While some Internet daters like to photoshop their pictures, use nicknames, or fudge a little about their “bio-data”, some of these activities part and parcel of online dating might not be o.k. if the Department of Justice has its way. For example, lying on Match.com could become a crime, reports CNET.
To make a very complicated issue simple: the Department of Justice, under the authority of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is claiming the right to make “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider.” In other words, if Match.Com or Facebook’s Terms of Service say that you can’t use a fictitious name or engage in lying about your weight, then you could be prosecuted by the Department of Justice.
Online dating could just get a whole lot uglier.
As CNET describes it, this draconian situation arises because of a section of the CFAA which contains:
a general-purpose prohibition on any computer-based act that "exceeds authorized access." To the Justice Department, this means that a Web site's terms of service define what's "authorized" or not, and ignoring them can turn you into a felon.
Criminalizing an activity that purportedly so many dating-age people engage in to some extent could have far ranging consequences in the arena of personal injury lawsuits. Could people file suits against each other for misrepresentation or lying about subjects such as their weight and then attempt to use the DOJ's prosecution as proof of wrong-doing in a court of law? Unsuspecting defendants would be under an enormous amount of pressure to settle or just be completely lost about their rights.
If you'd like to learn more about the CFAA's possible impact on personal injury lawsuits please contact an attorney.