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.

Filed Under: aaron swartz, aaron's law, cfaa, cfaa reform, congress, reform

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 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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