Wisconsin to Ban Prank Phone Calls, Outlawing Fun Is Next

Kim Conte

phoneWhat do you do if you are the governor of Wisconsin and you are publicly embarrassed after falling prey to a prank phone call from a blogger?

Well, of course, you would try to get your party to pass a law that makes prank phone calls a crime and would fine pranksters $1,000 to $10,000 for each prank call made.

After all, you're governor, right?

The two Republican legislators who authored the new bill -- which would ban making spoof calls masking the caller’s true identity -- deny any connection between last week's prank call to Gov. Scott Walker and this week's events. Their justification for the law:

While use of spoofing is said to have some legitimate uses, it can also be used to frighten, harass, and potentially defraud.

But anyone with half a brain can see what's happening here. Gov. Walker was humiliated after blogger Ian Murphy punked him -- Murphy impersonated billionaire Republican donor David Koch in the call and engaged Walker in a long conversation about busting Wisconsin's unions. Now, pranksters all over the state might have to suffer.

The new bill would make it illegal for callers to mask their voices or provide a fake phone number to the call recipient.

Moreover, it would be illegal to "defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain any information of value from using a caller identification service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller identification information." Law enforcement officials and government regulatory agents who use phone spoofing to fight crime would be exempt. Drunk phone calls (as far as I can tell) would still be allowed.

Thankfully, here in America, we have a little something called the FIRST AMENDMENT. Hopefully, this is the last we'll hear of this ridiculous bill.

Is there really nothing else going on in Wisconsin right now that Republican legislators would need to concern themselves with something so petty? I find that impossible to believe.

Do you think prank phone calls should be illegal?


Image via HeatedGroundPhotography/Flickr

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