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March 27, 2013

House Judiciary Committee Offers Worse Version Of CFAA

Posted in: Uncategorized

In the wake of Aaron Swartz’s death there has been a renewed effort to reform the Computer Fraud And Abuse Act (CFAA); one such effort being Aaron’s law. But some in Congress, rather than reforming the law, are looking to make it even worse.

Apparently, the House Judiciary Committee has decided to raise a giant middle finger to folks who are concerned about abuses of the CFAA. Over the weekend, they began circulating a “draft” of a “cyber-security” bill that is so bad that it almost feels like the Judiciary Committee is doing it on purpose as a dig at online activists who have fought back against things like SOPA, CISPA and the CFAA. Rather than fix the CFAA, it expands it. Rather than rein in the worst parts of the bill, it makes them worse. And, from what we’ve heard, the goal is to try to push this through quickly, with a big effort underway for a “cyberweek” in the middle of April that will force through a bunch of related bills

The draft bill would add computer “crime” to racketeering activity, expand conspiracy parameters, and alter the definition of “authorized access” to be even more Orwellian and unworkable.

As reported by Natasha Lennard, Demand Progress, the group Aaron Swartz founded, condemned the draft bill.

Demand Progress, an advocacy group founded by Aaron Swartz, was swift to condemn the content of the draft bill. “This proposal is a giant leap in the wrong direction and demonstrates a disturbing lack of understanding about computers, the internet and the modern economy.  Already the outdated Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act is used by overzealous lawyers to prosecute routine computer activity. If enacted this proposal could end computer security research in the United States and drive innovation and creativity overseas,” said executive director David Segal.

Time to connect the dots. We all know what is going on here right? The 1% have decided they need a police state to protect their ill-gotten gains and a free internet is antithetical to that goal. So expect more attempts to shut down debate on the web and more shrill squeals about “cyber-terrorism.” The truly phantom menace.


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