The “Cat Signal” has gone out, visible to all members of the Internet Defense League. The latest threat to internet freedom is an expanded and strengthened CFAA, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
This is the same piece of legislation that the government has been using to target innovators and activists since 1984. One of those innovators, Aaron Swartz, faced 13 counts under CFAA, up to 35 years in prison, for copying too many files from the online academic resource JSTOR. This threat of overwhelming state sponsored persecution has been regarded as the reason for Swartz tragic suicide January 11th, 2013.
The collective outrage generated from Swartz’s story has brought activists together in an effort to gain support for legislation that would reform and clarify CFAA, referred to as Aaron’s Law.
It appears that the House Judiciary Committee is not interested in Aaron’s Law’s spirit of reform and clarity, instead they prefer to see CFAA expanded and strengthened. The vote on this issue is April 10th, 2013.
Participants of the Internet Defense League have been asked to asked to call attention to this issue and direct traffic to the Fix the CFAA website. C4SS, as a participant, will oblige, but not without a caveat.
We do not want to see the CFAA fixed. It was never broken. It is a success. It was used how all laws are used. It did its job. It cannot be reformed. It is damage that we must identify and route around.
We want to see the CFAA destroyed by rendering it irrelevant. An irrelevance that is the result of its unenforceability and our ungovernability.
If Aaron’s Law buys us the time we need to “route around” or makes the yoke of law rest lighter upon our backs, then we will call attention to it. But we will never regard it as anything more than a temporary paper-thin restraint against psychopaths.