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back to article Congress plans to make computer crime law much, much worse

In the wake of the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz, there have been many calls to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act used to prosecute him. Work is currently afoot for "Aarons Law" legislation, which simplifies and brings a measure of sense to the law, but now the House Judiciary Committee has begun circulating an update to …

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"In the wake of the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz, there have been many calls to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act used to prosecute him."

I think that's a typo: you meant 'persecute'.

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Meh

Three strikes and you are out rule... Life Sentences for downloading Justin Beiber songs....

Still it will help the economy by helping to populate the US prisons, therefore increasing demand for spaces, leading to increases in building new prisons, which will lead directly to more employment in the prison sector..

It's comparable to a Ponzi scheme, when the US runs out of prisoners they can export the laws and make them applicable to other countries and import prisoners to help fill prisons, to increase prison building programs, to employ more people in the prison sector......

Either that or the death penalty, but where the profit in that?

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Coat

"Three strikes and you are out rule... Life Sentences for downloading Justin Beiber songs...."

Make the punishment fit the crime...

A life sentence listening to Justin Beiber songs!

... or is that banned under The Eighth Amendment as a cruel and unusual punishment?

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"Either that or the death penalty, but where the profit in that?"

Lots and lots of profit. You keep them on Death Row for decades while the lawyers argue back and forth.

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"Either that or the death penalty, but where the profit in that?"

When they're in-between migrating the prisoners to a new prison they're currently building so they wont overpopulate. Not profit perse but helps keep the economy running :)

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Anonymous Coward

New film

Escape From the USA starring Snake 'Call Me Snake' Plissken.

"Got a smoke?"

" The United States is a non-smoking nation! No smoking, no drugs, no alcohol, no women - unless you're married - no foul language, no red meat!"

"Land of the free."

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I think that everyone should let the politicians know that if they pass this act, they will be unemployed after next election. This is sickening to see this kind of crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: New film

"Land of the free."

In some examples they've actually managed to out-Stalin Stalin.

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FAIL

Re: henrydddd

"I think that everyone should let the politicians know that if they pass this act, they will be unemployed after next election......" Well, if you had actually thought at all, you would realise that is where your whole premise falls over - the electorate will probably choose to disagree, they have more pressing concerns than letting Internet criminals get off with a slap on the wrist.

"......This is sickening to see this kind of crap." Why? Part of setting sentences for crimes is that they should act as a deterrent, and by the shrieking and whining going on all over the Web it looks like the dweebs are starting to realise they can't treat the Internet as their personal tantrum room and get away with a few harsh words. Don't like it then find a politician willing to stand for the same (lack of) values as you hold dear and vote for him, or learn to follow the laws set by society.

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Life Sentences for downloading Justin Beiber songs....

That's a cruel thing to do for someone clearly insane.

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Meh

these types of laws are designed to give prosecutors a strong negotiation position with which to threaten suspects and avoid all the expense and hassle of actually holding trials

How much expense and hassle is saved if the suspect is persecuted into suicide?

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Re: henrydddd

Except someone hung himself over the current laws being threatened against him. I think the laws are already strict enough?

If you merely want laws to act as a deterrent, why not simply implement the death-penalty for everything?

To be fair though - you did say "Part of setting sentences" - so I'll admit that I'm of course misrepresenting you...

on the internet...

dammit, that's like 2 years in prison right? :)

The other part of sentencing (watch out for a false dichotomy - who says there's only two parts to it), is rehabilitating. Giving some computer criminal 50 years in prison is likely to not only rehabilitate him, but in-habilitate him. When he gets out there'll be holographic wrist computers and think-web. At least then he can't commit more crimes. Of course he'll never contribute to society again either.

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FAIL

Re: Eguro Re: henrydddd

".....someone hung himself over the current laws being threatened against him....." The only person that knows why Aaron Swarz hung himself is Aaron Swarz, and seeing as he can't really tell us your statement is mere conjecture based on your WANTING The Man to be to blame. The EVIDENCE - such as the fact Aaron had said he felt suicidal years ago, and that he knew a major chunk of the evidence against him could be thrown out of court - suggests you are talking out of your rectum, but from the tone of your dribbling post it is very obvious you wouldn't let mere facts get in the way of your bleating.

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Coat

@Eguro Re: henrydddd

"To be fair though - you did say "Part of setting sentences" - so I'll admit that I'm of course misrepresenting you...

on the internet..."

If that the case, all the politicians will wind up in jail because we know they misrepresent all of us (Americans)...

Mine's the one with the Pirate Box install disc in the pocket...

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Joke

RE: Matt Bryant Re: Eguro RE: henrydddd

Since when di the facts matter... on the interwebz?

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@Matt Bryant "Aaron had said he felt suicidal years ago"

Someone ought to notify wikipedia. 'Everyone who feels suicidal eventually will commit suicide'. Just cite Matt Bryant @ this thread.

Oh, and "he knew a major chunk of the evidence against him could be thrown out of court." And if you buy a 100 lottery tickets, you could win the lottery.

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That sounds good in some ways, but the ultimate result is something totalitarian - where everyone has broken some laws, so it is easy to pressure and control those that The Man doesn't like. And once again, the wrong approach to computer security, where it can't be even discussed (!) seems to have been taken. What next, government control of all strong crypto?

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Re: New film

you mean "Land of the Fee"

The Braves live on reservations.

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Unhappy

All that prison space

that will be opened up when they legalize drugs has to be filled. Just like in the hotel industry, "Heads in beds" is the Golden Rule.

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@LarsG

"Still it will help the economy "

You have hit the nail on teh head there - one of the 2 worst things in the US justice system is how much of it is privatised. Private prisons make profits with more prisoners (and also, by having worse conditions in prisons). The prison lobby pushes hard to make sure that they keep getting more and more new 'clients' and to be able to keep them inside for longer. When it becomes the commercial interest of some very rich and powerful people for there to be more and more people incarcerated, that's what you get.

The other one, of course, is having elected prosecuters, sheriffs etc. In theory this is great for more openness in the system. In practise, the electoral system rewards the people who say "I'm going to be tough on crime, impose higher penalties etc" against those who say "I'm for better justice, I want to make sure that no-oneinnocent goes to jail". Possibly it's to do with basic psychology - if I'm a law-abiding citizen I can never imagine that I will be the one caught in the net of some trivial misdemeanour so I'm all for "those who trespass against me" getting the book thrown at them

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Re: James Missing A Clue Re: @LarsG

"....The prison lobby pushes hard to make sure that they keep getting more and more new 'clients'..." Yeah, cos every time some gormless sheeple like you hacks a computer or deals drugs or holds up a store or does something else illegal and equally stupid, there was a prison company guy telling you what to do and putting the drugs/keyboard/gun into your hands, right? Were you home-schooled by drug-addled hippies or what? Seriously, you must be a troll as I find it very hard to believe anyone could be as dumb as you.

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Flame

Re: New film

No. they managed to beat China at it's own game.

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Anonymous Coward

Ye gods.

Those who fail to learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them, is probably the best advise a history professor ever said. Plainly, someone hasn't been reading history over there. Look what happened to the Roman Empire, then look at the USA.

In summation, then: Super Power = De Facto Absolute Power = Clear Evidence of No Responsibility towards others.

Screw you indeed, with knobs on.

Someone want to lend the US Senate a fiddle and a box of matches?

AC because, well. Obvious, really.

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Anonymous Coward

"it's judicial bullying and overreach"

That pretty much sums up America in the eyes of the rest of the world.

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Big Brother

Re: "it's judicial bullying and overreach"

Concur, my friend! Not much fun to live under this crap.

My beloved country is still the leader of the free world... leading it right into Big Brother's arms!

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Re: "it's judicial bullying and overreach"

"Big Brother" is a bit of an understatement. When you start to get laws where they can always find something on anybody they want, then it's actually leading to something much worse.

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Re: "it's judicial bullying and overreach"

Britain still has a higher density of survalence cameras than the US. But we're trying to catch up.

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Re: "it's judicial bullying and overreach"

Britain still has a higher density of surveillance cameras than the US.

true, but our infrastructure is crap, so it hasn't had much impact - a few percent of crimes are solved using them

(ANPR is another thing altogether - tho there is a cool hack for that, alledgedly - http://kossovsky.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/sql_injection_traffic_camera-300x231.jpg)

The big difference is that merkin's in general and politicians in particular actually believe that 'the end justifies the means' (probably 'work will make one free' as well! - fucking godwin) and that executing 100 innocents is ok so long as no criminal evades justice. (members of congress excepted, duhh!)

Having the big stick with no one ready to use it, is quite different to having the big stick and having it used constantly... RICO ffs!

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Big Brother

Re: "it's judicial bullying and overreach"

I have noticed that the surveillance cameras are getting a lot of police off of the street. Why do we need any police patrolling if we gotz cameras?

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Unhappy

Re: "it's judicial bullying and overreach"

That pretty much sums up America in the eyes of much of America, as well.

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Mushroom

Basically

it is terrorism, controlling people through fear.

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Utterly unfair

"Instead, these types of laws are designed to give prosecutors a strong negotiation position with which to threaten suspects and avoid all the expense and hassle of actually holding trials."

You'd have to be absolutely blind not to see the gob-smacking unfairness of both the proposed and even existing systems. Basically, intimidate someone into saying they're guilty whether they are or not.

There are many great things about the U.S. but this element of their judicial system is definitely not one of them.

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Re: Utterly unfair

There are many great things about the U.S

name 2?

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Devil

Re: Utterly unfair

Name 2?? Well, there's Austin. A-and, didn't we come up with the hula hoop? A-and the pet rock!!! See, three right there!!

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Happy

Re: Naughtyhorse Re: Utterly unfair

"There are many great things about the U.S

name 2?"

Well, Walt Disney World for one, and the technical and scientific community that gave you the PC, tablet or smartphone and the Internet you used to post your dribble for a second. But I suppose the greatest appeal of the States would be that you are obviously not there.

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Judicial Fuckwittery

It is quite clear that the US has gone quite mad. Have your day in court they used to say. Innocent until proven guilty they used to say. Everyone is equal in the face of the law they used to say.

Smedley Butler was right. The US cares naught for the working man. Only business.

Utter disgrace.

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Mushroom

Re: Judicial Fuckwittery

Oh a few of us Americans know alright and it's getting harder and harder to get out and live in another country, because this will not end well and we sure as HELL don't want to be here when it goes TU.

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Re: Judicial Fuckwittery

@ ecofeco

Indeed my American friends/colleagues are very much exploring alternatives to staying there as they have pretty had enough of campaigning against this and other totally insane bollocks.

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Devil

Re: Judicial Fuckwittery

Tha's 'bidness' ta ya'll, son! Ya know, son, what makes 'Merika GREAT (really, the whole earth) is that you can poke holes in it 'n' awl 'n' gas jest comes a bubblin' up!! [see: http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-congress/2013/03/stockman-the-best-thing-about-the-earth-is-if-you-159944.html]

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Re: Judicial Fuckwittery

@beep54

Just as well we're not living on a balloon....

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Insanity

There's a preposterous disconnect in the potential penalties for things like this and actually horrific crimes like murder or rape, or things like selling hard-core drugs. The claim that they're some sort of prosecutorial "bargaining position" is small comfort, since the very existence of the penalty means a prosecutor has the right to ask for it and a judge is free to apply it. The idea of actually scaling the penalty to the harm done (or threatened) seems right out the window. This, sadly, should be no surprise, as I feel we have been seeing similar problems in copyright infringement cases as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Insanity

One of the most logical and accurate posts I have ever seen on the register.

Well done.

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Alert

Re: Insanity

The idea of actually scaling the penalty to the harm done (or threatened) seems right out the window

Do you realize that's about the only sane argument with which one could attempt to defend the indefensible? That particularly serious instances of computer crime may have a cost measured in billions of dollars, or even in lives lost?

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Black Helicopters

Missing Part

Where's the part that gives them worldwide jurisdiction that we've come to expect after PIPA?

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Re: Missing Part

It's implied, isn't it.

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Black Helicopters

Watch up for the Guv'mint

Bleeding 'eck - if I was living there I too would be worried about the federals and black helicopters. Probably would have a cellar full of tinned food and assault rifles as well.

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Black Helicopters

And the want us to trust them

by handing over our citizens with Asperger's Syndrome who would of course be perfectly safe with them ... yeah, right.

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Well the good news is that this is still in committee in the House so it has a ways to go.

As much as the lack of Senate being able to pass any legislation drives me nuts some times, there are other times I find it quite comforting since the feces throwing monkeys in the House will pass just about anything except for a sensible budget.

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In Committee in the House ...

Translation for the British: One of 500+ folks in the lower House has proposed something, and even a committee of folks who are the oversight in the area of interest before the whole Congress even bothers to debate this hasn't even taken a look. The "prosecutors need more arbitrary power" argument needs to be nipped in the bud, though.

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