THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
INTRODUCED BY WATSON, PETRI, MARSICO, BAKER, BOYD, D. COSTA, CREIGHTON, ELLIS, FLECK, GEIST, GILLESPIE, GINGRICH, GROVE, HARPER, HARRIS, HELM, HESS, KNOWLES, MAJOR, MANN, O'NEILL, PEIFER, PICKETT, PRESTON, READSHAW, SONNEY, STURLA, SWANGER, TAYLOR, TRUITT, VULAKOVICH AND HICKERNELL, MARCH 13, 2012
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, MARCH 13, 2012
Amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, defining the offense of online
impersonation; and prescribing a penalty.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
Statutes is amended by adding a section to read:
§ 4121. Online impersonation.
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the offense of online
impersonation if he uses the name, persona or identifying
information of another person to do any of the following without
obtaining the other person's consent and with the intent to
deceive, harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten any person:
(1) create a web page;
(2) post one or more messages on a commercial social
networking site; or
(3) send an electronic mail, instant message, text
message or similar communication.
(b) Grading.--An offense under this section constitutes a
misdemeanor of the third degree. Each violation constitutes a
(c) Nonapplicability.--The provisions of this section shall
not be applicable to law enforcement officers acting in the
course and legitimate scope of their employment.
(d) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Commercial social networking site." A business,
organization or other similar entity that operates an Internet
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. The term does not include an electronic mail
program or a message board program.
"Identifying information." Any document, photographic,
pictorial or computer image of another person or any fact used
to establish identity, including, but not limited to, a name,
birth date, Social Security number, driver's license number,
nondriver governmental identification number, telephone number,
checking account number, savings account number, student
identification number, employee or payroll number or electronic
Section 2. This act shall take effect in 60 days.