U.S. Congress Proposes "Aaron Swartz Law"
A new law called "Aaron Law" to make some changes in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) may soon become a reality as the said law is being proposed by Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, a lawmaker who has been in the forefront of Internet freedom issues in Congress for years.
Some people say that Lofgren's proposal might come up short because the main problem of the CFAA is that it lacks a clear definition of authorized access. Under the current law, it appears that prosecutors have a lot of leeway to charge hackers even in cases when all they did was get a hold of public information, as in the case of Swartz.
According to The Guardian, Marcia Hoffman, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has welcomed the proposed bill, but hinted that the bill needed strengthening before it went to Congress. That report also claim that Hoffman tweeted “Kudos to Rep Lofgren for her swift response. But her bill wouldn’t have prevented Aaron’s prosecution under the CFAA or wire fraud law.”
The same report has also mentioned that Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor and a friend of Swartz gave the proposed amendment his blessing when he wrote “This is a critically important change that would do incredible good.”
It seems the main problem of the existing CFAA law is that it lacks a clear definition of authorized access. Under the current law, it appears that prosecutors have a lot of leeway to charge hackers even in cases when all they did was get a hold of public information, as in the case of Swartz.
Meanwhile, the said Aaron bill, named after the late Reddit cofounder Aaron Swartz, is now under consideration from the House Judiciary Committee. Its Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, told reporters on Tuesday that his committee "certainly is going to look at that very carefully and see what we can do", though he made no promises. Goodlatte said the Judiciary committee might also hold hearings on the proposed Aaron’s Law, as written by Lofgren, and on CFAA reform as a whole.Continued on the next page