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Politics Your Rights Online

Aaron's Law Is Doomed and the CFAA Is Still Broken 134

I Ate A Candle (3762149) writes Aaron's Law, named after the late internet activist Aaron Swartz, was supposed to fix U.S. hacking laws, which many deem dated and overly harsh. But the bill looks certain to wither in Congress, thanks to corporate lobbying, disagreements in Washington between key lawmakers and a simple lack of interest amongst the general population for changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Representative Zoe Lofgren blamed inactivity from the House Judiciary Committee headed up by Representative Bob Goodlatte, which has chosen not to discuss or vote on Aaron's Law. There is still an appetite for CFAA reform, thanks to complaints from the security community that their research efforts have been deemed illegal acts, perversely making the internet a less secure place. But with the likes of Oracle trying to stop it and with Congress unwilling to act, change looks some way away.
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Aaron's Law Is Doomed and the CFAA Is Still Broken

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  • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @11:34AM (#47614525)
    Apparently Oracle has sunk $1.36 mil into lobbying against this because they are using the CFAA to "protect trade secrets." Presumably they're holding the threat of ridiculous prison sentences over their employees' heads to keep them from leaking any of Oracle's precious bodily fluids, but someone must have some idea of what it is that Oracle is trying to hide, even if you all don't know the particulars. Spill.

    Is it some special sauce for tricking state governments into contracting with Oracle when they could be working with a different, competent company? Or into buying ten times as many licenses as they actually need? Doubtless there's some reason why Oracle is as rich as it is...
  • Re:Face it ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by usuallylost ( 2468686 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @02:46PM (#47616059)

    That is good advice. A huge number of Americans do not understand that we have a two election system. The primaries for the various parties and then the general election. The party's policy positions are frequently fought out in the primary process. Since such a small percentage of the population participates in those the will of the party elite tends to hold sway. If you want to change what happens a primary challenge is a much smaller undertaking and has the potential for greater impact than any other method of directly challenging the current system. Absent a primary upset odds are that the person on the ballot for both parties is an entrenched establishment player. Mostly because they are the only ones who come out for primaries.

    The Virginia seventh district is a prime example of how a comparatively small and not well funded group of upset voters can change the entire dynamic of a race. An unknown comparative outsider came into the race and spent ~$250,000, which is chump change in congressional elections, and took down Eric Cantor. Because the voter pools are so much smaller it is much easier for a group to impact policy at that level. In the general election you frequently add a zero to the number of voters involved and to the amount of money you have to spend to get your message out. The key is upset local people changed the power structure in the house by particpating in the primary.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.