"If signed by the governor, the new law would make it a crime to impersonate someone online in order to 'harm' that person," foundation attorney Corynne McSherry wrote on the group's website. "In other words, it could be illegal to create a Facebook or Twitter account with someone else's name, and then use that account to embarrass that person (including a corporate person like British Petroleum or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or a public official)."
"Here's the problem: temporarily 'impersonating' corporations and public officials has become an important and powerful form of political activism, especially online."
But others disagree, saying that the law includes exceptions for parody and similar kinds of speech.
"It's not that controversial. And the reason it's not controversial is it because it basically says the same stuff that's been illegal for a long time is now also illegal online," said Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation Defender, a company that helps people manage their online reputations, and author of the book "Wild West 2.0: How to Protect and Restore Your Reputation on the Untamed Social Frontier."
He said the Internet has enabled new kinds of fraud and the law needs to mature with the technology.
"The law is starting to recognize and starting to catch up with this stuff," he said, "but it's still behind, it's still not ready."