Congress Apparently Uninterested In 'Aaron's Law' To Reform CFAA

from the this-is-a-problem dept

Well, this is rather unfortunate, but perhaps not a surprise. Last week, Politico reported that despite progress on Zoe Lofgren's "Aaron's Law," designed to improve the CFAA, it's unlikely to get any traction in Congress. The CFAA, of course, is the widely abused law that was written decades ago in an attempt to outlaw malicious hacking. The bill was never particularly well-written, and over time as the technology has changed, the CFAA has become wide open to broad interpretations, such that people have faced criminal charges for daring to... disobey a site's terms of service (which they never even read). Aaaron Swartz was charged under the CFAA, hence the reform bill is being called "Aaron's Law." But, even with all the attention that Aaron got, Congress isn't interested yet.

The article doesn't suggest the idea is dead, just that it doesn't have nearly enough support. Part of the reason is that the White House and the DOJ haven't said a word about it -- but, really, is that all that surprising given the complaints they've been receiving about US Attorney Carmen Ortiz's use of the CFAA in the Swartz case? But, even within Congress, the key people who are needed to support the bill have basically said they have more important things to deal with right now. And while there are other important bills on the table, it's a big mistake to not update the CFAA before it is abused again.


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  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 5:39am

    Damn...

    Who do we contact about this? Which Senators/Reps do we contact to make sure it gets traction?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    what this lack of interest shows, more than anything is how much respect Congress pays towards the people it is supposed to represent and definitely how much care they dont give towards laws that are so bad for everyone except the rich, the famous and the powerful, that again, the ordinary people are not considered worthy of anything other than when votes are needed, even when it costs lives! they should be ashamed of themselves! but have to carry on doing whatever their lords and masters, the entertainment industries say. God forbid if anyone actually responsible had to face up to it or changes were made to make it harder for those industries to be able to persecute people to the extreme end! perhaps it's because they were involved in the writing of the original bill and dont want to admit it or how bad a law it is. but then, a lot of them were involved in the gun law changes, but are quick enough to jump on the band wagon when crap starts over those or video games! pathetic!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:09am

    One way to make history.

    It seems this congress wants to be the do-nothing-est of the do-nothing congresses. And they're off to a wimpering start.

     

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    Jasmine Charter, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:14am

    MUCH More important things to do...

    Stop whining!

    They are doing their job! There are special interests to satisfy, grandstanding to be done and underage Dominic prostitutes to sleep with and then cover up! Geez! What do you expect from them?!

    /sarcasm off

    Anyone who things that our "representatives" are actually representing us is completely out of touch with politics.

     

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  5.  
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    Fickelbra (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    "They have more important things to deal with" implies they actually do something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    There are tons of worthwhile bills that never see the light of day. With things like a still unresolved fiscal cliff, immigration reform and gun control I doubt that "Aaron's Law" is viewed by many as much of a priority. What gets floor time is largely up to Reid and Boehner.

     

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    Dreddsnik, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:22am

    As long as any abuse of this law favors them they have no incentive to change it. Perhaps they should retire in 2014 ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Gee, a bill that would attempt to make what Aaron did legal can't get traction? Shocker.

     

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  9.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    Re:

    They do, they have all those meetings with the lobbyists from Hollywood to attend.

     

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  10.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:27am

    Why would the government want to change this?

    When laws and agencies are created that help "keep the general population in line" there is no motivation to remove these tools from the government or their supporters.

    Make no mistake. The American government has been bought and sold by corporate interests. You are no longer represented.

    The Federal Reserve, IRS, CFAA, SOPA, DMCA etc. are not there to serve and protect you, but to be tools to keep you in line.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    Porkie where are you?

    Time to me some pork with the Aaron Law so it gets inserted in the other more "important issues" LoL

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    Don't really think Congress deserves the biggest slap on this. The DOJ is in the best position to make a quick impact by simply and clearly stating that breaking terms of service does not justify a felony prosecution.

    Personally, I think it is as much about the DOJ keeping an all purpose "You did something with technology that we don't like!" law on the books as it is about protecting Ortiz from the legal and reputational kicking she so richly deserves.

     

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    yaga (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:50am

    Where's the leadership for Aaron's Law?

    The same people that helped organize the Internet to fight SOPA/CISPA need to band together again to help get this bill passed.

    I think the IDL would at least be trying to do something to get support for this bill.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:52am

    Too many of the politicians probably think if they vote for Aaron's Law they'll look weak on Cyber Security, which is really stupid.

     

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    William (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Two Reasons Why ...

    There's two reasons why there will be pushback:

    1. This poorly written law is a great hammer to deploy against cyber activists that run afoul of the government, and the government will not give up this hammer easily.

    2. It is going to be very hard to fix this bill. Defining unauthorized access is a lot like defining what is pornographic. I see a lot of smart people struggling with this issue.

    At this point I'd urge patience (that means you, Anonymous!). We still need to see the MIT report, the Justice Department has to answer some questions from some important Congress Critters, and (hopefully) there will be some public testimony.

     

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    Rekrul, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:56am

    They can't support it. Not with Obama about to ram through an executive order that will probably make the CFAA look positively mild.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:01am

    Re:

    oh yea, you got it there, like we all know how much power and influence Obama has over congress LOL.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    I want a list of the names of the congressmen who had "better things to do" than support Aaron's Law. I need to add them to my "do not vote for" list.

     

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  19.  
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    gorehound (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:03am

    I would love to see an overthrow of the US Government at this point.
    Not going to bother to explain why..............to much BS has been allowed to go on.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    Re: Re:

    Yup. Remember when they wrote that bill allowing them to order the army to attack civilians, and Obama threatened to veto it? They had to rewrite the bill so it didn't interfere with HIS authority to order the army to attack civilians; then he was fine with it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Yes, let's name a bill after a coward and lawbreaker. Awesome idea. I'm simply shocked that it went absolutely f*cking nowhere.

     

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  22.  
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    Beta (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:22am

    lawyers know when words are empty

    A mere statement to the effect that breaking terms of service doesn't justify felony prosecution would be worthless. It would not have force of law; it would not form a legal defense for the next person so prosecuted.

    If the DOJ meant it, they'd fire Ortiz, and maybe move to have her disbarred. She and every other prosecutor are keenly aware that this has not happened, and that pursuing such prosecutions is still -- on average -- a good career move.

     

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  23.  
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    Beta (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    I hadn't even heard there was a "Carmen's Law" bill.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Re:

    Considering he broke no real law, besides trespassing, I fail to see your point.

    As for coward... look at you Mr Anonymous Coward insulting and belittling someone who at least did what they thought was the right thing. Which was taking locked up knowledge and giving it back to the people. Far from cowardly an act.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Re:

    The real problem here is grey haired, 20th Century politicians who are completely clueless in a 21st Century world. They all need to be forcefully purged because they're not going to retire willingly as long as all the clueless 20th Century grandmas and grandpas (baby boomers & beyond)keep voting them back in. There appears to be no way of reaching these people to alert them of all the damage they're doing.

    Computers? Internet?... "What's that? I don't care. Doesn't affect me."

    Safety? Lower Taxes?... "Sold! Now that affects me!"

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re: Damn...

    find out which reps/senators are in tech related committees/subcommittees.. although you have to live in their state/district (or at least return address it that way) for them to pay any attention to you

     

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  27.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    You can take action here, but don't stop there. http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/aaron_justice/

    Call you Representative also, once a week, and ask your friends to do the same.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    Is not the gray hair that is the problem is the gray culture inside that institution that is a real problem.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re:

    Considering he broke no real law, besides trespassing, I fail to see your point.

    Yeah, wire fraud and hacking aren't real crimes. #idiot

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    A man who did the right thing when the law was against him is a coward? Lol wat

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:44am

    Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    He's a coward because he didn't do the right thing, and then when he got caught he took the coward's way out. Biggest coward ever.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, because "hacking" a free open account is real leet and scrapping free content from it is wire fraud now #idiot.

     

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  33.  
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    Jeff (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re:

    They have all those hookers... and blow... That's WAY more important than something stupid, like actually running the damn country...

     

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  34.  
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    Jeff (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    says the anonymous coward...

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Says "Jeff."

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Those are real crimes, but Aaron DID NOT do either of those.

    Unless of course you consider changing a MAC address hacking/wire fraud. #NoComputerExpert/LawyerDoesOnlyIdiotsLikeYou

     

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  37.  
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    Dreddsnik, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re:

    Don't forget, he also kicks puppies and steals candy from babies.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    It is legal. Just because some jumped-up DA wanted to make an example of someone for something that is legally grey at worst does not make it illegal.

     

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  39.  
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    Jesse (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    I'd say fixing your earlier mistakes is a pretty big priority. The lesson is: get it right the first time then you won't have to revisit it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    He was a hacker and serial infringer. A first class douchebag that made his girlfriend discover his dead body, which will no doubt leave her fucked up for life.

    You people have made horrible choices in your lives. It is blatantly obvious by your actions and the people and behavior you defend.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:42am

    Updating the CFAA would involve the executive branch giving up a small fraction of its power over the country. Of course they're not interested, the law is functioning exactly as they want it to.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Apparently doing the right thing means breaking the rules.

     

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  43.  
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    Gregg, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Already proven...

    Congress is broken, it's already been proven. If they can't vote on anything to save the country, they sure as hell are not going to vote on anything that helps protect the people.

     

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  44.  
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    Gregg, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You smoke a lot of crack don't you. I'd talk to your dealer to lower the dosage.

     

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  45.  
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    Gregg, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Says the "Anonymous Coward"!
    Dollars to donuts if you were hit with a barrage of charges from the DOJ that amounted to 35 - 50 years in prison, where even the supposed victim said please don't charge him, I think you'd find a way to get out of it on your own.

    Honestly, you're an idiot if you are only seeing red from the DOJ side, but you're most likely on the payroll OR maybe your Carmen!! LMAO!

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He was not a hacker, nor a serial infringer. The facts prove both these things. Your version of reality notwithstanding.

    And that's right, we're the horrible ones for defending the nobility of a guy who only wanted to release information to the public from journals that were being locked up by greedy people. /s

    The horrible one is you. Reasons for this lie in your flat out lying about a deceased person, making a mockery of his cause and his death, and the cheap shot about his girlfriend.

     

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  47.  
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    JoeDetroit (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    So when someone is suffering from a disease that is so debilitating that they take their own life, you call that cowardice? Depression is a real disease, combined with being unjustly persecuted for allegedly violating a sites terms of service, facing massive punishment, it's not surprising that he was pushed over the edge.

    I really do not see how people can just blow off a victim of suicide as a coward. It's caused by chronic depression. It's really amazing how some people think.

     

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  48.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Damn...

    yes, too true, that...

    there are some kongresskritters who won't ACCEPT emails from 'non-constituents'...
    ('cause - don't you know- there is such a thing as too much free speech...)
    i'm betting if your name is on a donor list, you get a real quick response...

    it used to be a tired joke, now it is tragically true: we have the best kongress money can buy ! ! !

    so, the 'problem' is, us po' folks simply can't outbid our betters... ain't that the free-market way ? ? ?

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    Anyone know what ever happened in the response to the Senator's request for information about the Aaron Swartz case handling?

    That was supposidly due awhile ago right? Was it ever answered?

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re:

    Hey, technically they were standing for 5 mins during that three course meal and private screening of a film so it counts as a luncheon, your insinuations to the contrary not withstanding.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    Apparently you're not familiar with the facts of the case. Even under current law what he did was legal minus the arguable trespass.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re:

    His logic is even more dubious than that. Apparently calling this 'Arron's Law' is proof of his crime in his eyes. Which not only completely misses the reason it's called that but actively subverts it.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The need for a sad-but-true button grows.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Pathetic.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:57am

    Re:

    What law did he break and through what actions? Be specific.

    I'm simply shocked that trolls showed up to run a smear campaign here that "went absolutely f*cking nowhere."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, you asshat, he was both; that's why the government went after him and that's why he aligned himself with Lessig and said the same stupid shit about copyright that Masnick is known for here.

    As for the rest of your bullshit: Fuck you and go die in a fire. Just like I said- if you think this selfish fucker was noble, it is empirical evidence of how fucked up your belief system is.

     

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    tawsenior (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 12:13pm

    So the people I voted for (in effect hired)

    to represent me and the rest of the voting public, aren't interested in doing what "we the people" are asking for.I see my vote changing in the future.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    No, he was told 6 months. Then when he found out he was caught helping Wikileaks, which meant real jail time, the coward offed himself. And deliberately left his body for his girlfriend to discover, thus scarring her for life.

    And Congressman Google wants to name a law for him. Uh huh.

    She and you and everyone else that thinks this loser was noble is completely and totally fucked in the head.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Listen to yourself first.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah yes, "rest of my bullshit". [rolls eyes] Mhm. You're the one telling me "fuck you and go die in a fire". But I'm the one who's full of shit and a horrible person? The irony/hypocrisy of your statement is completely lost on you, isn't it?

    As for "he was both", no he wasn't. As has already been pointed out by many legal experts. Needless to say, the opinion of one Anonymous Coward (that'd be you), means nothing and DOES NOT a fact make. Who you align yourself with is NOT a reflection of who you are. And I'm pretty sure that Lessig, nor Mike, for that matter are either hackers serial infringers.

    What's not noble is you being as insulting as you are towards myself, Aaron, and basically anyone who points out how flawed your reasoning is and how fucked up a person you are. Guess you and DA Ortiz have something in common. Neither of you can just admit when you're wrong and you keep wanting to blame someone's death on themselves rather than on overbearing assholes/cunts who only aggravated, what has already been pointed out as a serious affliction, his depression by being unreasonable people quick to make a scapegoat out of a poor kid.

    Oh yeah, if you don't check that anger of yours you're going to give yourself an aneurysm eventually. Which wouldn't be a big loss for the world. We don't need your kind living on it, sociopath.

     

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  61.  
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    Obamabot, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Send in the drones

    Hey, stop complaining. If the occasional nerd needs to be suicided to protect the Internets from... you know... bad guys, I'm all for it!

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Troley, the only nut job here is you.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Who the hell should have to do 6 months of jailtime for nothing illegal?

    He changed a MAC address on a computer. He accessed an open network. He downloaded public documents from the JSTOR. Whooooooo. Scary cybersecurity terrorist (did I get all the right buzzwords?) stuff right there.

    In non-technical words: He tried to walk into a public library to move some public books from a locked room onto a public shelf for anyone to read. He couldn't get through the door to a public library because it was locked, so he tried the next door since it was during normal business hours.

    Remind me where the hell he earned 6 months let alone 35-50 years...

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Your willful ignorance is stale and boring.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Funny, I could say the same about yours.

     

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  66.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:32pm

    Can we start trying to recall congresscritters?

    Its obvious they aren't going to represent the people until the people remind them who they are supposed to be working for.

    They have done fuckall for 4 years and they want to keep going on that path, claiming to represent the people while doing what gets them more "donations" and appealing to the loudest stupidest voices.

    There is a bad law, it has a bodycount and they can't be bothered with it... I think its time to start throwing them out of office until the death of someone actually matters more than soundbites. People will go on and on about how this will be bad for the country and a waste of time and resources... I wonder how is it any different that the nothing they are doing now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Suzy, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 9:01pm

    Response to: Dreddsnik on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:22am

    You nailed it. The malleability of the current law favors their control agenda and that is why they will not even bother to address it. They like a stacked deck. Meanwhile, there is always enthusiastic bipartisan support for anything that will makes life tougher on the already disenfranchised- new crimes, stiffer penalties, that sort of thing. Activists are a thorn in their side, not a real threat, yet one day any Internet activity that is critical of the government and encourages citizens to stand up for their rights will be labeled cyberterrorism and dealt with harshly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    yeah, breaking in, hiding a computer and stealing documents he had no right to take, yeah he is a coward, he proved he was coward when he rightly offed himself, he had no balls to stand up in court and fight, if he felt so strong about it, fight it, but he didn't, because he knew it was wrong and illegal

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    no, to kill yourself and not take the hard road to get help, is cowards way out

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Willful ignorance? Like the ignorance of someone who refuses to acknowledge actual law experts who have chimed in on the entire subject? You're the worst kind of person. Taking any kind of joy in the death of anyone makes you a vile enough person, but the way you prattle on about things you apparently have no knowledge of or backgrou8nd in should just be criminal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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