State Senator Kevin Parker and State Assemblywoman Roxanne Persaud, joined together to persuade state lawmakers to pass the E-Impersonation Prevention Act (S5871-A), which would impose harsher sentences on those who engage in cyber-bullying.
The Act will enlarge the definition of cyber-bullying, and will make what is now a misdemeanor into a felony charge. The maximum sentence for those found guilty will be up to seven years in prison.
Parker, who sponsored the bill, said,
“Momentum is building. But, we all need to make a major push so this much needed legislation becomes law. Cyberbullies operating in the shadows must be unmasked, unplugged and punished. They are ruining reputations and ruining lives. They need to be stopped.”Parker would like to see the bill cleared out of committee and head to a full Senate vote soon.
Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal introduced a sister bill in the state Assembly.
“The E-Impersonation Prevention Act will help victims of internet-based impersonation get the justice they deserve by making it easier for law enforcement to secure convictions,” she said.The proposed law makes it a felony to act under “false pretenses.” It will be felonious to impersonate someone online in order to hurt, threaten, intimidate of defraud someone. The law is going after predators who take on the identity of their victim and then post online untrue, hurtful, scandalous or inflammatory information in their victim’s name.
“The E-Impersonation Prevention Act is a proactive way to deter cyber-bullying,” saidAssemblywoman Persaud said,
“Cyber-bullying is a form of violence that affects over fifty-percent of our teen and adolescent population in New York. These criminals are often identified but never appropriately punished because of antiquated or non-existent laws. It is time that we increase and enforce the penalties for these harmful acts. As a society we will no longer allow these digital bullies to ruin the lives of others without fear of a just penalty.”