New Miss. legislation targets cyber bullying, crimes - - Jackson, MS

New Miss. legislation targets cyber bullying, crimes

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By Mike McDaniel - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Law enforcement agencies across Mississippi are about to get some help in punishing those caught doing harm to others online thanks to a piece of legislation.

If you ask Attorney General Jim Hood, it's the first step of many to come.

"We're trying to pass laws that will protect our citizens," Attorney General Jim Hood said. "This technology is moving at light speed. The law always moves slower then technology certainly."

To get the Mississippi law a little more tech savvy, Hood says a key piece of legislation, now set to become law, will help combat a nationwide problem of cyber bullying.

"We always had bullies, but the problem with the internet now is they're emboldened by the fact of the antinomy of the internet," Attorney General Hood said. "You know, the cowards are not afraid to attack other kids on the internet, so we're seeing a tremendous increase."

Kids are the only victims, Hood says adults can be targets as well and can also be just as guilty.

"Some people have said that the internet is pretty much the 21st century crime scene and I'm coming to believe that," Attorney General Hood said.

The law, which will take effect July 1, makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to impersonate someone else without their consent online where the purpose is to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud.

That includes creating e-mail addresses or social networking pages like those on Facebook.

Anyone convicted could be hit a minimum fine of $250 dollars or at least a 10 day stay in jail.

Hood says it's only a matter of time before more laws are added to the books.

"There's so much crime that is occurring through the internet that we're having to develop new laws every year," Attorney General Hood said.

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