Posted tagged ‘law’

Is Accessing Someone Else’s Facebook classed as Identity Theft?

August 8, 2011

If somebody gained access to your Facebook account and started posting status updates, would you say they were guilty of Identity Theft? On top of that, how much would you want them punished. Would you simply close down the account. Send them an angry email, or would you maybe expect them to get prosecuted in a court of law?

Well that’s exactly what happened to Rolando, a juvenile currently living in California. Rolando received a text message from an unknown number, which contained the victim’s password. Rolando used this to access her Facebook account and posted several sexually inappropriate messages. He also reset her password so she couldn’t get back in.

He was subsequently tried in a court of law and found guilty of Identity Theft.

This is not the first time Rolando has found himself in trouble. Prior to this he was previously in trouble for reckless driving when he drove his car “at three girls in the school parking lot, but stopped abruptly several feet away from them in an attempt to scare them.”

No one seems to know who sent the original text message and how they got the victim’s password in the first place.

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I’ve been discussing this story with various people and was quite shocked to find that some felt Rolando had been “Over Punished”. One person suggested that what Rolando did was no different to a student sticking a note saying “I SMELL” on the back of another student. It’s just a harmless bit of fun.

Others pointed out that it was more like leaving your keys in the ignition and someone coming along and pinching your car. No matter how easy the theft was, it’s still theft.

Most however agreed that they were fed up with the “It was just a joke!” excuse.

Ultimately the crime committed here is Unauthorised Access to somebody else’s private data, without consent of the original owner.

I personally think that what Rolando did was wrong and the judge was right to punish him accordingly.