Wary of overreach, lawmakers kill anti-spoofing bill

COLUMBIA --- Lawmakers rejected a proposal this week that targeted caller ID fraud and "spoofing," citing questions of censorship and whether it's necessary to criminalize an offense that already has civil penalties.

The House Judiciary Committee voted against H. 3316 Tuesday, a bill introduced by Rep. Laurie Funderburk, D-Camden.

Her bill called for making it a felony to use any IP-enabled voice service to "harass, defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value from another person" or to "deceive the recipient of the call" regarding the caller's identity.

Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, said the bill was too broad.

"We know that young people are ... obsessively immersed in social media, electronic media, electronic mail, all these different things," he said. "Just a practical jokes for all intents and purposes could be defined as being done to harass someone. It doesn't necessarily have to harm them. If they just don't like them or are mad that, they can be prosecuted under this (bill)."

Funderburk said people could lose their jobs based on fabricated information.

"There are documented cases where high school principals and teachers have had profiles made up for them that displayed lifestyles that they don't necessarily have, (forcing them to) spend time and energy and money trying to rehabilitate their reputations."

A similar bill H. 3686, introduced by Rep. Tom Young, R-Aiken, and co-sponsored by Aiken County representatives Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, and Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, has also stalled.

The bills are among several technology-related proposals that attempt to catch up with the increasing use of electronic communication and shifting social mores surrounding mobile devices and privacy.

Lawmakers have about a week left in the legislative year.

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