Congresswoman Proposes Changes To Computer Fraud Act In Wake Of Aaron Swartz Suicide
In the days following the suicide of Internet activist, RSS co-author and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, debate has raged regarding changes that need to be made to federal law. In an attempt to move the conversation forward, Democratic California Rep. Zoe Lofgren is hoping to introduce legislation to amend the law used by attorneys to threaten Swartz with years in prison.
Lofgren posted her proposal to amend the Computer Fraud Act on Reddit, dubbing it "Aaron's Law" and claiming the time is now to prevent further abuse in the future.
"We should prevent what happened to Aaron from happening to other Internet users," Lofgren said. "Using the law in this way could criminalize many everyday activities and allow for outlandishly severe penalties."
The proposal's main goal is to decriminalize the violation of a terms of service agreement.
"The government was able to bring such disproportionate charges against Aaron because of the broad scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the wire fraud statute," wrote Lofgren. "It looks like the government used the vague wording of those laws to claim that violating an online service's user agreement or terms of service is a violation of the CFAA and the wire fraud statute."
The proposal immediately attracted positive attention, including a note from Harvard professor and Swartz ally Lawrence Lessig:
"This is a CRITICALLY important change that would do incredible good," said Lessig. "The CFAA was the hook for the government's bullying of [Aaron.] This law would remove that hook. In a single line: no longer would it be a felony to breach a contract. Let's get this done for Aaron - now."
Still, others like attorney Marcia Hoffman think the proposal wouldn't do enough to prevent similar cases from happening in the future. The CFAA forbids "unauthorized" access by individuals, for change to be meaningful then lawmakers must tackle with what exactly unauthorized access means.
"It's a great first step [Lofgren's proposal]," says Hoffman. "But if it's trying to make sure what happened to Aaron can't happen to someone else, it needs to do more."
Meanwhile, the prosecutor in charge of Swartz' case, Carmen Ortiz, has come under intense fire this week. A White House petition to remove her from office due to overreach has been signed by over 40,000 individuals, suggesting the Obama administration will have to respond to its request relatively soon.
Ortiz defended herself and others in a statement:
"I must, however, make clear that this office's conduct was appropriate in bringing and handling this case," she said. "The career prosecutors handling this matter took on the difficult task of enforcing a law they had taken an oath to uphold, and did so reasonably."
Viral Video of Moving UV Ink Tattoo: Real or Edit Effect? How to Get Yourself One?
A new video has started to circulate Reddit showing a tattoo that seems to light up and the lights move around. Could this be real or fake?
[Reddit Post] Grandma Allegedly Watches Netflix on Old School Box-Type TV: Comments Suggest Interesting Roku Method
A recent post on Reddit allegedly claims that a grandma was able to make watching Netflix possible on an old school box-type TV.. Interesting methods have circulated the comment section.
Samsung Wins! Top 5G Speed Now Raised to 8.5Gbps!
Samsung has just recently breached the threshold and has pushed the limits of 5G speed all the way to 8.5Gbps!
SpaceX Continues Launch Of Satellites To Support Globally Accessible Broadband Internet
SpaceX will continue rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center with the latest Starlink satellite that provides cheaper, better, and more efficient internet service
How to Boost Your Internet Speed: Experts Advice Against the Use of Microwaves and the Following Devices
Ever wondered how to boost your internet speed? well, you're in luck! Here are a few tricks to make the most out of your internet connection.
MORE IN ITECHPOST
At-Risk Mental Health for Students: Developing Resilience Among Students amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
At-Risk Mental Health for Students to help students struggling with their mental health, especially now amid the pandemic. It focuses more on developing students' resilience.
Tech Leaders and Health Authorities Join Forces, Launch New Initiative to Help Fight Pandemic and Future Epidemics
Two contact tracing apps have been successfully launched recently in Canada and Ireland. The open-source code underlying these apps has been contributed to a newly launched initiative to help other countries and U.S. states in the fight against the pandemic.
Fairy Tail Game Releases a Season Pass, a Week After It Was Launched
The anime RPG Fairy Tail from Koei Tecmo has just released a season pass that will release additional characters and content into the game, just a week after it was launched.