-By Warner Todd Huston
Yes, yes, I know that lying on your Internet dating profile is wrong, but let’s not make a federal case out of it. Well, maybe you do want to make a federal case out if it at least if you are the meddlesome Obama, nanny state king, and buttinski extraordinaire. That’s right, Obama wants to make it a federal crime to lie on an Internet dating profile, of all things.
Is there anything this nanny-in-chief doesn’t think is his business?
As CNET.com notes, the U.S. Dept. of Justice is spending its resources to defend anti-hacking laws that would also make it a crime to use a fake name on Facebook or lie about anything — like your weight or height — on an Internet dating service profile.
The DOJ wants to make it a federal crime to violate a “terms of service” policy of the websites and services you join. According to DOJ, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act must allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider,” as Richard Downing, the Justice Department’s deputy computer crime chief, told Congress last week.
Opponents of this point of view say that the “crimes” that the DOJ is worried about are already crimes under other statutes and laws and that this new layer is unnecessary.
During his testimony before Congress Downing also tried to ally fears that the DOJ would be interested in prosecuting people for lying on their Internet dating service profile. “We don’t have time or resources to do that,” he told the committee.
But the fact is, if this law passes without this point made explicit, the power will be there to do so and whether the DOJ intends to prosecute these sort of violations now this does not mean a future administration won’t decide it is a good idea!
In fact, let’s note an interesting dichotomy about what the DOJ finds that it is its duty to prosecute. While the DOJ is wringing its hands over someone lying on an Internet dating site profile it is uninterested in attempting to stop people from lying about serving in the U.S. military. My friend Duane Lester also notes that the DOJ is also uninterested in prosecuting criminals for “standing outside a polling place with a billy club intimidating people” from voting!
The sad fact is that there is just no way to account for what this partisan DOJ will prosecute so fears that they are adding even more to their power is a justly feared issue. This is yet another power grab from an already too powerful federal government.