Aaron’s Law – Balancing Criminal and Civil Law in Computer Crimes

By now every one knows, or has at least heard, the story of Aaron Swartz.  Arron was a brilliant person how fought for what he believed in and in the end, paid the ultimate price at his own hand.

Aaron was prosecuted under felony charges for what any one with a reasonable view of life and computers would view as an incredibly minor issue. Even JSTOR, to site involved, stepped back and was content to let the issue drop. But, a federal prosecutor was hell bent to make her bones on the back of some kid who committed a computer crime. It didn’t matter that no one lost anything, it didn’t matter that it would ruin him financially, it didn’t even matter to her that the people who were wronged felt the issue was over. She used the law to make a name for herself.

American law has become a twisted mess of self promotion, lies, half truths, and selective prosecution all in the name in politics. Thought and reason has been removed from the process entirely (3 strikes, RICO, 2nd Amendment) and replaced with zero tolerance and prosecution based on success rates vs actually doing good for the country. Fortunately, once in a while, some possible good comes from an event like this.

Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced a draft of a bill on Reddit (appropriate) 

The basic intent of this bill is to remove the criminal aspect of violating a website’s TOS and place them back where they belong, under contract law. This would remove the “easy conviction” that some prosecutors go after in computer crimes where there is no illegal activity other than violating the website’s terms of service. This is a _*VERY*_ good thing and something that we should all be behind regardless of your political leanings.

It is long since time that we begin the long process of taking back control of our legal system and the people that are supposed to be enforcing it.

I have created a Community to discuss and support this amendment to the CFAA. Please join us and lend your hand to the effort.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111771826322255338100

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