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ToS Violations No Longer a Crime (On Their Own)

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-take-care-of-that-tag-on-your-pillow dept.

Crime 162

nonprofiteer writes "The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act previously made 'unauthorized access to a computer system' a crime — meant to apply to hackers, it also criminalized violations of a website's ToS or of a workplace's computer policies. The law is being changed to make the crime a felony rather than a misdemeanor, which led some to worry about the potential for its abuse. However, Senators Franken and Grassley added an amendment (PDF) to exempt violations of ToS and employer policies from the lists of felony activity. w00t for common sense."

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162 comments

So... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421030)

"...a company posted "terms of use" on its website declaring that no competitors could visit—and then promptly sued a competitor that did."

Re:So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421080)

And that's related to this bill about criminal law how?

Re:So... (0)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421802)

And that's related to this bill about criminal law how?

I'm not sure.

Can you get away with putting a sign outside your store saying "no competitors allowed", and then sue for trespassing? The closest I've ever seen is places saying "no commercial customers" (usually when they're selling below cost and don't want their competitor to use them as a supplier). Never heard of anyone actually trying to enforce that rule, though.

common sense ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421056)

so a misdemeanor on your record for violating a ToS or employer policy is supposed to be common sense ?
same as a burglary ?

Re:common sense ? (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421674)

"...to exempt violations of ToS and employer policies from the lists of felony activity."

is not?

Sorry but.... (0, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421078)

Dont cheer franken, he should be against the whole damn thing. TOS violations a felony? What complete idiot can stand by any part of that bill? So now I can make a TOS for my website or my home and declare laws that are not laws of the land and they become felonies...

Oh wait, this is only for the rich and the corperations... Must be a fucking republican law.

Re:Sorry but.... (4, Informative)

immakiku (777365) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421114)

Franken worked to exempt TOS violations from being a felony...

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421476)

But has not problem with them being a misdemeanor apparently and hence doesn't deserve any cheering.

Re:Sorry but.... (3, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421504)

The law that mad it a misdemeanor was already on the books. Did Franken vote for it? I rather doubt it, he hasn't been in office all that long, and the act is rather old. When you get elected to a senatorial post you don't get to review all the old laws on the books and call for a revote.

Re:Sorry but.... (-1, Flamebait)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421560)

What we SHOULD do is throw out any laws that were passed by the Republican corporate whores and yes, revote all the fucking things.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421694)

Does that mean we can throw out all the laws passed by the Democrat union cronies? Or perhaps those Whig teachers' pets? Can we make a hit on the Federalist government crazies, too? How about those wacky anti-slaving Republicans (the old ones)?

See, I can do it too.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

xmorg (718633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422020)

dems have passed plenty of pro corporate crap too. both parties are pro war, pro big corporations.

Re:Sorry but.... (1, Informative)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421704)

I agree.
Can we also throw out all the laws that were passed by Democrat whores?
Or do you think that laws passed by them are "All Good"?

Re:Sorry but.... (4, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421918)

Sounds like a plan. Revoke all laws 10-20 years after they are passed, unless they can pass again.

Give the congresscritters something to do, so they can feel useful.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421994)

I've been in favor of this as a constitutional amendment for years. No law should stand for more than a generation without a reexamination of content, context, and applicability.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422136)

Unfortunately, it'd take a major overhaul of our justice system to do this in America: We use a common law system, with history back to English common law from before the revolution. This means that a case that happened before America was discovered can be cited as precedent, as long as it hasn't been overruled since.

Countries that use a civil law system would be much more able to pull it off. (But then everything has to be decided by legislature, or on a case-by-case basis. You can't say 'well, last time the court said this.')

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Antimatter3009 (886953) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422046)

I've always thought a forced sunset provision for every bill would be a good idea, perhaps with it being made permanent after being passed a number of times. Something like 5 years for the first, 10 for the second, permanent after that. Or whatever. Just the idea of revisiting laws after them being in force for some number of years would greatly improve the whole law making process IMO.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422116)

Sounds like a plan. Revoke all laws 10-20 years after they are passed, unless they can pass again.

Give the congresscritters something to do, so they can feel useful.

Hasn't been working with the PATRIOT act crap.

It may even be that the sunset provisions are essentially guaranteeing renewal because all the politicians are afraid that if they do not renew the law and some terrorist somewhere pulls off an attack then anyone running for the same office will be able to say that the incumbent let the terrorist kill people by not voting to renew the law.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422170)

The point is to keep them busy, so they don't feel like they need to write new stupid laws. It's not a complete solution.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422190)

Sounds like a plan. Revoke all laws 10-20 years after they are passed, unless they can pass again.

Give the congresscritters something to do, so they can feel useful.

Maybe just something to do for ten minutes every year. That's how long it would take to vote through an omnibus bill renewing all legislation which was to expire that year. Attempts at debate would be sidestepped by invoking whatever rules are necessary (even if it involves misapplication of said rules). And the bill would likely be passed "by acclamation" or on "show of hands" or other means of avoiding documented responsibility by individual legislators.

If you want to get a sunset rule for legislation, it belongs in the constitution with explicit safeguards. For instance, it should emphatically prevent bundling of renewals, so that each and every bill to be renewed would need its own vote, and be accorded at least a token debate if a sufficient (but small) number of legislators so wish. The probable way around that, of course, is that each bill would be either trivially or toxically amended before it expires, thus resetting the clock. By toxic amendment, I mean the usual bundling of chalk and cheese that pollutes many bills in the US Congress (examples [wikipedia.org] ), where the debate would be clearly inadequate and concern only the current additions, rather than the stuff being renewed.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421716)

No, what we SHOULD do is throw out the WHOLE book except for the Organic Laws and start from scratch. Only problem with that is even as a large group of people or the entire population of the U.S. does not have enough power to make such radical changes in our government. That's why a Representative Republic (those who think that the U.S. is a Democracy are idiots) is a dangerous thing. We elect people into office who are not infallible and who have their own agendas. The whole system allows for corruption at it's foundation. The only way to be rid of it is to build something new that works in today's times.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421720)

What we SHOULD do is throw out any laws that were passed by the Republican corporate whores and yes, revote all the fucking things.

I know it's vogue to blame shit on the Republicans, but c'mon. 99% of politicians are self serving, worthless, retarded pieces of shit. Fucking over the American people is not a partisan issue.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421772)

What we SHOULD do is throw out any laws that were passed by the Republican and Democratic

corporate whores and yes, revote all the fucking things.

FTFY

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421808)

Yes, let's do. After all, their only claim to authority was that they were duly elected by the majority in their respective states/districts, and the Constitution.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421814)

You may want to add in the ones from the democratic corporate whores to, unless you are ignorant and think only one party does the bidding of rich corporations.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421920)

That's asinine; Republicans and Democrats are both corporate whores, just for different corporations. I do think we should have more sunset provisions though. In fact, laws should default to a four or five year maximum effective time, unless voted for by a super-majority, say 70%.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421976)

But when making changes that involve that law surely you should introduce the changes you think should be made?

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422026)

He did (well, they did). This law replaces the old law, and they have changed the definition of the crime to include a caveat about TOS and employment contracts. Assuming this law passes, it will not longer be any sort of crime to violate a TOS or employment contract (at least in so far as this law is concerned, if you violate your employment contract by stealing a few hundred grand, I suspect they still arrest you)

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422078)

"The law that mad it a misdemeanor was already on the books."

Citation needed.

I am not aware of any law that makes violation of TOS a crime.

The act that made "unauthorized computer access" a crime has been consistently ruled by the courts to not apply to TOS, for the very reason that it would allow site owners to make their own laws, by changing the terms of their TOS.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421170)

Your feelings of hatred and prejudice are noted.

If you had read the summary you would have seen that the bill now excludes ToS violations. I doubt if the original bill said explicitly "ToS violations are hereby felonies", more likely it applied to breaches of any instructions as to what is the permitted way to use a system you don't own. That captured ToS violations as well, however sense has now prevailed before the bill became law.

Also, Grassley is a republican whilst Franken is a democrat.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421324)

Apologies for the inaccuracy - the bill was obviously made law, now being amended.

Re:Sorry but.... (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421178)

Franken might be against the whole damned thing, but in favor of putting in the amendment because he thinks the entire bill will likely pass and he wants to make it suck less.

And the whole point of the amendment is that TOS violations won't be a felony.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421442)

And the whole point of the amendment is that TOS violations won't be a felony.

But are they still a misdemeanor? ToS Violations might still be a crime even with this ammendment despite what the title here says.

Re:Sorry but.... (3, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421578)

No, they changed the definition of the crime itself to exclude violations of TOSes and similar. Read the amendment, it's like a whole paragraph of reading.. Or, ya know, just scream and cry that your rights are being violated reflexively.

Re:Sorry but.... (1, Troll)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421680)

Well, to be honest it is a well-serving reflex. I'm sure it has a very high hit-rate.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37422036)

If you think that, then ask your mom to tell you about the boy who cried wolf.

Re:Sorry but.... (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421784)

No, they changed the definition of the crime itself to exclude violations of TOSes and similar. Read the amendment, it's like a whole paragraph of reading.. Or, ya know, just scream and cry that your rights are being violated reflexively.

I see nothing in the amendment that completely nixes violation of ToS from any and all lists of criminal activity found in the bill, only from the list of felony activities. Nor did I scream and cry like you believe I did; I posed a question, and expected a reasoned response. There is no legal version of justfinggoogleit.
Or, ya know, just reflexively scream and cry that others just scream and cry about their rights being violated.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421936)

It says right in the amendment that they are altering the definition of the crime. Since this law is replacing the old law, it will replace the definition in the old law with the new definition. Essentially everything that used to be a misdemeanor will now be a felony, but now with the caveat about TOS and Employment contract violations inserted. Assuming of course that the law gets passed at all; it seems that the whole thing is rather premature, because the bill hasn't even been voted on.

I apologize for the "crying and screaming" comment. For some reason I thought you were the poster from the original comment (who pretty much was crying and screaming).

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

wbav (223901) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421216)

Dont cheer franken, he should be against the whole damn thing. TOS violations a felony? What complete idiot can stand by any part of that bill? So now I can make a TOS for my website or my home and declare laws that are not laws of the land and they become felonies...

Oh wait, this is only for the rich and the corperations... Must be a fucking republican law.

From the summary above:

However, Senators Franken and Grassley added an amendment (PDF) to exempt violations of ToS and employer policies from the lists of felony activity. w00t for common sense.

Reading is fundamental.

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421312)

If those politicians had their choice, everybody would be a felon, finger printed and bar coded. They fear the computer and fear makes people do stupid things. And fear they should, ignorance is not bliss on the net.

Why are there never any names associated with these kinds of things? I really want to know who not to vote for just in case they are in my state, then again I don't vote, but my internet posts have the potential to :)

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422076)

Why are there never any names associated with these kinds of things? I really want to know who not to vote for just in case they are in my state, then again I don't vote, but my internet posts have the potential to :)

Well, I know reading is hard ... but ... if you had bothered to read THE SUMMARY AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE it attached two names itself ...

Senators Franken and Grassley put their names on it.

The problem is, as you've already pointed out, you don't care enough to vote, just enough to rant on the Internet and expect a different outcome. That makes you insane, as well as stupid. But if you actually cared enough to do something about it, you might pay attention to the news and notice which laws are being passed and who's pushing them ... you see, theres this neat thing about our government, bills don't come into being in front of congress without a name attached to them, its just the way it works, but you're too ignorant/lazy/stupid to even know that apparently.

All in all, I'd wager its probably better that you don't vote. You have so little fucking clue about whats going on that you could not possibly vote in any meaningful or intelligent way.

Hear! Hear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421410)

Oh wait, this is only for the rich and the corperations... Must be a fucking republican law.

Yes! Although, the Democrats can be just as guilty on occasion of putting corporate interests before their constituents.

Let's not let them completely off the hook ...

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421580)

Oh wait, this is only for the rich and the corperations... Must be a fucking republican law.

Actually, upgrading the crime to a felony was an Obama administration directive. Guess he's a Republican, now?

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421668)

Socialist or neocon, they're all the same these days. Just one has more of a "Gimme your wallet bro" kind of socialism and the other is more of a "Papers comrade" type of socialism. Both sides push the same agenda, just they push their own preferred form of socialism a little harder.

Re:Sorry but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37422222)

perhaps you should have some clue about the definitions of terms like "socialist" or "neocon" before you blab about them and expose yourself as a dumbfuck

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421702)

Actually, upgrading the crime to a felony was an Obama administration directive. Guess he's a Republican, now?

Unfortunately, he's been a Republican since his first day in office. :(

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422074)

There is little difference between the far left and far right - they both want to force their dogma and agenda down your throat and don't care that 99% of the population disagrees with them. It is hard to believe extremist nutbags get into office, but when you look at their competition it usually was one nutjob at one extreme or another at the other. You'd think we'd then favor a 3rd party, but when you look at them, they are almost all variants of the Green party, which is a bunch of tree hugging hippies and pot smokers (no offense meant if I stereotyped the Greens there - all of the ones I know, and I know a lot, are both of those - pot smoking and neo-hippies, and in the past election I could not find a party that was even close to moderate - there were 2 ultra conservative parties and 5 save the trees and/or smoke something parties [one of which was tobacco - their sole platform was reversing the state ban on smoking in public]). And yes I vote in primaries for both major parties. It's too bad only extremists from both sides vote in primaries aside from me though - and yes, I talk to people in line at the polls, and they are all crazies :(

Re:Sorry but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37422360)

From across the big lake, all your parties are right wing extremists.

Still crimes, even on their own (3, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421088)

A misdemeanor is still a crime, just a less serious crime. The amendment exempts ToS violations from being felonies, but does not stop them from being misdemeanors, then they are still crimes.

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (3, Informative)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421624)

I see no provision in the amendment that reduces from felony to misdemeanor, only language that exempts ToS violations etc. from whatever it is the bill stipulates in the section being amended. There not being a link to the law itself, I haven't seen it, but I sincerely doubt the original law says that ToS violations can alternately be considered misdemeanors, thus I deem it probably the law simply states that unauthorized access is a felony, without mentioning ToS etc. Since the amendment states that ToS etc. are exempted, then the amendment does NOT create them misdemeanors, and since AFAIK nothing else creates ToS violations as crimes, I don't think the amendment leaves them a crime of any kind at all.

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421946)

The law already on the books makes them misdemeanors. The change to the law would make them felonies. The amendment exempts them from the changed law. This means they are not felonies, but they may still be misdemeanors, the information provided doesn't make it clear.

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422064)

You may be right. But, I think there may be a problem with the result of the change.

the term “exceeds authorized access” means to access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter, but does not include access in violation of a contractual obligation or agreement, such as an acceptable use policy or terms of service agreement, with an Internet service provider, Internet website, or non-government employer, if such violation constitutes the sole basis for determining that access to a protected computer is unauthorized;

This change re-defines "exceeds authorized access". What is should do is define "authorized access" and/or "unauthorized access". As it is worded, it only protects those who are logged in at the time of the ToS violation. If the ToS/acceptable use policy states that violations result in a loss of authorization to access, the next time one logs in, one is committing unauthorized access even if one's username and password works. (Theory behind this is the "breaking and entering" statues which includes entering without authorization by use of any force, even nudging open a partially closed door. Even if you have keys, if you don't have authorization for the authorized occupant or owner of a space, using the keys and entering the space is considered breaking and entering).

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422444)

I don't think it is that big a deal, unless you want to insist that there have been frequent prosecutions of breaking and entering that occurred due to silent changes to permission to enter.

That is, if the website fails to notify the user that their access has been terminated and fails to suspend the account/password, any resulting prosecution will look a tiny bit aggressive.

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (2)

nonprofiteer (1906180) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421662)

That's incorrect. They are no longer misdemeanors or felonies. This exempts them from being crimes, period. Unless combined with other criminal activity.

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422086)

Please see my other post where I talk about the location of the change being made.

Re:Still crimes, even on their own (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421796)

Here's the text of the current law:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1030.html [cornell.edu]

(go yell at Cornell if you think it is not an accurate reflection of the current U.S. code, I don't care)

Section 1030(e)(6) defines the term âoeexceeds authorized accessâ as used in the law. The amendment to the proposed bill changes the definition explicitly to exclude TOS violations as a sole basis for determining unauthorized access.

The original Startrek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421092)

I thought the original Startrek was in the future. How do you know what will happen with the laws in the future?

Re:The original Startrek (1, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421328)

No matter what, we know they will be abused. They always have been, they always will be. The only way to change that is to fundamentally change humans, and I don't see that happening for a very very long time.

Damn Sony lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421106)

Sony got to Franken. I hope the sellout enjoys his new free PS3.

Still is a crime (1)

redemtionboy (890616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421110)

Adding an amendment does not mean it's been passed and is in effect. If this were true, then we would have gotten rid of the patriot act, withdrawn from foreign deployment, made smoking illegal, beefed up the patriot act, and given every person in america free tacos and jailtime. Here is the current status: http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/bills/112/s1151 [nytimes.com]

*nod nod nod* (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421132)

....However, Senators Franken and Grassley added an amendment (PDF) to exempt violations of ToS and employer policies from the lists of felony activity. w00t for common sense.

Excellent. This really made me blink and re-read many times to ensure the post and all of the articles referenced were actually what I thought I read.

Hopefully this will prevent scare-suit tactics from large companies that aren't "making enough money this quarter". :)

I'm referencing activities from the past, not trollin'.

Re:*nod nod nod* (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422138)

I'm referencing activities from the past, not trollin'.

No, you're trolling.

Referencing actually requires references that SOMEONE recognizes.

What large companies have sued people over ToS violations because they aren't "making enough money this quarter".

Re:*nod nod nod* (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422280)

So anyone with bad memory can't talk because they're always wrong?

I just don't remember. I'd like to post references but I don't have them. I don't focus on things of that caliber in my life. They're points of interest, but they fade over time.

I hope someone else reading knows what I'm talking about; everyone not understanding doesn't mean a few (or many) won't. Trolling (IMHO) needs a dash of 'intent', not just a bad memory of specifics when said specifics don't define the comment's overall message.

I know I'm not top-dog, but does what I just communicated make sense (even if you don't agree), or am I just full of crap?

Addendum: Definition of "Troll" from http://www.slashdot.org/faq [slashdot.org] : "Troll -- A Troll is similar to Flamebait, but slightly more refined. This is a prank comment intended to provoke indignant (or just confused) responses. A Troll might mix up vital facts or otherwise distort reality, to make other readers react with helpful "corrections." Trolling is the online equivalent of intentionally dialing wrong numbers just to waste other people's time."

Troll business model. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421134)

1. Register commonly mis-spelled domain names. 2. Make ToS "Any access to this website is prohibited." 3. Report all website accesses to the authorities. 4. Invest in new prison construction. 4. PROFIT.

Re:Troll business model. (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421244)

4. Invest in new prison construction.

Thanks for finally revealing what ??? means. Now we know that the penultimate step in every business venture is "Invest in new prison construction." Imagine the effect those stolen underpants will have!

Re:Troll business model. (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421264)

4. Invest in new prison construction.

Thanks for finally revealing what ??? means. Now we know that the penultimate step in every business venture is "Invest in new prison construction." Imagine the effect those stolen underpants will have!

Now you had to start running your mouth and training the other "x" percentage of readers that wouldn't have gotten it. Now it's ruined. Forever.

??? is investment in prison construction.

Thanks a lot, thanks.. a... lot. /humor :)

Re:Troll business model. (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421734)

You think that's a joke, but it's been tried. The "Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" has been around since the 80s, and strengthened several times. It is bad law. [wsj.com]

In one case, a company set up a website whose terms of use prohibited visiting the website. When their competitor visited, they sued. In another case, someone put a fake profile picture on MySpace and was charged with a crime. You can be sued for checking personal email at work or visiting Facebook.This is law made by people who don't understand computers very well. It also applies to any computer, so if you don't follow the terms of service for a microwave, you can be sued.

Re:Troll business model. (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421828)

That's ok I have a "Terms of Service" too. By accepting this my cash for purchase or license of your goods and services, you waive your rights to your apply customary Terms of Service agreement. This is clearly posted on my website.

Re:Troll business model. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422196)

You can be sued for checking personal email at work or visiting Facebook.

Yes, you can, and for good reason. There are times when those are actually a crime, just like how in certain circumstances you really CAN sue someone because YOU spilled hot coffee on YOURSELF.

Its not always cut and dried 'checking personal email' ... sometimes its 'emailing company documents to corp spies using personal email' or 'making death threats on facebook'.

These stupid laws exist because of lawyers who will use any twisting thing they can to win a case, right or wrong.

You make things like ToS violations illegal because otherwise some lawyer twists 'well, just because they were supposed to use email at work doesn't mean they should be fired even though they just did that all day long for 6 years and never once did anything they were assigned to do!' and after enough bullshitting, the company who tried to fire the secretary who dicked around on Facebook all day instead of answering the phones now gets hit with a fucking lawsuit where THEY are the bad guy for firing him/her/it.

Re:Troll business model. (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422082)

1. Register commonly mis-spelled domain names.

2. Make ToS "Any access to this website is prohibited."

3. Report all website accesses to the authorities.

4. Invest in new prison construction.

5. PROFIT.

It may sound far-fetched, but your step four is a well-proven business model. It made a lot of people rich in Arizona [npr.org] . But it didn't turn out so well for this guy [wikipedia.org] .

ToS - Works both ways (5, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421156)

I use the "Modify Headers" FF extension to add the following to all my browser requests:

X-Terms-Of-Service: By responding to this request, you agree to place no restrictions on the requesting user's use of the data you send, and that no subsequent terms of service may modify this provision.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421224)

I use the "Modify Headers" FF extension to add the following to all my browser requests:

X-Terms-Of-Service: By responding to this request, you agree to place no restrictions on the requesting user's use of the data you send, and that no subsequent terms of service may modify this provision.

Lolzers. Awesome.

Now make that header an RFC. Then, get a new random lawsuit filed, processed, and won. Get another suit and _use case law_ to win it.

Success. :)

Re:ToS - Works both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421254)

IANAL, but...

1. You're not providing a service, therefore you can't offer terms of that service.
2. You know that a human will never be reading that header. It probably won't even be found in logs. It's like whispering under your breath when you sign a contract.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421284)

IANAL, but...

1. You're not providing a service, therefore you can't offer terms of that service.
2. You know that a human will never be reading that header. It probably won't even be found in logs. It's like whispering under your breath when you sign a contract.

Yeah. Agreed. That's different from the daily cheat schemes from not-so-hot companies..... how?

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422232)

That's different from the daily cheat schemes from not-so-hot companies..... how?

The company forces you to see the ToS in order for it to be binding. They are required to put it in front of your eye balls in a way that you can not have missed it, only chosen to ignore it in order for it to be legally binding.

And then you fucking click next or I agree or whatever. THATS the difference.

They never get the option to look at your terms, and you are willfully ignoring to read theirs so you can claim ignorance later.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422332)

That's different from the daily cheat schemes from not-so-hot companies..... how?

The company forces you to see the ToS in order for it to be binding. They are required to put it in front of your eye balls in a way that you can not have missed it, only chosen to ignore it in order for it to be legally binding.

And then you fucking click next or I agree or whatever. THATS the difference.

They never get the option to look at your terms, and you are willfully ignoring to read theirs so you can claim ignorance later.

Please read what I said carefully...

...not-so-hot companies...

I'm referring to encouraged click-throughs and/or LONG ToS text, that hides by embedding, the stuff they don't want 'Joe, Average' seeing.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421394)

When I visit most websites I am indeed providing a service by looking at their advertisments. You think I do this crap for fun?

Re:ToS - Works both ways (2)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421282)

Won't do you any good because no human has agreed to your terms of service as you did to access the service in the first place. You have a computer agreeing not to place any restrictions, a computer with no authority to make such an agreement.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (2)

XanC (644172) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421382)

How is that different from a web site's ToS which binds me to something simply by downloading their page?

I don't know how the response is being formed. Maybe it IS by a human. Certainly could be. And certainly, any *client* might be a computer and not a human as well, which would nullify any web site ToS ever.

Basically, I agree with you that my "ToS" is stupid and useless, except to illustrate that web site ToSes are *also* stupid and useless.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421608)

It is different because, you, a person are making the agreement, an agreement presented by computer, but written by human.
 
You are using false dichotomy, a fallacy, to demonstrate something. That makes your demonstration fallacious.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421862)

the possibility exists that the client is in fact a computer (acting on a directive given by a human) : a web crawler that starts at some point and end up downloading some random link on some web page that the user didn't expect/intend to visit.
in this case you have a machine that did the agreement.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421618)

This is right. The minimum is you have to check a checkbox and click an 'I Agree' button. If you don't at least do that then you can't be accountable for a ToS violation.

Re:ToS - Works both ways (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421740)

Good luck proving that that statement was there, and that someone at the company with the authority to make that agreement signed off on it.

Post title wrong (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421276)

This is only a proposed change to the law -- the law itself hasn't changed yet. So, the title is wrong.

We don't need these amendments. (1, Flamebait)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421308)

I don't understand why they added these amendments. If we're going to maintain a proper police state, we need to make as many of our citizen's actions illegal as possible. This makes it easier for our brave and glorious men and women in uniform to keep the peace and protect our precious homeland from all those who would threaten it, or disagree with it, or who just look funny.

Re:We don't need these amendments. (1)

stackOVFL (1791898) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421482)

"I don't understand why they added these amendments. If we're going to maintain a proper police state, we need to make as many of our citizen's actions illegal as possible. This makes it easier for our brave and glorious men and women in uniform to keep the peace and protect our precious fatherland from all those who would threaten it, or disagree with it, or who just look funny"

FTFY. Really, how is violating a ToS a crime in any way? At best the user should get suspended or in more serious cases banned from the site for a ToS violation not charged with a f'n crime. This is just another dumbass law to give the appearance of the asshated politicians doing something.

Interpreting what "abuse" entails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421340)

The law needs hard guidelines on what constitutes abuse. There are a slew [wikipedia.org] of [wikipedia.org] lawsuits [wikipedia.org] (more where that came from, folks) that leverage the law as basically meaning "we didn't authorize your use of our system even if the system is publicly available."

fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421384)

Is breaking into someones computer really worth smacking someone with all the disenfranchisement things that permanently bar someone from voting, welfare, jury duty, owning a gun, various licenses, and international travel. At absolute worst the crime is an invasion of privacy and/or vandalism.

Re:fuck (1)

meloneg (101248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37421604)

Um. Depends on what computer and the consequences of tampering. That is, after all, the point of the original, existing law that may be being amended here.

Low standards of common sense these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421448)

Gradually "upgrading" everything in the book to felony is not what I'd call thoughtfully working to improve society. The result is quite the opposite as everything that you might do wrong will eventually criminalise you for life.

Trespassing should not be a felony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421542)

Why is trespassing a felony? It isn't in real life. The actions AFTER the intrusion are what should determine the severity.

Authority and freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37421626)

Patents, ToS, and the like, are partnered systems. Unless both parties accept it, it's lip-service and only held up by what legal mechanisms are in place, which are then backed by physical authorities. They can brandish legal documents till they're blue in the face, but if I don't want to accept it, I don't have to. There may be repurcussions to this, possibly fines and jail time depending on the scenario, but I am in no way REQUIRED BY LAW, to accept it. In the event that law is enacted that I be REQUIRED, I deem said law authoritarian, and it is within my liberty to reject and protest said authority.

Do politicians, and corporations really expect us to live under the guise that we really have anything left to lose to them? Liberty and freedom are all we have here folks.

Inaccurate story/summary (2)

thoromyr (673646) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422032)

This submission and/or the story is a troll. The referenced act only applies to a restricted set of systems. Roughly speaking it applies to non-public government systems and financial/bank computers. It does not apply to typical websites, nor does it apply to typical workplaces. But don't take my word for it, read the law http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/1030.html [cornell.edu]

So what? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422274)

An unenforced law is still something to be ridiculed and laughed at.

Every day just about everyone with any sort of server experiences "intrusions" which, if successfull, would result in significant harm to the server. Every day the administrators for these servers shrug it off and say it is just part of the Internet today. What this means is that we have people trying to do harm but in one way or another being blocked from doing it.

Every once in a while some server fails to block one of these and we have a real intrusion. Everyone complains but unless there are at least $25,000 in damages (in the US) nothing is going to be done. Oh, but should the damages reach $25,000 the FBI will get involved and bring everything to bear on the misguided child that did this. They and their parents are likely to spend thousands of dollars and a few years of their lives defending against this, probably unsuccessfully.

What this leads to is an entire culture of getting away with stuff and the feeling that anything that can be reached on the Internet is the personal playground for such folks. These aren't mighty hackers, these are misguided children being led down a path by laws that are not being enforced.

Right now, nobody is going to do anything until something major happens. This is like ignoring your child committing minor acts of vandalism and then, when they break more than a couple of windows sending them to jail for life. This is the wrong way to deal with this and will lead to nothing but bigger and bigger problems later on.

Wow, the amendment could not be any more stupid (1)

lamer01 (1097759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37422394)

It lists 3-4 specific examples where the law should not apply. It's basically an exclusionary amendment. Since we cannot foresee how the internet will evolve, this law could implicitly apply to many new forms of Tos in the future. Who is writing these laws? 5 year olds?
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