Aaron Swartz killed himself two years to the day after he was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a controversial legislation that some courts have interpreted as making it a felony to do anything not explicitly authorized with a computer you don't own (for example, changing one character in a URL in your browser and accessing a document can be a felony). Many attempts have been made to reform CFAA, none successful. Now Rep Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has introduced "Aaron's Law", to insert the following in its pre-amble:
A violation of an agreement or contractual obligation regarding Internet or computer use, such as an acceptable use policy or terms of service agreement, with an Internet service provider, Internet website, or employer is not in itself a violation of this section.
Larry Lessig has endorsed the proposal, saying, "Hey, this is a CRITICALLY important change that would do incredible good. The CFAA was the hook for the government's bullying of @aaronsw. 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."
This is a great start. A great start. But it's only a start. Aaron's cause wasn't bringing justice to computer users, it was bringing justice to everyone. America is history's number one imprisoner, and its penal system is ghastly and inhumane. CFAA-based bullying is just a symptom, not the disease.
I'm Rep Zoe Lofgren & I'm introducing "Aaron's Law" to change the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (lofgren.house.gov)
Help wanted: Operations Manager (personable, resourceful, and demonstrates outstanding attention to detail); Civil Liberties Legislative Counsel (advocacy, public speaking, blogging and other social media, media appearances and legislative and regulatory matters related to a variety of high technology public interest legal issues); 2017-19 Frank Stanton Fellowship (recent law school graduates or law students who will […]
M. David Weisman, a magistrate judge in Illinois’s Eastern Division, denied a federal warrant application that would have allowed law enforcement officers to force suspects to unlock their mobile devices with a fingerprint, ruling that the suspects’ Fourth Amendment (undue search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) rights protected them from being forced to unlock […]
Texas and Chile have remarkably similar flags (though Chile got theirs first, by a matter of decades) and Texas doesn’t have a Unicode-defined emoji for its flag (just a sprinkling of proprietary ones that do not cross platforms gracefully), so Texans have taken to using the Chilean flag emoji as a shorthand for the longhorn […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this […]
Making people aware of goods and services in the digital age requires an array of new strategies from social media and email to number-crunching tools like Google Analytics. To get a handle on the techniques used to capture attention and convert traffic into dollars in a crowded online environment, the Full-Stack Marketer Bundle offers 22 hours of training to get […]