Minority Report Comes To Life In Proposed CFFA Law

Criminalizing Everything

An out of control Republican-controlled Congress beholden to special corporate clients threatens to criminalize potentially most internet use.

The only backstop to passage is a democratically-controlled Senate who may have enough members to push a publicly onerous but monopolistic advantageous piece of legislation through. Then it would be up to President Obama to veto -- and that is no certainty.

America's Awful Computer-Crime Law Might Be Getting a Whole Lot Worse

SLATE - For a while now I’ve been saying that Congress ought to revise the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the vaguely worded, overly broad computer crime statute that has been in the news due to its role in the indictment of high-profile defendants like Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys, hacker Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Well, the House Judiciary Committee is indeed circulating a bill that would reform the CFAA. The trouble is that it fails to address any of the CFAA’s major flaws, and, in fact, just puts more power into the hands of overzealous prosecutors. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

The CFAA was passed in 1984, and it still reads like an alarmist response to the movie WarGames. It provides big penalties for those who tamper with or unauthorizedly access so-called “protected computers,” which are defined, in part, as computers that engage in interstate or foreign commerce or communications. Back in 1984, relatively few computers fit that definition. Today, every device with an Internet connection qualifies as a protected computer.

The times have changed, but the law hasn’t kept up with the times, and as a consequence the CFAA now reaches far beyond its original scope.

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It would seem that with the Patriot Act, The National Defense Authorization Act, and now a potential Internet tampering act like CFFA, thought-crime as put forth by George Orwell in 1984 would be a reality in the US.

Under proposed bill, ‘conspiring’ to violate US computer laws could be punished as if act was committed

THE NEXT WEB - A draft bill from the United States House of Representatives concerning the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is unsettling. A new provision included could greatly expand its ability to punish, potentially bringing those within the law inside its orbit as worthy of stiff punishment.

As TechDirt noticed, Section 103 of the proposed bill is daunting:

Whoever conspires to commit or attempts to commit an offense under subsection (a) of this section shall be punished as provided for the completed offense in subsection (c) of this section.

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Draft House Judiciary cybersecurity bill would stiffen anti-hacking law

THE HILL - A draft cybersecurity bill circulating among House Judiciary Committee members would stiffen a computer hacking law used to bring charges against Internet activist Aaron Swartz. 

The bill draft would tighten penalties for cyber crimes and establish a standard for when companies would have to notify consumers that their personal data has been hacked, according to a copy obtained by The Hill.

It would also change existing law so that an attempt at a cyber crime can be punished as harshly as an actual offense.

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This piece of proposed legislation seems so absurd that lying about the reason for returning a product to Amazon could be prosecuted under this type of poorly thought-through law. But maybe that is the point?


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