An American woman, who impersonated her ex-boyfriend on Facebook, can be tried for identity theft, a New Jersey judge said this week.
Dana Thornton created a Facebook page pretending to be her ex-boyfriend, a policeman in New Jersey, USA. She used the account to post offensive comments about him.
Ms Thornton allegedly wrote that her ex-boyfriend, a narcotics detective, was "high all the time". She claimed that he regularly used escort services and prostitutes and that he had herpes.
She once allegedly posted, "I'm a sick piece of scum with a gun."
New Jersey law states that it is illegal to impersonate someone "for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another."
Richard Roberts, defending Ms Thornton, claimed that since the law does not explicitly mention electronic communications, she was not breaking the law.
However, State Superior Court Judge David Ironson said the law is "clear and unambiguous".
He added: "The fact that the means of committing the crime are not set forth in the statute doesn't lead to the conclusion that the defendant didn't commit the crime."
Ms Thornton is awaiting a pretrial conference in December.
In the UK, previous cases have seen individuals found guilty of breaching privacy laws by impersonating others on Facebook and revealing personal details.
Other cases have resulted in defamation charges when fake Facebook profiles have published defamatory statements.
Also, it is a criminal offence to impersonate a police officer. So, in the UK, Ms Thornton could certainly be tried for several different offences.
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