A large majority in the country’s parliament passed the new law on Thursday, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement.
“It is a breach of personal boundaries and deeply unpleasant to have one’s identity misused on social media. We as a society must not accept this type of behaviour and we must give better protection to victims,” Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup said in the statement.
“That’s why I’m very satisfied that a broad majority in parliament has today voted to criminalise misuse of identity online, so the law keeps up with the times and clearly underlines the seriousness of the crime,” he said.
The issue of online impersonation has become more prominent in Denmark in recent months. That is in no small part due to coverage of the issue by national broadcaster DR, which told victims’ stories and confronted online impersonators in documentary programmes including 100 falske forelskelser (roughly, ‘100 Fake Infatuations’) and Den falske caster (‘The Fake Casting Agent’).
Under current law, it is not illegal to create a profile on social media which impersonates another person unless there is criminal intent. That changes under the new law, which takes effect on April 1st.
It will also be illegal to use another person’s picture or video of them with the intention of manipulating their actions in an “unreasonable manner” under to the new law.
Conviction under the law can result in a fine or prison sentence up to six months.