Fake IDs on Facebook ring more alarm bells


Vikram Venkateshwaran,CNN-IBN
Jan 05, 2008 at 09:10pm IST

New Delhi: After a telling tragedy, just when he was coming of age, in the real sense, the world of social networking, got to Bilawal Bhutto, hook and line, with a stinker.

A hoaxed Facebook account, with controversial pictures and captions surfaced at a delicate time, and the issue smeared itself in global print and television.

Though Bilawal's network ID was found to be false, the alarm it caused, was very real indeed.

BILAWAL BLUES: The fake ID Facebook has been removed by the social networking site.

This was a simple case of hijacked identity. The scary part is, for most of us, this isn't the first time we have heard of such an incident, and relatively speaking, it’s not exactly rare. So how easy is it, to forge a fake identity?

On Facebook, it’s practically child's play. All you need is a working email ID that you can easily create.

Type in the name you want, any address you like, add a photo of your self and you could just be anybody.

You could deface other profiles, commit slander, or even write murder, as in the Adnan Patrawala case.

“US websites like Orkut say you must report abuse and it is not our liability to check content," said Karnika Seth, cyber law expert.

But if you're an Indian, then the law of the land holds you guilty.

- According to Sec 79 of the IT act, the service provider held liable for false/obscene content.

- Sec 460 of the IPC terms it cheating by impersonation.

- Sec 419 prescribes a 3-year imprisonment or fine or both.

Legally speaking:

- Send a legal notice

- File an FIR

- Pursue in a court of law

Cyber crime has risen by 200 per cent in India, within the last year, according to some reports. The rest of the globe fares no better.

The lesson here, therefore, is that while those in the limelight suffer more than most, they are just one of the countless victims of internet misuse.

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