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Originally published November 18 2011

DOJ wants to criminalize putting fake information on dating sites, uploading videos to YouTube

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Currently, the worst thing that can happen to an internet user who violates a private website's terms of service and gets caught is that he or she may be suspended or banned from the site. But the US Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to take this a step further by making any violation of a website's terms of service a criminal offense worthy of fines and potential jail time. users who lie about their age in their personal profiles, for example, or teenagers who use Gmail that "are not of legal age to form a binding contract," would all be considered criminals under the new DOJ proposal. Even YouTube users who upload videos that another user finds offensive, or that violate YouTube's terms of service in some way, could be liable for criminal charges.

DOJ is defending its plan based on a misinterpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which currently serves as protection against hacking activities that affect the federal government. This legislation does not actually say or even imply that internet users who violate private terms of use are potential criminals, so DOJ wants to redefine portions of it to fit its agenda.

"If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party there is no federal crime. Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation," says a joint letter of opposition sent to the US Senate by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and FreedomWorks. "This is a gross misuse of the law."

You can read the full letter here:

The DOJ push to criminalize internet activity is part of a larger agenda to crack down on internet free speech. Back in the summer, some members of Congress proposed an internet censorship law that, if enacted, will be worse than any censorship protocols currently in place in Communist China. The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property bill proposes giving the government power to arbitrarily pull websites at will (

And back in 2010, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) proposed a bill called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act that would allow the government to restrict certain information from being transmitted over the internet, or directly shut down the internet, in the event of an emergency (

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