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Assessment on H.B. 2003 – Online Harassment Policy

With online chats, technological communication, and social networking being apart of everyday life now, harassment and fraud are bigger issues than ever. H.B. 2003 outlines the offenses of online harassment and punishes those who break the laws outlined. Section 33.07, Penal Code, states that it is a third degree felony if a person disguises themselves as another individual in order to create a web page or posts one or more messages on any commercial website and does so without the consent of the main individual with the intent to harm, deceive, coerce, or threaten any person. Section 33.07 additionally adds that it is a Class A misdemeanor offense to send any messages by electronic mail, instant message, text message by phone, or any similar communication within these bounds referencing any identifying information belonging to a person without their approval, with the intention of causing other individuals to believe that the other person endorsed such communication, or with the intent to harm or deceive any individual. If the individual has the intention of soliciting a response by emergency personnel, this felony is enhanced to a third degree offense.

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