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
    Suzy, 14 Feb 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.

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