January 2006: Harassing someone while hiding
behind a screen name is now a criminal offense
A new federal law was signed on January 5, 2006 by President Bush. Section 113 of the "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act" states that when you harass someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity. Here's the relevant language:
"Whoever ... utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet ... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person ... who receives the communications ... shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."