Fix the CFAA

You may have noticed the “Justice for Aaron Swartz” badge added to the sidebar.  I’ve added it to support the campaign by Demand Progress and the Internet Defense League that is trying to reform the CFAA.

From Demand Progress:

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the law under which Aaron Swartz and other innovators and activists have been threatened with decades in prison. The CFAA is so broad that law enforcement says it criminalizes all sorts of mundane Internet use: Potentially even breaking a website’s fine print terms of service agreement. Don’t set up a Myspace page for your cat. Don’t fudge your height on a dating site. Don’t share your Facebook password with anybody: You could be committing a federal crime.

It’s the vagueness and over breadth of this law that allows prosecutors to go after people like Aaron Swartz, who tragically committed suicide earlier this year. The government threatened to jail him for decades for downloading academic articles from the website JSTOR.
Since Aaron’s death, activists have cried out for reform of the CFAA. But members of the House Judiciary Committee are actually floating a proposal to expand and strengthen it — that could come up for a vote as soon as April 10th!

The changes proposed by the House Judiciary committee (as outlined by TechDirt) are disturbing, and I strongly recommend that you click on the photo of Aaron and use Demand Progress’s tools to let your legislators know that these changes are unacceptable.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation has outlined their recommended changes to the CFAA as well, and Representative Zoe Lofgren seems to be taking notice.  Let’s help the Internet Defense League and Demand Progress to support these reforms and remind Congress that the internet is watching.


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