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Anti-"Swatting" Bill Passes Calif. Senate

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, May 9, 2013

These calls often target celebrities, like recent calls that led law enforcement to respond to the homes of Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher.  But they could happen to anyone, as NPR shows in a recent report.  A 25-year-old gamer in New Hampshire says he thinks a fellow gamer found his address online after exchanging trash talk and made a fake 9-1-1 call.

It's a practice known as "swatting," since the calls often prompt the police to send out a SWAT team.  It's costly, it's a waste of resources and it's dangerous.

"Imagine if it was late at night," the bill's author, Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said during Senate floor debate.  "You get a call that comes in saying the homeowner just shot someone.  It's dark, you have all these officers with guns drawn going to that home."

Lieu's bill would make "swatters" liable for the thousands of dollars it costs agencies to respond to such calls.  The measure passed the State Senate without a "no" vote and now moves to the Assembly.

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