DOJ Two Step: It Should Be A Criminal Offense To Lie About Your Age On Facebook… But We Probably Won't Go After You For It
from the well,-that's-comforting dept
While we obviously spent a lot of time on the SOPA hearings this week, there was another Judiciary Committee meeting of interest this week concerning cybersecurity. Part of the discussion focused on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is being regularly abused by law enforcement to bring all sorts of questionable charges against people. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why we fear the felony provisions in SOPA, because we know how the DOJ abuses similar laws.
In this case, one of the key issues is that law enforcement has used the law in the past to say that any violation of a terms of service agreement — such as lying about your age when signing up for a dating site — could be a criminal offense under the CFAA. That, of course, is insane. Even more ridiculous, however, is that the DOJ’s official testimony at the hearing was about how important it was to keep this part of the law in place, allowing it to add questionable charges.
The law must allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider,” — Richard Downing, Justice Department’s deputy computer crime chief
But then, Downing also seems to be saying the exact opposite:
?The DoJ is in no way interested in bringing cases against people who lie about their age on dating sites, or anything of the sort. We don?t have the time or resources to do that,?
So…. the law must allow such prosecutions, but it has no interest in bringing such prosecutions. That makes perfect sense. If you’re a DOJ official, I guess. For the rest of us… huh?