Tell Congress: CFAA Is Broken. Don’t Make It Worse.

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A proposed amendment to the terrible Cyber Information Sharing Act would expand the broken Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Tell the Senate to reject this reckless expansion of computer crime law.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the dangerously vague anti-hacking statute that outlaws intentionally accessing a computer without or in excess of “authorization.” Overzealous prosecutors have taken advantage of CFAA’s unclear language by bringing criminal charges that aren't really about “hacking a computer,” but instead about doing things on a computer network that the owner doesn’t like.

The proposed CFAA changes give prosecutors and network owners even more ways to abuse the law, by:

  1. Creating a new crime for damaging certain computers while violating any of the CFAA’s other provisions, and forcing judges to impose longer sentences on anyone convicted of this additional crime.

  2. Making it easier for a prosecutor to claim someone violated the prohibition against trafficking in passwords and other means of access, by requiring only that a person “knew such conduct to be wrongful.”

  3. Expanding the trafficking prohibition to include any means of access, potentially threatening legitimate security research that exposes critical vulnerabilities in computer systems

  4. Allowing the government to use a civil court order to seize computers or other hardware, including that of innocent bystanders caught up in a botnet, without ever proving that you actually violated the law.

Email your Senators today, and tell them to vote no on the CFAA amendments to CISA. Then tell Congress to vote no on the rest of CISA too.

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