In a legal case in Arizona, the Department of Justice is making the case that using a false name is “fraud” and that one cannot expect privacy by doing so (understand: warrant-less wiretapping is OK). For example, a defendant had used a broadband device, bought under a fake name, to fraud the IRS with phony (ahem) tax returns. If a crime is involved, the courts will usually side with the law enforcement authorities. However, should this logic extend further?

Adam Candeub, director of the Intellectual Property, Information and Communications Law Program, says that using a fake name is not illegal, as long as it doesn’t involve forgery or contracts. For instance, buying a disposable cell phone under a fake name *may* not be illegal at all – however, he adds “the law is not clear”, and of course, this leaves room for debate and interpretation.

So, what do you think? Do you consider using a fake name as “fraud” and should the government be then allowed to track and listen without a warrant? Or do you think that in the absence of a crime, it’s fine to use a fake name and that law enforcement authorities should get a warrant before going any further? [via WSJ]

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