

i'm not talking about giving fake information to stores for fraudulent purposes.

i'm just talking about giving information to sites that don't involve money at all.

say someone signs up for a new email account, for example. if they give a fake name, fake birthday, fake zip code, etc, have they done anything against the law? if so, how does one maintain one's online privacy without breaking the law, aside from not using the internet at all?

It is done all the time has been for years. I have lots of throw away email accounts. No where does it say you have to give a certain email address or anything else. As long as you are not committing fraud to commit a criminal act.


NOYB
St. John 3.16
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2 recommendations

reply to doesitmatter

Think that may depend on ones location.

In the U.S. I highly doubt it. Though I have no official knowledge either way on the subject.


dib22

join:2002-01-27
Kansas City, MO

2 recommendations

reply to doesitmatter
in the usa, terms of service are not laws. it is not illegal.


Cthen
Premium
join:2004-08-01
Detroit, MI

3 recommendations

reply to doesitmatter
No law against it what so ever.


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
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Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to doesitmatter
I just wing it:
For example I just pull an email outta thin air and use it to join a web site. That has stopped for many places out there, because now they send you an activation link.

I used to use an email lie: catslovedogs111@sniffmybutt.com
And surprisingly it would get accepted. But now that is pretty much gone.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


neochu

join:2008-12-12
Windsor, ON

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to doesitmatter
I used to belong to a forum that required us to consent to background checks (including online monitoring) due to the nature of the discussions involved. The law required administration to have PII (Personally Identifying Information) on its members due to the nature of what was being discussed -- so I understand how this works a bit for my own situation.

The law involved goes beyond this forum and depends on country of residence so I will speak universally (I see a greek email, for example).

Its not illegal to intentionally mislead people with false information in a public profile, but it wont do any good for your reputation in social interactions. It may also wind up having you removed from the service or website if its found you have broken any Terms of Service. You have no legal recourse if this happens.

Public profiles though, are usually optional and in 90% of the communities I belong to you can leave most information completely blank. This is a much more polite way of maintaining your "public privacy" then filling it in with information that can conflict with your postings.

(people get really good with being able to root that out)

This can include an email address though as long as the service is acceptable to administration and it works you can use whatever you want (as long as the address is in good taste). Most places will let you hide this as well.

Most poeple assume, that if your deliberately providing false information your up to no good. Its a technique that people who wish to do "harm" use to hide themselves from retribution. Plus you would be caught in your own lie. It varies from community to community though and depends on the material being handled or discussed.

Depending on your activity(ies) this can put you in "breach of trust" which has the potential of civil issues (though nothing criminal) if things go really wrong...

Proper trade-craft is a bit more subtle then outright lying, involves a bit more finesse and very tight control on how you post and interact through such services.

Email traces can be easily averted by setting up multiple "single purpose" emails across multiple services (when multiple accounts are allowed) and tightly controlling which is used for what. This allows you to have "several" identities (such as a professional, vs multiple social) without having to provide false information.

For setting up an email like Gmail. Google asks you for real life information for administration purposes. This is of course only between you and google and the public can't see it. Its private unless it asks you for any "PROFILE" information.

Your level of trust on "private" may vary.

They may also have to LEGALLY verify your country (for laws related to content and copyright, date of birth, IP address (rarely) or other specified info (like Google Wallet). You can give false information here and still obtain an account but Google will remove it if anything trips them off you are not providing accurate information.

It's a try your own risk thing.

And since the Gmail account can be used on Youtube, Instant Messenger, Blogger, Groups, and Google+ you will have a public profile attached to the email that "the curious public" will see. You can set that accordingly, like anywhere else.

OZO
Premium
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kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to doesitmatter
Is it legal to give fake information on the Internet?

If you have not noticed yet, Internet is full of fake information, misleading data, misconceptions, marketing and such... So, you won't be the first one, who adds the mess there.
--
Keep it simple, it'll become complex by itself...


THZNDUP
Deorum Offensa Diis Curae
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Lard
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4 recommendations

reply to doesitmatter
Bonjour!

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=bufTna0W ··· Tna0WArc


red2

@fastwebnet.it
With regards to the US, for something to be illegal, you have to break a law. So which law requires you to provide correct info? How would this be any different then when a writer publishes under a pseudonym?

This applies not only on the internet but in general in person as well. In some jurisdictions, but NOT all, you can even lie to a local police officer and you are NOT committing a crime, unless your lie relates to some criminal activity or its investigation. I believe, though, that you CANNOT lie to federal officers. Mind you, I wouldn't recommend it, but the issue is whether you would be breaking a law or not.

It usually isn't the false information that's the issue, but the intent. If you intend to deceive someone to gain something, then you commit fraud.

Giving a fake name, address, email, birthday, etc., particularly on the internet, could be deemed to be simply protecting your privacy. Since companies ILLEGALLY disclose this information sometimes without your permission, and what chance would you have to prove it, prevention is probably your best recourse. Why would they need to know your birthday, other than the year to know if you are of legal age to enter into a contact?


Anonymous1

@verizon.net
Breaking a TOS can be considered criminal in the US. The CFAA and other anti-hacking laws have been sometimes interpreted to include breaching TOS, e.g. providing false information.

That's why the EFF and ACLU have been trying to change the law such that a breach of contract cannot be considered criminal.

dave
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-04
not in ohio
kudos:8
reply to doesitmatter
quote:
Is it legal to give fake information on the internet?
No.


red2

@fastwebnet.it
reply to Anonymous1
said by Anonymous1 :

Breaking a TOS can be considered criminal in the US. The CFAA and other anti-hacking laws have been sometimes interpreted to include breaching TOS, e.g. providing false information.

That's why the EFF and ACLU have been trying to change the law such that a breach of contract cannot be considered criminal.

Breach of contract is NOT a crime. It is a violation of civil law.

If you try to circumvent what you AGREE to (e.g. to gain free access, you agree to watch advertising), this COULD be considered a breach of your agreement. Of course, the burden would be on them to prove it, so why would they go to such expense?

However, where are you agreeing to provide correct information? That would need to be specifically spelled out in the TOS.

You are quite right that corporations are TRYING to criminalize such things. However, if they want to INTERPET the CFAA this way, as this article points out, they could try to prosecute you for many things, including allowing your kid to access your account, being impolite in your comments on the New York Times website, or even saying you are tall, dark and handsome, when you are short, fair-skinned and ugly: »www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/01/re ··· -service

For the last one, no doubt your lawyer would argue that you've been punished enough already.


neochu

join:2008-12-12
Windsor, ON

1 recommendation

said by red2 :

If you try to circumvent what you AGREE to (e.g. to gain free access, you agree to watch advertising), this COULD be considered a breach of your agreement. Of course, the burden would be on them to prove it, so why would they go to such expense?

Most sites wont go through trying to prove it. If its too much of a risk or "trouble" they'll just pull your account with no reason or explanation.

US law allows that as well.


mackey
Premium
join:2007-08-20
kudos:14

1 recommendation

reply to red2
said by red2 :

said by Anonymous1 :

Breaking a TOS can be considered criminal in the US. The CFAA and other anti-hacking laws have been sometimes interpreted to include breaching TOS, e.g. providing false information.

That's why the EFF and ACLU have been trying to change the law such that a breach of contract cannot be considered criminal.

Breach of contract is NOT a crime. It is a violation of civil law.

Ahem, »www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/1 ··· w-pla-5/
quote:
That’s when prosecutors in Los Angeles sought to indict Drew, charging her with unauthorized access to MySpace’s computers, using a federal anti-hacking statute known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Prosecutors charged that Drew was guilty of the crime by violating MySpace’s terms-of-service agreement when she and her co-conspirators allegedly provided false information to open the account and pose online as the 16-year-old boy.
/M


neochu

join:2008-12-12
Windsor, ON

1 recommendation

said by mackey:

Ahem, »www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/1 ··· w-pla-5/

quote:
That’s when prosecutors in Los Angeles sought to indict Drew, charging her with unauthorized access to MySpace’s computers, using a federal anti-hacking statute known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Prosecutors charged that Drew was guilty of the crime by violating MySpace’s terms-of-service agreement when she and her co-conspirators allegedly provided false information to open the account and pose online as the 16-year-old boy.
/M

In that case the perpetrators created a false profile to harass and intimidate another person. If its the case I am thinking of then the victim was harassed to death. Which IMHO is criminal harassment--a crime.

It is controversial though.


red2

@fastwebnet.it
reply to neochu
said by neochu:

Most sites wont go through trying to prove it. If its too much of a risk or "trouble" they'll just pull your account with no reason or explanation.
US law allows that as well.

Precisely. That's why the question, why worry?

Unless you commit an actual crime, it is extremely unlikely that faking your name or anything else violates any law. And someone trying to construe it as such, and willing to go to court to see if they can get it interpreted that way, has to have a good reason for doing so.

So at worse, your account will be deleted.

The case that to me is more interesting is the actress that claims that imdb ruined her career. They determined her age by her credit card records and then added it to her profile. And because she is older than she looks, she claims that their "outing", ruined her career.

Kearnstd
Space Elf
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Mullica Hill, NJ
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reply to doesitmatter
I think it depends on what the site is used for. On a government website it could be illegal. On the general internet no you can give fake names all you want. The very fact you can post to this site as an anon user is proof of that.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


jaykaykay
4 Ever Young
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USA
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reply to doesitmatter
There are very few places where I don't give false info. However, that, too, depends upon the site and what it's used for. I don't care if it's legal. To me, it's simply a 'white lie', and while some might consider it wrong, fie on them. There is little enough that can be done for a small amount of privacy on the computer, and even false info isn't private. My thought is obviously, yes, go for it! Does it matter? Only if it does to you, personally.
--
JKK

Age is a very high price to pay for my maturity. If I can't stay young, I can at least stay immature!

»www.pbase.com/jaykaykay


easonin
Rock Ridge, FL

join:2008-07-08

1 recommendation

reply to Snakeoil
said by Snakeoil:

I just wing it:
For example I just pull an email outta thin air and use it to join a web site. That has stopped for many places out there, because now they send you an activation link.

I used to use an email lie: catslovedogs111@sniffmybutt.com
And surprisingly it would get accepted. But now that is pretty much gone.

»10minutemail.com/10MinuteMail/in ··· dex.html
Now you don't have fake it! This site is awesome for what you're talking about.
--
You should vote for the Colostomy Bag that I'm voting for! This one appears to be better than that other one!


nwrickert
sand groper
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Geneva, IL
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reply to doesitmatter
said by doesitmatter :

i'm just talking about giving information to sites that don't involve money at all.

So I shouldn't have been saying that my email address is <nobody@nowhere.com>
and I should not have said that my password is "secret"
and I should not have given out 123-45-6789 as a social security number?

What will the control freaks object to next?
--
AT&T Uverse; Buffalo WHR-300HP router (behind the 2wire gateway); openSuSE 12.3 RC2; firefox 19.0


red2

@fastwebnet.it
reply to mackey
Ahem. I remember this case well. There was outrage when cyberbullying led to a 13 year old's death. So they TRIED every way possible to charge her.

However, as I've already stated, unless they have a good REASON to go after you for faking your name (public outrage over a 13 year old's death is a good reason), merely faking a name is NOT a crime.

And what was the verdict?

"This case was heard by a jury, and the jury's verdict was announced on November 26, 2008.[1] The jury was deadlocked on Count One for Conspiracy, but unanimously found Drew not guilty of Counts Two through Four. The jury did, however, find Drew guilty of a misdemeanor violation of the CFAA.[4]

On November 23, 2008, Drew filed a motion for acquittal.[10] On Aug. 28, 2009, U.S. District Judge George H. Wu formally granted Drew's motion for acquittal, overturning the jury's guilty verdict.[10]" »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Sta ··· ori_Drew

So even when they tried to have the court INTERPRET that the violation of the TOS was a crime because of the cyberbullying of a 13 yr old, they could NOT make it stick.

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
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reply to doesitmatter
said by doesitmatter :

i'm not talking about giving fake information to stores for fraudulent purposes.

i'm just talking about giving information to sites that don't involve money at all.

"On the internet nobody knows you're a dog" -- New Yorker magazine cartoon

Nor does anyone know if you're Dick Cheney in drag.

Protect yourself and use anonymous/fake info whenever you can. It drives the NSA wild.


NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
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reply to nwrickert
said by nwrickert:

said by doesitmatter :

i'm just talking about giving information to sites that don't involve money at all.

So I shouldn't have been saying that my email address is <nobody@nowhere.com>

Hallo, Burda!!! Now we know who you really are!!!!!
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum


fatness
subtle
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fishing
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reply to doesitmatter
quote:
Is it legal to give fake information on the Internet?
I'm the new pope.


vaxvms
ferroequine fan
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Wormtown
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reply to doesitmatter
If I give a fake name on the internet will they prosecute the real me of the fake me?
--
The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!


antdude
A Matrix Ant
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reply to fatness
said by fatness:

quote:
Is it legal to give fake information on the Internet?
I'm the new pope.

No, I'm the new pope.


antdude
A Matrix Ant
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join:2001-03-25
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·Time Warner Cable

1 edit
reply to MaynardKrebs
said by MaynardKrebs:

said by doesitmatter :

i'm not talking about giving fake information to stores for fraudulent purposes.

i'm just talking about giving information to sites that don't involve money at all.

"On the internet nobody knows you're a dog" -- New Yorker magazine cartoon

Nor does anyone know if you're Dick Cheney in drag.

Protect yourself and use anonymous/fake info whenever you can. It drives the NSA wild.

I am an ant.
--
Ant @ AQFL.net and AntFarm.ma.cx. Please do not IM/e-mail me for technical support. Use this forum or better, »community.norton.com ! Disclaimer: The views expressed in this posting are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

dave
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not in ohio
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reply to antdude
said by antdude:

said by fatness:

I'm the new pope.

No, I'm the new pope.

One pope over the line...

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
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reply to vaxvms
said by vaxvms:

If I give a fake name on the internet will they prosecute the real me of the fake me?

They'll likely prosecute both of you and call it a criminal conspiracy.