2014 Rhode Island General Laws
Title 11 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 11-52 - Computer Crime
Section 11-52-7.1 - Online impersonation.
§ 11-52-7.1 Online impersonation. (a) Definitions, as used in this section:
(1) "Commercial social networking site" means a business, organization, or other similar entity that operates a website and permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or to other users.
(2) "Electronic mail" means an electronic mail message sent through the use of an electronic mail program or a message board program.
(3) "Identifying information" means information that alone, or in conjunction with other information, identifies a person, including a person's:
(i) Name, social security number, date of birth, or government-issued identification number;
(ii) Unique biometric data, including the person's fingerprint, voice print, or retina or iris image;
(iii) Unique electronic identification number, electronic mail address, routing code, or financial institution account number; and
(iv) Telecommunication identifying information or access device.
(4) "Public official" means a person elected by the public, or elected or appointed by a governmental body, or an appointed official in the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the state or any political subdivision thereof.
(b) A person commits the crime of online impersonation if the person:
(1) Uses the name or persona of another person to create a web page on or to post one or more messages on a commercial social networking site or sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication without obtaining the other person's consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person;
(2) Sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, telephone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person without obtaining the other person's consent with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication and with the intent to harm or defraud any person; or
(3) Uses the name or persona of a public official to create a web page on, or to post one or more messages on, a commercial social networking site or sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication without obtaining the public official's consent and with the intent to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority, to solicit funds, or otherwise to act in reliance upon that pretense to the other person's detriment.
(c) Every person convicted of an offense under this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor for the first offense and shall be subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year, a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both, and an order of restitution as provided herein. Every person convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be subject to imprisonment not exceeding three (3) years, a fine of three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both, and an order of restitution as provided herein.
(d) Every person convicted of an offense under this section shall be subject to an order for restitution, if appropriate, which shall be in addition to any other applicable penalty.
History of Section.
(P.L. 2014, ch. 202, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 215, § 1.)
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