RI repeals law that made it a crime to fib online
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — It may be deceitful, but it’s no longer a crime in Rhode Island to go online and lie about something as innocuous as your weight or your age.
State lawmakers voted this month to repeal an obscure 1989 law that made fibbing on the Internet a misdemeanor punishable by fines of up to $500 and as much as a year in prison.
Fudge your age on a dating site? Text your spouse claiming to be someplace you’re not? Email mom to say how much you absolutely love that ugly holiday sweater she sent you? In Rhode Island, you were breaking the law.
“This law made virtually the entire population of Rhode Island a criminal,” said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union. “When this bill was enacted nobody had any idea what its ramifications were. Telling fibs may be wrong, but it shouldn’t be criminal activity.”
Only a handful of people were ever prosecuted for lying online, but legislators said it made no sense to keep a law on the books that is violated so often by so many people.