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New CFAA Could Subject Teens To Jail For Reading Online News

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the literal-reading-for-literally-reading dept.

Crime 230

redletterdave writes "Anyone under 18 found reading the news online could hypothetically face jail time according to the latest draft of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is said to be 'rushed' to Congress during its 'cyber week' in the middle of April. According to the new proposal floated by the House Judiciary Committee, the CFAA would be amended to treat any violation of a website's Terms of Service – or an employer's Terms of Use policy – as a criminal act. Applied to the world of online publications, this could be a dangerous notion: For example, many news websites' Terms of Use warn against any users under a certain age to use their site. In fact, NPR and the Hearst Corporation's entire family of publications, which includes Popular Mechanics, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle, all disallow readers under 18 from using their 'services.' According to the DOJ, this would mean anyone under 18 found accessing these sites — even just to read or comment on a story — could face criminal charges."

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What's the First Amendment? (5, Insightful)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359339)

Want to keep the public in the dark and ill-informed? This is the perfect way!

what are numbers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359451)

what is writing , what is a hitler....

Re:What's the First Amendment? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359635)

Actually, the next step will be to make it a crime to use the internet to complain about the Gov on Gov sites as long as the Gov sites' ToS state it.

"Thank you for visiting congress.gov. By visiting this site you agree to contribute the legal* maximum to each member of Congress ..."

* by "legal" we mean as much as you have because no one even prosecutes us for breaking election laws (which we're going to get around to repealing anyway).

Re:What's the First Amendment? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359647)

I'm unclear on how this law would directly infringe on a person's 1st Amendment rights.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359731)

I'm unclear on how this law would directly infringe on a person's 1st Amendment rights.

Because the 1st Amendment clearly states "Catchall alarmist soundbite amendment for use with people who want to scare the country", just like the founding fathers intended. Read the Bill of Rights someday, cretin.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (2, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360167)

Well, it's expanding copyright by default and allowing private corporations to infringe on a person's rights, and making the government enforce it at tax payer expense.

Welcome to the USSA, where you get all the justice you can afford.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360403)

I'm unclear on how this law would directly infringe on a person's 1st Amendment rights.

If you wanted to be strict about it, the 1st Amendment only refers to 'freedom of speech' and 'freedom of press'

It doesn't say anything about it being legal to hear said speech or read said press.

I wish I were confident that this is 100% crack-pottery and trolling, but...

Re:What's the First Amendment? (0, Troll)

turkeyfish (950384) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360585)

Minors don't have 1st Amendment rights. The courts have settled this long ago.

Not satisfied with its war on women, war on drugs, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, war on gays, war on hispanics the GOP is not opening up a new war on children. They will teach these young ones not to be liberal or face jail time.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (2)

twiddlingbits (707452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360665)

The GOP isnt in control of the Senate or the Executive Branch..have you been under a rock the last 5 yrs? Regardless, its Computer "stuff" something Congress as a whole (bioth partied) has no clue about so they'll probably passs it as the "good" in it outweighs the "evil" in it according to them. Educate your elected officials about this part of the bill and urge them to strike it out. I wonder what other easter eggs are buried in the fine print..:(

Re: I'm unclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360757)

You can't be serious. You just can't.
I know, summaries are inflammatory, but they point out worst case scenarios.
If enforced as Summarized, "Teen reads news, goes to jail" basically violates some half of the Amendments.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (5, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359747)

Everything that you do, every day is against the law. All the time.

All it needs is a motivated prosecutor or enforcement agent, to activate your infraction.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360269)

Everything that you do, every day is against the law. All the time.
All it needs is a motivated prosecutor or enforcement agent, to activate your infraction.

Thanks Aaron. [wikipedia.org]

Re:What's the First Amendment? (1, Insightful)

strikeleader (937501) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359831)

I am surprised by this. You would think that the current administration would want to let all the young impressionable minds read the daily propaganda that the state run media regurgitates every day to keep them brain washed. After all you wouldn’t want them thinking for themselves.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360087)

im sure your surprised by many many things, like your shadow, or possibly someone else's shadow. I think its funny that you are so sure that the "state run" media is brainwashing people, since clearly you don't understand the things you read in the first place.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360191)

"State-run media"? More like "Media-run state" from where I sit...

Re:What's the First Amendment? (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360089)

Don't attribute to malice that which can be accounted for by stupidity. Congress is an example of representative government in action. Most people now are idiots and they elect idiots who make idiot laws. Hence we have crazy legislation like this that we don't even need. At least once we're all in jail we'll be safe.....I guess.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359927)

Want to keep the public in the dark and ill-informed? This is the perfect way!

Typical, SNAFU, lawmakers want to put a mushroom cloud on the FREE internet.

A principle even older than the 1st amendment (5, Insightful)

waterbear (190559) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360295)

A significant principle of the 'rule of law' and 'freedom under the law' for a long time has been that there should be no penalty without a law that imposes it. The principle is so old it was there in Latin too, "nulla poena sine lege", and some (including me) regard it as one of the important foundation-stones of a free society.

What the maxim didn't spell out (maybe because it was thought obvious, or should be) is that the law needs to be one that makes it clear and specific enough so that people know in advance what the penalty-earning conduct is going to be.

The ingenuity of some modern legislators subverts this principle while pretending to respect it. They design and pass blanket laws -- such as, arguably, the CFAA -- which are so broad, that they generically criminalize harmful and harmless conduct alike (or, harmful conduct along with other conduct that ought to be considered harmless except it goes against the interests of the legislators' friends). It seems to be assumed (occasionally said right out) that the harmless acts swept up into the breadth of the law will be treated as 'de minimis'. Then it is left to the discretion of prosecutors to pick the cases 'really' deserving of punishment.

Of course one big question about these blanket laws is whether prosecutors should be trusted with that kind of power (I'd answer 'no', and point to the recent Aaron Swartz case).

But an even bigger issue is that the result of subverting the principle of 'nulla poena sine lege' in this way is, that no-one really knows any more what conduct is going to be forbidden in practice. A whole lot of folk get theoretically criminalised for the harmless actions swept up into the over-broad laws, and can only rely on the legal system ignoring the 'de minimis' actions. This is obnoxious for so many reasons, including that harmless acts ought not to be criminalized even theoretically. But it is worse when the blanket law becomes used as justification or pretext for punishment when a prosecutor wants to really get nasty with somebody for some quite ulterior reason not made publicly known. Then the real motivation for punishment can become deceitfully concealed under a veneer of sanctimony '. . .but he broke the law'.

I can hardly think of any subversion of the legal system more poisonous to freedom and the rule of law than this.

-wb-

Re:A principle even older than the 1st amendment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360799)

Of course one big question about these blanket laws is whether prosecutors should be trusted with that kind of power (I'd answer 'no', and point to the recent Aaron Swartz case).

But an even bigger issue is that the result of subverting the principle of 'nulla poena sine lege' in this way is, that no-one really knows any more what conduct is going to be forbidden in practice.

Another interesting question: At what point is it time to grab the pitchforks and use non-/violent protest to stop that crap ?
What conclusions will people draw from the response against the occupy-movement ?
On paper stuff looks really bad, in practise its not (yet?) that bad. Is it realistic to fix it within the system or will nothing happen until maybe (eventually ?) shit really hits the fan ?

tl;dr; Can stuff be fixed and can it be done without violence and too much chaos ?

Re:A principle even older than the 1st amendment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360965)

What is comical about this is that breach of contract isn't a criminal offense in meat space. If I sign a contract saying am not going to go into your study the most you can do if I breach the contract is sue me. But if I sign and do the online equivalent I should face jail time??? What if I sign an employment contract online and do the work online??? Should I go to jail if am not able to complete my end of the agreement??? No sane person would ever consider this. I think someone needs to form a group to bring jury nullification to the main stream if we can't stop this laws.

Re:What's the First Amendment? (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360859)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Obviously, 'the people', in keeping with 'the people' in the second ammendment, refers to gov't organized and sancioned groups and 'the press' refers to established and licensed newspapers and news reporting organizations. Of course, the right sort of large and established corporations would no doubt receive gov't approved subsidiary licenses that they can then bestow on suitably patriotic and contributory supporters.

More power in the hands of corporations (1)

milgram (104453) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359361)

Because they have handle the power so well so far...

Only in America (2, Insightful)

AoOs (1336153) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359373)

*facepalm*

Re:Only in America (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359921)

Only in the House of Representatives... These folks are well known for creating the most poorly conceived and ill considered legislation. The HR represents newbs and the worst of the worst when it comes to radical ideologs. The sad reality is that the voters rarely give scrutiny to the ones they vote in. If your name is more widely recognized than your opponent and/or you happen to be affiliated with the popular party you're almost assured to get in. Senators tend to be more moderate and have a bit more skill at crafting legislation with fewer unconsidered consequences reflecting their lack of newbness and a marginally higher voter scrutiny. If the wording of this shows up in a Senate bill then we have reason for concern.

HA HA HA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359381)

I hope this bill passes!

Main problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359407)

Lying to a porn site about your age would get you into prison.

Re:Main problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359937)

Lying to a porn site about your age would get you into prison.

I could change my website's ToS to include:
- first rule of this website: don't talk about, write about, post about, tweet about or otherwise refer to this website in any way.
- you may not access this site via an external link or search engine.
- you may not read content with bold headlines or non-bold headlines that contain numbers (either as digits or as words representing numbers) on this website.
- you may not click on any pictures on this website.
- you may not use your browser's 'Back' button while on this website.
- you may not use the contact information on this website to contact me.
- you may not sign up for this website's newsletter.
- you may not ever return to this website.

Alarmist much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359413)

If the Terms of Use include the phrase "you will give the owner of this website a blowjob for every page loaded" will violators be going to jail?

Something doesn't smell right here. Some moron is misinterpreting law again.

Re:Alarmist much? (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359475)

Something doesn't smell right here. Some moron is misinterpreting law again.

The odds are much better than this is actually how the law is being written, and they are "expecting the court to correctly interpret it" because, you know, that' the job of the courts... to interpret the intended meaning of the law. (facepalm)

Writing the law correctly and unambiguously would just be too much of a bother for the congresscritters.

Re:Alarmist much? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359697)

The odds are much better than this is actually how the law is being written, and they are "expecting the court to correctly interpret it" because, you know, that' the job of the courts... to interpret the intended meaning of the law.

And then they complain about 'activist judges' who tell them their laws, as written, are crap and can't possibly stand in law.

If you can't pass a law which is actually compatible with your legal frame work, don't be surprised when a judge rules it void because it violated half a dozen legal foundations.

And the TOS for a web site could be random, arbitrary, and illegal ... there is no attempt whatsoever to address this. "By visiting this site, you owe me $1000 and a blowjob" or any other crap that has no place in contract law, and there's no attempt to ensure you're not waiving rights you're not supposed to be able to waive (like class action suits for instance).

This is just more stupidity to pander to big business and screw the rest of us.

Re:Alarmist much? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359829)

"By visiting this site, you owe me $1000 and a blowjob" or any other crap that has no place in contract law

This needs to change. Let's start a lobby.

Re:Alarmist much? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360837)

fuck your lobby. I'm starting that website

Re:Alarmist much? (3, Interesting)

Garridan (597129) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360827)

If this law comes to pass, I fully intend to create a private website that has personal information about me. The TOS will state that various parts of the site are off-limits, and that it is forbidden to access those parts of the site.

When the site is indexed by Google, I'll take them to court. They've got the clout to get this shit taken care of... and a good time will be had by all.

Re:Alarmist much? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359959)

Except that the interpretation of the indented meaning is far more fluid than most would think or prefer.

Re:Alarmist much? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359963)

Writing the law correctly and unambiguously would just be too much of a bother for the congresscritters.

Why would they want to do that? They're mostly lawyers, and if the law were written correctly and unambiguously, people wouldn't need their services anymore, now would they?

Re:Alarmist much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359663)

A contract stipulation that is itself illegal (prostitution, for instance) is not enforceable.

Also, the "moron" interpreting this law is the United States Department of Justice. Wise cracks about government employees aside, there are few organizations better qualified to interpret how a low will be prosecuted than the prosecutors tasked with doing so.

Re:Alarmist much? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360287)

If the Terms of Use include the phrase "you will give the owner of this website a blowjob for every page loaded" will violators be going to jail?

If it serves the interests of the powerful, then yes. Egregious TOS terms will be ignored until it's convenient not to ignore them. They deliberately write laws that can be misinterpreted in order to be able to deliberately misinterpret the law to punish their political opponents. c.f. Aaron Swartz.

More importantly, law writing (5, Insightful)

spongebue (925835) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359435)

I think that even more importantly, this effectively gives website owners the power to write laws on their own. Want to include a stipulation in your terms of use that forbids shopping at the competition after merely setting foot in your website? Sure, why not? And if you have the de facto enforcement of criminal law on your side, even better

Re:More importantly, law writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359849)

Ya, I couldn't believe that this point was missed in the original article.

On the other hand, making stupid comments on slashdot could become a criminal offense.

Re:More importantly, law writing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360159)

On the other hand, making stupid comments on slashdot could become a criminal offense.

Never. However making intelligent comments on slashdot could become a criminal offense.

Re:More importantly, law writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359857)

Awesome! I always wanted to be a legislator. And this won't even require voting on my laws. I just have to create a website that people will use with all the laws I ever wanted passed I can put into the terms of use. I might just declare everyone tax exempt.

Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359445)

is behind this one? Big Media? BSA? What are they trying to prove now?

IANAL, but wouldn't that apply to everyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359463)

If an employer makes a person sign a TOS that bans them from reading XYZ online as a condition for employment and a person disregards it, would they be considered a criminal under this amendment?

Talk about a Sensationalist Headline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359469)

This is one of the worst headlines I've seen on Slashdot.

I say lock the fuckers up and throw away the key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359547)

America! Fuck YEA!

Re:I say lock the fuckers up and throw away the ke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360073)

Where are you gonna throw it? Outside the jail? Their friends will find it!

This reminds me... (4, Interesting)

iYk6 (1425255) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359553)

This reminds me of a female blogger several years ago after that tennager suicide case. She reported that she heard match.com didn't allow married people to use their site. She said that couldn't risk confirming this herself, since she was happily married.

The point is, how are you supposed to know if you are allowed to use a site, if you can't even read the terms of service without risking violating the terms of service?

Re:This reminds me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359757)

Seems like an opportune way to beat such companies over the head with the letter of the law:

"I've heard that the site is populated by Satanists who promote bestiality and child pornography, but I am unable to confirm or deny this due to usage restrictions in its Terms of Service."

It would be difficult, I think, to pursue a libel case against somebody who is forbidden by your own rules from relying on anything other than hearsay.

TOS: Imopssible (1)

sinuscavity (2886369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359557)

I vow to make the TOS of my site impossible for anyone to follow thereby making everyone who visits it a criminal.

Amish Clause (4, Funny)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359821)

"This website can only be used by the Amish"

Re:Amish Clause (1)

Svartalf (2997) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360215)

Excellent!

Re:Amish Clause (1)

lcam (848192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360907)

Then you need a prosecutor who is brave enough to prosecute.

WTF? (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359573)

the CFAA would be amended to treat any violation of a website's Terms of Service â" or an employer's Terms of Use policy â" as a criminal act

That's a really stupid f-ing idea.

Website change their terms of service all the time, and at their whim. They assert copyright ownership of stuff their users create. They do whatever they want basically, and to their own benefit.

So if I create a Facebook account without real information I've committed a crime now?

Anyone voting for this is too damned stupid to be passing laws about technology. We've been giving too much power in terms of EULAs and 'licenses' where companies make up their own terms which would be otherwise illegal -- applying the force of law behind this shit would be bad for all of us.

Morons.

Re:WTF? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359681)

So if I create a Facebook account without real information I've committed a crime now?

Yep.

On the other hand, this mixes in a pleasingly perverse way with that law to make it so that you have to give you rfacebook password to an employer discussed earlier, since they are comitting a federal crime if they USE that password.

Re:WTF? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359811)

since they are comitting a federal crime if they USE that password

Doubtful. Employers and people looking after copyrights will be given exemptions to use 'extra legal' methods in order to pursue their requirements.

Thee and me get screwed, but companies and other donors will be exempt. Politicians, as always, will be exempt.

Just like how Sony never got prosecuted for installing root kits or the *AAs can use shady techniques to investigate -- because they were protecting copyright, so all of those pesky laws against what they did don't apply.

Re:WTF? (1)

lcam (848192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43361017)

I doubt that. There is no clause that says only one individual can use a username/password.

But you could put up terms of service of your own for viewing your profile page.

"I agree that by viewing this profile, I have agreed that any information encountered is not to be a part of any direct or indirect employee evaluation, even if access was requested or obtained in a way that could suggest otherwise."

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359815)

The hilarity is that the "worst" (FourChan, Reddit) sites on the web are really the closest thing to a friend in these cases. They offer the agnostic approach to freedom and allow as much as they can without being physically turned off. I.e. In America; hosted CP will get the site/site owners hosed.

Sensationalism or not this is a crock of bullshit that needs to be pounded into people that we are not a herd for money and will beg from our knees for help.

Re:WTF? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360363)

That's a really stupid f-ing idea.

Website change their terms of service all the time, and at their whim. They assert copyright ownership of stuff their users create. They do whatever they want basically, and to their own benefit.

You think they don't know this? Believe it or not, politicians are not stupid. They know exactly what they are doing. They are not writing this law so it can be applied to every violation of every TOS. They are only going to prosecute violations of the TOS of powerful corporations, and only when it serves the interests of the government. The people who wrote this law want it to be applied arbitrarily and capriciously.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360715)

You think they don't know this? Believe it or not, politicians are not stupid. They know exactly what they are doing. They are not writing this law so it can be applied to every violation of every TOS. They are only going to prosecute violations of the TOS of powerful corporations, and only when it serves the interests of the government. The people who wrote this law want it to be applied arbitrarily and capriciously.

Right, politicians aren't stupid. If you'd bother to read the law, you'd see it doesn't outlaw the things claimed here.

Re:WTF? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360885)

and only when it serves the interests of the powerful corporations.

There, fixed that for you.

Genius (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359575)

Wait, you mean us web developers get to arbitrarily write laws with real consequences? "For everytime you breath after visiting our site you are legally required to send me 1 US dollar." Then I send that link to my Congressmen and watch as the money rolls in.

Re:Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359805)

Wait, you mean us web developers get to arbitrarily write laws with real consequences? "For everytime you breath after visiting our site you are legally required to send me 1 US dollar." Then I send that link to my Congressmen and watch as the money rolls in.

You might have something going there...

Maybe you should copyright that idea / payment scam.. err.. scheme.

Re:Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360005)

You might have something going there...

Maybe you should copyright that idea / payment scam.. err.. scheme.

The term you're looking for is business model.

Overly broad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359577)

I wish these politicians would drop the overly broad laws. They need to address the real problem. When "ProductCo" pays the good senator to pen such legislation it should be more direct. "Breaking of the ProductCo.com's TOS now criminal offense." That way there aren't all the side effects when the law is attempted to be applied to all websites.

the truth is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359581)

The internet is simply being reconfigured to better suit the owners of the world.

In his book "Hacking Capitalism: The Free and Open Source Software Movement," Johan SÃderberg puts it like this:

The architecture of the Internet is rebuilt with three main purposes in mind. To protect the commodity form (obstruct infinite reproducibility and identify violations), to speed up commodity circulation, and to prevent users from acquiring technical know-how.

and

The infrastructure of the Internet is currently being rebuilt to respond better to the needs of law authorities. The computer network has the same strategic importance as the central squares of the chessboard. All activities have to pass through them.

Ban Politicians (3, Interesting)

james_van (2241758) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359585)

Start updating TOS to state that anyone who is in public office is banned from visiting or viewing a site. Then start sending the bastards to jail for violating... ok well, none of them would actually go to jail, but it may cause enough stir to get this whole stupid idea tossed out.

Everything is illegal ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359617)

anyway

Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359627)

I better check out the terms and agreements here, I'll get to that eventually.

ToS *SHOULD NOT* Be Criminal Law (4, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359649)

These constant actions by Congress to make ToS Violations Criminal Offenses sheds light on the true goal of major corporations to essentially take direct control of the population and do and end run around the American Legal System.

I am a professional contractor -- when a jackass client tries to weasel out paying because they got the specs wrong (which can happen when I subcontract for a shady jackass), and want me to pay for their fuckups, can I have them thrown in Jail for Breach of Contract? HELL NO.

But it seems that if you violate a ToS - which is nothing more than an agreement of conduct vis a vis a Contract -- it seems Congress thinks Corporate America should be able to have you thrown in jail for not playing by whatever arbitrary rules they concoct. And more startling these criminal sanctions will be FEDERAL OFFENSES, trumping State Rights. Essentially making the DoJ the strong arm of the Fortune 500.

Frankly, I find this startling and to be unashamedly over-dramatic -- a testimony of the true intent of the US Congress and their Masters to enslave the unwashed masses of the US into a captive audience for the American Citizens -- the Corporations and the .5% subject to criminal persecution and Federal Mandates to buy products (insurance and whatever else they decide to create "free markets" for of US Corporate Cartels)

At this point it doesn't matter if this Bill passes or not -- a very clear message has been sent: COMMON PEOPLE ARE NOT WHO CONGRESS SERVES AND CONGRESS IS WORKING AS HARD AS IT CAN TO ELIMINATE COMMONERS RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS AND SUBJECT THEM TO THE WILL OF THEIR CORPORATE MASTERS.

that'll teach 'em - hey you! drop that website! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359675)

What are the odds of this really passing?

Re:that'll teach 'em - hey you! drop that website! (2)

vandon (233276) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359839)

What are the odds of it passing?

See ObamaCare...Pelosi said "We have to pass it to see what's in it." Passed without being read.
And then, just think about all the congressmen being told about all the children this will protect and all the terrorism it will prevent and you have your answer.

This will be passed without a single person reading the bill.

Re:that'll teach 'em - hey you! drop that website! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360417)

See ObamaCare...Pelosi said "We have to pass it to see what's in it." Passed without being read.

Yeah, you're an idiot.

Re:that'll teach 'em - hey you! drop that website! (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360635)

"We have to pass this bill so you can see what's in it." She said that the American People didn't understand the 800 page document being discussed and wouldn't get it until it was implemented and they could see it in action and understand.

In light of this, I'm changing my TOS (1)

earlzdotnet (2788729) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359713)

I'm going to be changing my TOS on my website if this passes. I think something along the lines of "if you view my website, you must give me all of the money in your bank account". I will then be forwarding it in a massive email campaign to everyone with an inkling of political influence.

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359721)

Even they would of found this draconian.

Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (4, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359729)

The article is sensationalistic click bait.

I don't see any such language in the document that was linked within the article. All I see are laws against trafficking in passwords, unauthorized access to a computer system to obtain financial information, non-public information from any government agency, or damage critical infrastructure computers.

MOD PARENT UP (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360049)

I read the document as well and find no language suggesting anything about TOS violations. In addition, even the summary article [ibtimes.com] was misquoted. It said "if you violate the terms of service on a government website." But I couldn't even find that in the actual draft [amazonaws.com] .

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (2)

admdrew (782761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360063)

I THINK they're referring to the section entitled "EXCEEDS AUTHORIZED ACCESS," but I'm too lazy to get the original document and put them together.

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (1)

admdrew (782761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360081)

Er, sorry, you basically said the same thing in your post. So I think specifically under that 'exceeds authorized access' is item iii, "information from any protected computer." But like you, I don't really understand how they make the leap to TOSes.

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360415)

A TOS governs authorized access to computers. You could argue that the TOS by itself is a form of protection. It's a weak form of protection like CSS.

If you are reading the law like a programmer, then you're reading it wrong because it will get bent out of shape by lawyers. The worst possible interpretations will be acted upon.

It's like you missed that whole Aaron Swartz case...

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (1)

admdrew (782761) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360555)

I think you and I actually agree, maybe I could've said it a little differently. I'm with you on this potentially being badly interpreted (so I also see how they could "make the leap to TOSes"), but I guess I don't fully get the willful ignorance behind those interpretations. Really no different than most politics, though.

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360459)

If you violate the TOS, any access at all exceeds your authorized access. QED

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360689)

TOS usually describes what is authorized access and what is not.

So well its kinda are there.

Re:Too bad it appears the article is wrong... (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360751)

The article is sensationalistic click bait.

On the internet? I'm shocked, SHOCKED!

What state are we in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359745)

Nanny nanny nanny.... Nanny nanny nanny!

When did parenting fail so hard that we would have to have laws that tell us how to parent instead of actually..... parenting?
Here is my please sit on it, and spin until dizzy.
I'm going to make a webpage that says "if you leave this webpage for ANY reason (including shutdown), that you are breaking the TOS and liable for reparations."

[insert random TOS clause that if you are planning to be, are, or were a politician you are breaking the TOS]

The beginning ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43359953)

This my friends is the beginning of dictatorship and the way to control what people are allowed to do. Back in the day (way back when) the church decided what was published and published what they wanted people to do and how they should behave. Control the information - Control the people.

Lets see now... Electronic listening of ALL communications -- CHECK
Control what people are allowed to do with items they rightfully purchased and own -- CHECK
Control which people are allowed to READ -- CHECK

Hmmmm.... not much left to render the American people into submission!

What is motivating congress? (1)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43359969)

I'm starting to wonder what is motivating the law makers when they repeatedly come back with a worse proposal than what was just rejected. The whole notion of 'severe penalties reduce crime.' has been shown by history to be completely untrue. Severe penalties results in full prisons and just as much crime. Better economic opportunities for the poor reduces crime. Full employment reduces crime. Providing people with the basic necessities of life when they cannot provide for themselves, reduces crime. In short, reducing need reduces crime. That is where our efforts should be made.

About damn time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360027)

Every night I lie awake in a panic - worried sick that somewhere, some teenager might be reading the news. Finally this plague of informed teenagers will come to its long awaited end!

I am so sick of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360103)

These slashdot fear monger articles of coulda shoulda woulda. This can't pass because... it can't be enforced, it's that simple. Lobbyist introduce garbage like this EVERY law cycle, it's not news worthy, it's just human stupidity making the headlines to scare more sheeple.

Well OK then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360171)

Well OK. If this passes, let's all create a small website with a TOS that states - if you are a member of the US federal House or Senate, if you do not visit this website - which happens to simply have a copy of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights - you have violated the TOS of our website.

Stop respecting the law completely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360209)

Constitution is a joke. Especially the treason parts.

Would be ashamed if vigilante justice becomes the norm... sorry grandma!

What would be funny is if someone rush a clause through some 2000 page law that states "all of congress is to be executed as soon as this law is passes"..

That would be the best loophole ever.

Maybe I should... (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360223)

Maybe I should create a website that has the following terms of service: "Any legislators who voted for this stupid law are forbidden from accessing this web site. If you voted for this law, you are now in violation of it and are now a criminal who belongs in jail", and then send them all links to the site to all of congress.

Our politicians are usually too stupid to realize the effects of their shitty decisions until they are subject to them.

Obviously no legislators will actually be going to jail for this, because we enforce laws subjectively (e.g. why minorities end up in jail for drug possession, while 1/2 the crowd at a DMB concert can smoke out with no problem). If only there was some way to get politicians to be subject to the bad end of subjectively enforced laws.

Re:Maybe I should... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360485)

Maybe I should create a website that has the following terms of service: "Any legislators who voted for this stupid law are forbidden from accessing this web site. If you voted for this law, you are now in violation of it and are now a criminal who belongs in jail", and then send them all links to the site to all of congress.

Sounds like you'd be charged with entrapment, enticement or some other such thing (law enforcement) people use to get what they want at your expense... Let me know where you're imprisoned and I'll mail you some soap-on-a-rope.

SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360357)

So how can this new law be applied to spammers?

Criminal instead of Civil - that's criminal. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360407)

The CFAA would be amended to treat any violation of a website's Terms of Service – or an employer's Terms of Use policy – as a criminal act...

... According to the DOJ, this would mean anyone under 18 found accessing these sites — even just to read or comment on a story — could face criminal charges.

IANAL, but why would violating a private - basically contract - agreement be a criminal act rather than civil? Do we really need and/or want the criminal courts enforcing things like this. Also, what damages would be incurred by the sites? Surely there must be people in Congress that understand this.

I for one (1)

instagib (879544) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360561)

would welcome complete internet prohibition for minors if it enabled an uncensored, politically incorrect, non-think-of-the-snowflakes mindset.

I'd have to quit my job (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360573)

I violate my corporate IT policy on a daily basis, just to get my job done. At the moment, I get away with this because i) the IT department aren't sharp enough to detect it and ii) the people who know I do it, know that if I didn't do it, half the stuff I get done would not get done.

If a law were passed in my jurisdiction making this a criminal act rather than a harmless yet productive eccentricity, I'd have to quit and become my own employer.

mm, what's the word I'm looking for.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360601)

STUPID. Kids can't read the news.
Moronic.
First of all why would such sites as Popular Mechanics, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle disallow kids of 18 yrs or younger.
Innapropriate Ads? Content?
Sheesh
Now, if this proposal becomes law somehow, we will have to deal with a new can of worm such as, for example;
a kid makes his school project (report, research, etc.) based on news and he used from one or more of these sites which are allegedly for 18 yrs or older, then, a possible lawsuit could come out of this.

Advancement in technology certainly does NOT reflect advancement in common sense.

what BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43360607)

YOU GODDAMNED LAWYERS

Yes (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | about a year and a half ago | (#43360969)

I know it's been brought up before, but one of the major failings of the US is that the law is written and stands until someone is harmed by it, and only THEN can the law be reviewed and MAYBE struck down.

Our forefathers were wise in very many things when it came to the creation of a new government, but really dropped the ball on this one.

What is now needed is that laws must first be reviewed by the US Supreme Court BEFORE being voted upon and then possibly passed. Once passed, the system that's already in place will STILL be in place; namely that if a person can show harm by this law, it goes back to the US Supreme Court -- automatically -- for a review.

Oh, but the Supremes are too busy to hear this new law that Senator Fuckedinthehead has proposed? No problemo. It'll be seen in order received. That may take a few years or so. But you're in a hurry? Nothing's that important that it cannot bear scrutiny for a year or so. Now, since I'm well into my wonderful dream, I'm going to add one other thing -- that each law presented to the USSC for potential passing, there also is included one older law that will be automatically struck down unless the USSC also feels that that law passes muster. These two laws will be reviewed concurrently and decided upon in a timely manner.

If a representative submits and/or signs off on too many laws that the USSC has rejected or a person has shown as being harmed, then that representative is automatically fired with no benefits and no recourse as they've now been shown to be completely incompetent at the basic fundamentals of the job. Every freaking representative should demonstrate that they know the principles established for this country and abide by them as per their sworn oath.

It must also be driven into every American's mind as they vote that every single government position is A POSITION OF SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE.

They should be grateful for the opportunity that we have given them!

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