Va. Expands Extortion Law To Include Identity Threats | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Filed Under:

Va. Expands Extortion Law To Include Identity Threats

Play associated audio

By Rebecca Blatt

A bill to update extortion laws in Virginia is on its way to Governor Bob McDonnell's desk. Its sponsor, Delegate David Bulova of Fairfax, says it will help address a growing threat that he has experienced first hand.

Last summer, Bulova received an email from a man claiming to know his social security number. The sender demanded $30,000 to keep it private. Bulova says he assumed it was spam.

"We got a call that evening form a person who said, 'I'm that guy who went ahead and sent you that email this morning, I really do want your $30,000 or I really will go ahead and sell your personal information,'" says Bulova.

Bulova called the attorney general's office, and he learned that extortion in Virginia includes threats to someone's property or character. The attorney general said personal information didn't fall neatly into either category.

"The old fashioned concept of what you could go ahead and threaten in order to extort money out of a person are simply outdated," he says.

The bill passed by the General Assembly extends Virginia's extortion law to include "sensitive identifying information."

NPR

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI

As artificial intelligence alters human connection, Louisa Hall's characters wrestle with whether machines can truly feel. Some "feel they have to stand up for a robot's right to exist," Hall says.
NPR

Aphrodisiacs Can Spark Sexual Imagination, But Probably Not Libido

Going on a picnic with someone special? Make sure to pack watermelon, a food that lore says is an aphrodisiac. No food is actually scientifically linked to desire, but here's how some got that rep.
NPR

A Reopened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. reopens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

In A Twist, Tech Companies Are Outsourcing Computer Work To ... Humans

A new trend is sweeping the tech world: hiring real people. NPR's Arun Rath talks to Wired reporter Julia Greenberg about why tech giants are learning to trust human instinct instead of algorithms.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.