Last month, here on dating.org.uk, we reported that dating site members who were, how shall we say, imaginative with the precise details of their online dating profile may be violating terms and conditions regarding internet misrepresentation guidelines.
There is a limited amount of tolerance permitted by dating site communities regarding acceptable levels of ‘artistic license’ when one crafts one’s dating site profile; indeed, results of many studies have concluded that it is almost expected, to a certain degree, that new members will bend their profiles to specifically attract a particular member of the opposite (or same, depending upon the type of adult site you use) sex who has particularly taken their eye.
At one point, there were huge rumours that anyone found to be breaching the rules set out by membership sites – dating, social media, gambling, gaming – any online community that requires you to complete information about yourself and by clicking you confirm that you adhere to either the terms set out or that the information that you have entered is correct – would be liable to prosecution and brought to court.
However, it seems that common sense has prevailed and the Department of Justice, although conceding that purposefully entering untruths about yourself is directly contravening the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, recognise the absolute volume of people who do fib a little on their dating site profile would never be able to be processed. Another misuse of computing, if the CFFA was to be followed to the letter of the law, is accessing a member community site other than from the one you own or signed up from; in other words, if you were to access your matchmaking site and Google+ from your work station PC, you are breaking the law. Again, although these instances are literally illegal, it is not what the legislation was created for.
Rather the law will remain in place to serve its original purpose. There are many documented cases where individuals have created false profiles to commit a crime, sometimes which has led to tragic consequences.
So, although it has ‘disavowed’ the law in a sense that dating site members will not be prosecuted for shaving off a few years or a few pounds, for genuine malicious cases or in the case of dating sites who are targeted by scammers who create multiple false accounts purely with the intent of grooming and later stealing from other community members who fall for their lies, it will remain a tool for the Department of Justice to bring these criminals to trial.