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Aaron's Law Would Revamp Computer Fraud Penalties

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the malice-would-be-a-good-place-to-start dept.

United States 163

An anonymous reader writes "Two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting people for violating terms of service for Web-based products, website notices or employment agreements under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). On Thursday, Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, and Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, introduced Aaron's Law, a bill aimed at removing some types of prosecutions under the CFAA." The bill is of course named for Aaron Swartz.

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163 comments

Not good enough. (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 9 months ago | (#44065507)

A better reform to honor Aaron Swartz would be the abolition of plea bargaining. Nobody should be coereced out of their right to a trial by an overzealous prosecutor with trumped up charges. Every prisoner, every single one, deserves a trial.

Or repeal CFAA altoghther (5, Interesting)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 9 months ago | (#44065527)

You have DMCA, mail fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud etc. that covers almost all sorts of illegal activities regarding computers. And of course, prosecutors always have the ultimate ace in the hole called "criminal conspiracy" if all other charge fails.

No need for the redundancy of the CFAA.

Re:Or repeal CFAA altoghther (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 10 months ago | (#44066713)

It's the seriousness of the charge, not the nature of evidence that matters. Justice? WTF is that?!!

Re:Not good enough. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065533)

Plea bargaining was created as i understand it so that it could alleviate some pressure from the court system by allowing people that are most definitely guilty of a crime to opt into a lesser punishment instead of rolling the dice, and so that it could be used as a bargaining chip to get them to comply with providing information about associates.

Yes, it is being used to coerce non-guilty parties, and there is no stopping that. But abuse of the system does not mean it should be thrown out entirely.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065599)

95% of all cases are plead

Re:Not good enough. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065637)

But abuse of the system does not mean it should be thrown out entirely.

Of course it should; it's disgusting.

Maybe if we didn't go after so many people for petty nonsense (drugs, copyright infringement, etc.), the court system wouldn't be overburdened to such a ridiculous extent. Besides, I'd rather have the courts be overburdened than allow plea bargaining to take place.

Re:Not good enough. (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 9 months ago | (#44065647)

Plea bargaining was created as i understand it so that it could alleviate some pressure from the court system

If you want to reduce pressure on the court system, reduce the number of offences, or reduce the incentives people have to commit offences. Both solutions will lead to a healthier society than allowing the powerful to bully common people into prison sentences they don't deserve. Punishing people for exercising their right to a trial is off the table for any society that wants their justice system to actually deliver justice.

If enforcing a law isn't important enough to justify paying for the trials, then the law isn't important enough to be on the books.

so that it could be used as a bargaining chip to get them to comply with providing information about associates.

By giving people an incentive to lie about their fellow citizens. How is that supposed to be a good thing?

But abuse of the system does not mean it should be thrown out entirely.

Every use of plea bargaining is an abuse. Everyone has a right to a trial, even those who are most definitely guilty of a crime.

There are indeed too much offences (4, Insightful)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 9 months ago | (#44065665)

"If you want to reduce pressure on the court system, reduce the number of offences"

http://threefelonies.com/Youtoo/tabid/86/Default.aspx [threefelonies.com]

Re:Not good enough. (0, Troll)

lgarner (694957) | about 9 months ago | (#44065749)

Every use of plea bargaining is an abuse. Everyone has a right to a trial, even those who are most definitely guilty of a crime.

Everyone already has the right to a trial; plea bargains do not take that right away. Accepting the plea bargain is optional for the defendant and can be particularly appealing for those who are "most definitely guilty."

so that it could be used as a bargaining chip to get them to comply with providing information about associates.

By giving people an incentive to lie about their fellow citizens. How is that supposed to be a good thing?

You're confusing "fellow citizens" with "accomplices" here.

The overall problem isn't plea bargains, or attempts by law enforcement to get suspects to turn on each other. There's nothing wrong with getting a robbery suspect to turn on his accomplices. The real problem is the silly little offenses that are prosecuted far beyond any semblance of reasonableness. Violating a website's TOS is obviously not the same as a real crime.

Re:Not good enough. (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 9 months ago | (#44065835)

Everyone already has the right to a trial; plea bargains do not take that right away.

Punishing someone for exercising a right IS taking that right away. The government here is deliberately increasing the cost of exercising your right to a trial in order to discourage you from doing so. I don't know how that could be more clear.

You might as well say "everyone has the right to free speech if he purchases a $100,000 free speech license for 24 hours". Yes, in some sense it's true that everyone still has that right. But what good is a right you cannot exercise?

You're confusing "fellow citizens" with "accomplices" here.

Until they are proven guilty, they are merely "fellow citizens". If you were a criminal scumbag and you thought you could get off easy by incriminating your upstanding neighbor, why wouldn't you?

There's nothing wrong with getting a robbery suspect to turn on his accomplices

There is something wrong with encouraging neighbors to spy on neighbors.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065905)

If you were a criminal scumbag and you thought you could get off easy by incriminating your upstanding neighbor, why wouldn't you?

Is my neighbor cool about me playing music at a sane volume at 6PM, or his he the sort that's going to pound on his ceiling/my floor because I walked to the bathroom at 2AM?

Re:Not good enough. (5, Insightful)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 9 months ago | (#44065869)

When the option is to accept a plea bargain with a minor sentence and a lesser criminal record versus going to trial for everything the prosecutor can throw at you while you're bleeding to death paying a lawyer or have an overworked public defender, it seems like trials become more of a right that exists exclusively for the wealthy.

Not only that (1)

Zynder (2773551) | about 10 months ago | (#44066405)

Not only what you said but it also takes the teeth out of the system as a whole and shows it to be farcical. For instance, you get busted for something illegal like selling meth, and the penalty for that is say 5 years. Why would the DA offer you a reduced sentence to 2 years if you rat out your dealer? Sure the dealer might be the bigger fish you wanna fry but by ratting him out, that somehow makes your offense not as bad? Where is the logic there? It makes the system look like some kind of theater instead of a necessary process. I hate theaters!

Violating a website's TOS is more of a traffic ti (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#44066251)

Violating a website's TOS is more of a traffic / packing ticket thing if you look at on a sidling scale as some things that can be classed from BS stuff / revenue tickets to big stuff that may need a fine / is a big issue like say cheating a web site to get a longer free trail / lieing to get a student discount vs say some like useing a sheared long in to by pass being forced to give up your name / other info.

Re: Violating a website's TOS is more of a traffic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066385)

English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?

Re: Violating a website's TOS is more of a traffic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066669)

English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?

I figured he was using some fucked up text-to-speech system while he has a stuffy nose.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44066045)

But... how can the private prisons make their cash? 48/50 states were about to sign an agreement to let the private companies have their way... but the states have to keep said prisons at 90% full, or else face penalties by the hour?

Don't forget, as a judge, if you find too many people innocent, next election, there will be a candidate, well funded, who will be running against you... and who will hand out the guilty verdicts and max sentences. Same if a DA. If you don't pile on the charges, you get replaced by one who will.

Take the private corporations out of the prisons, and maybe we will see some sanity return. Otherwise, we will keep seeing 16 year old kids tried as adults and given 10-20 just for possession of a joint.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066139)

Punishing people for exercising their right to a trial is off the table for any society that wants their justice system to actually deliver justice.

Welcome to America. I see you're new here. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of how we do thangs round these here parts, soon enough.

Or not. Don't hardly matter 'tall.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44066577)

Scenario: Two guys are drinking in a bar. The get in an argument over something really stupid. Later, when leaving the bar, one of them yells an insult at the other. A fight ensues. The police show up and make some arrests. They have the second guy dead to rights on assault, because he was angry and threw the first punch, and the other guy has a black eye. What would you have the prosecutor do?

In most cases, the prosecutor charges him with simple assault and offers that if he pleads to disorderly conduct. The prosecutor can prove either charge, as there are multiple witnesses.

Like most extreme positions, yours is foolish.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066749)

So take away the plea bargain and how does that situation change? The prosecutor can still charge him with either crime, and the jury can decide his guilt and punishment. But if it is such a minor crime, it probably won't be prosecuted because there will be too many actually serious crimes to deal with, so it will be dropped.

I'm not certain I agree with the idea of dropping plea bargaining, but I do see problems with the concept, especially with people that have been in situations where they don't know the legal system and what the rules of evidence actually mean. If all you can get is a public defender you won't be getting very good council. I don't say that because they aren't any good at their jobs, but because the ones I've dealt with (I've never been charged with a crime nor am I a lawyer of any kind, but I've worked in a few different job fields with some previously) but because even if they are good at their jobs they will be overwhelmed with work and not be able to spend the time nor resources on most of their cases that they need. They sometimes tell clients to accept a plea bargin because it is quicker and easier than doing their job, and since most people are guilty (like it or not, more than 50% of the time they are guilt of a crime, and that's all I mean by that statement) it isn't hard for them to justify they are doing the right thing.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

fafalone (633739) | about 10 months ago | (#44066911)

While a significant portion of plea bargaining is an abusive deprivation of rights, in certain circumstances it's actually useful. For like, when you know there's absolutely no way you'd be found innocent. And there's other issues around this, but speed matters too. Say you can't make bail or were denied bail on a charge you're clearly guilty of. You can either plea out to probation and community service and be out of jail in a few weeks, or take it to trial and stay in jail for 6-12 months and be highly unlikely to get a lesser sentence anyway.

Take vice crimes off the books and we could improve a lot of this.

Re:Not good enough. (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44065707)

Plea bargaining was created as i understand it so that it could alleviate some pressure from the court system by allowing people that are most definitely guilty of a crime to opt into a lesser punishment instead of rolling the dice, and so that it could be used as a bargaining chip to get them to comply with providing information about associates.

Yes, it is being used to coerce non-guilty parties, and there is no stopping that. But abuse of the system does not mean it should be thrown out entirely.

it should be thrown out entirely since the abuse is so rife that it is standard order of practice. it's misleading, leads to false stats and a whole lot of other shit. whoever comes up with the sentence should decide if he helped the investigations enough to drop the possible sentence to lower level.

what it is actually now is a money saving mechanism, saving money is what it is used for in 99% of cases, maybe in 1% the plea actually involves divulging information about associates. since the plea bargain system changes actual crimes being prosecuted to other crimes(like altering history was that easy) you should see that it's pretty badly implemented - most ridiculous are the pleas where a company(or a person) admits to some punishment without admitting to the crime - that's just coercion or bribery depending on how you look at it.

the plea system just has moved the trial out from the court to the prosecutors desk. that's ridiculous.

Re:Not good enough. (2)

cavreader (1903280) | about 9 months ago | (#44066035)

It's already been mentioned several times but once again plea bargains do not take away your right to a trial by jury. Plea bargains can help those who are 100% guilty of the offense but are being given a chance for a lighter sentence. This can lighten the caseload of the prosecutors office which in turn also saves the court money. If the person is innocent then by all means plead your case in front of a jury. The bulk of the current laws and the precedents supporting them were created in another era. They were written when their was no such thing as a computer or an internet. If I bust in the front window of a business with a baseball bat there are laws to handle the situation. If I deface the website of a business is it the same thing? If I walk into a store and physically steal a DVD there are laws to handle that situation. If I download the contents of a DVD without paying for it is it the same thing? If I break into a company and start searching the contents of their file cabinets there is a law to handle the situation. If I break into a companies network and start downloading or damaging files stored electronicaly is it the same thing? If I surround an office building and stop people from entering the building using force when necessary there are laws to handle the situation. If I launch a DDOS attack on a ecommerce site is it the same thing? The question becomes should the penalties for a crime committed in the physical world also be applied to similiar crimes committed in the virtual world? I really don't know how to solve these problems but I do know you can't just conclude that a crime comitted in the virtual world does not warrant any punishment. When companies get hacked there is always a group of people claiming it is the victims who are responsible for the hacks because they did not properly secure their systems.

Re:Not good enough. (2)

Smauler (915644) | about 10 months ago | (#44066895)

Plea bargains can help those who are 100% guilty of the offense but are being given a chance for a lighter sentence. This can lighten the caseload of the prosecutors office which in turn also saves the court money. If the person is innocent then by all means plead your case in front of a jury.

So... plea bargains only help the guilty, and those who are convicted in a court deserve more jail time than those who accept plea bargains?

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 9 months ago | (#44065579)

I think people have already suggested this and everyone agrees that the US Justice system would explode.

Re:Not good enough. (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#44065621)

Maybe it should. After all, the broken justice system is the reason that we have more people in prison per capita than any other civilized nation on Earth. A complete collapse might just force some much-needed reform in a lot of areas.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 9 months ago | (#44065667)

If "explode" means that they'd have to prioritize cases and just dismiss the rest, then, yes I agree. A lot of that would probably no longer prosecuting minor drug offenders. Hopefully, within the next 50 years (or less) we'll go the way of Portugal and decriminalize all of it and opt to treat addicts instead. Which might make having full trials for all cases plausible.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 9 months ago | (#44065967)

If "explode" means that they'd have to prioritize cases and just dismiss the rest, then, yes I agree. A lot of that would probably no longer prosecuting major bank and stock fraud.

FTFY. After all, who better to benefit from a little slack than the 1%. They have everything else; it's only fair they get what they've been denied.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066827)

That would be terrible. Think of all those bank and stock cases they've been prosecuting that the perpetrators would have just gotten away with. Oh wait, there aren't any. They only get taken to court to appease the masses and only if they're so egregious that they wouldn't be able to dismiss them anyway. Clearly, you're not from this reality. Please post only on the slashdot site for your dimension.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065691)

You're looking too shallow into the problem. The "broken justice system" that allows for such high incarceration rates is a symptom of a much bigger problem.
 
This is one you need to get to the root of... the eternal government power grab.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#44065711)

Ah, but tackling that problem from the top down is infeasible because the people in power won't voluntarily give it up. Tackling it from the bottom up—making it so that some aspects of the power grab become infeasible—might actually have more success.

Re:Not good enough. (2)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 9 months ago | (#44065763)

Jury Nullification? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification [wikipedia.org]. I wonder if the ACLU would do a widespread public education campaign on this or if it's too far outside of our current legal system. I can see the crooked cops and prosecutors wetting their pants if they did.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065961)

The ACLU would have its charter revoked and its lawyers disbarred...for it would be doing the RIGHT thing.

--
Another fine opinion from The Fucking Psychopath®.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 9 months ago | (#44066021)

Probably. My only other thought is crowdfunding. I can dream, can't I?

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066333)

Dream? Crimethink!
--
Another fine opinion from The Fucking Psychopath®.

Re:Not good enough. (1, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 9 months ago | (#44066053)

Jury nullification is not the right thing. It breaks the rules that the prosecution and defense agree to when they go to court. Opening things up to jury nullification means that the defense just shifts its strategy to convincing the jury that the charges shouldn't exist, and to let the defendant off because he or she is a good person. Rather than because there's insufficient evidence to convict.

The court system is problematic enough as it is, adding that unpredictability to what is already deeply problematic isn't going to help things. It's just going to make it easier for rich people to get off completely.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066273)

IANAL, but from what I understand, jury nullification is not a valid legal tactic and someone openly doing it may even be considered in contempt of court. However, a juror can take the position that the defendant is innocent due to the fact that they don't believe any criminal action has been taken, e.g. a drug offender who did nothing but use a drug. They can't say this, but they can refuse to find the defendant guilty. Again, IANAL.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 10 months ago | (#44066365)

Or a jury can find OJ Simpson innocent of murder because they don't like a white female prosecutor. It's a double-edged sword.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#44066427)

Bad example. Some of the evidence in the OJ Simpson case had been tampered with, such as the bloody socks. I have no doubt that they reached the right verdict, even though I believe that OJ had something to do with it.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066659)

That's what appeals are for, if they can prove that that was the basis of the verdict. Though that's a pretty terrible claim to make about the jury, that they consciously let a murderer go free because they don't like a white female prosecutor. If it wasn't conscious and only due to bias you can argue that they didn't make their case well enough to overcome that bias and so he probably shouldn't have been convicted.

Also, I don't know about this, it may not be possible, but if that was an issue and they can change prosecutors, that would be, once again, the prosecution's failure for not changing the prosecutor.

Lastly, I agree with the other poster. I think the poor work on the part of the police was the biggest problem.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#44066417)

No, they can't. The problem is that it's difficult to establish the difference between not believing the burden of proof was met, and not believing that the crime exists.

When I was on jury duty a few years back, we had to explicitly promise not to do it, because it violated the rights of the participants.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066535)

Some people might consider it a moral obligation to prevent the persecution of someone innocent of wrongdoing. Breaking a promise you should never have been asked to make is better than being personally responsible for injustice, at least in my opinion.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

russotto (537200) | about 10 months ago | (#44066725)

Yes. It might not be my moral obligation to prevent the persecution of someone innocent of wrongdoing, but I certainly have a duty not to voluntarily participate in said persecution. If I'm faced with the choice of voting one way and participating in injustice, and voting the other way and violating the judge's instructions, I'm going to vote against injustice every time.

If the judge attempts to get me, beforehand, to promise to decide the case according to his instructions, I will refuse. If I am required by law or under threat of contempt to make said promise, I will make it, then do whatever I would have done anyway.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066861)

I think I would make the promise even if not required by law or threat of contempt but set it aside if it's the right thing to do. No promise is sufficient for me to figuratively shoot someone in the face without cause.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 10 months ago | (#44066979)

The term for that is sociopath.

The solution to this is in the legislature, not in the court room. One of the worst outcomes is for people to get off the hook because they're cute, personable or have a lawyer that's good at convincing the jury that breaking the law isn't such a big deal.

This is what second amendment rights for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065773)

The founding fathers foresee this some two hundred years ago, and decided that private citizens should have rightfully own weapons including ICBM, biological, chemical and nuclear, to defend their own freedom.

Re:This is what second amendment rights for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065937)

The founding fathers foresee this some two hundred years ago, and decided that private citizens should have rightfully own weapons including ICBM, biological, chemical and nuclear, to defend their own freedom.

If this is supposed to be a sarcastic pre-emption of any Second Amendment talk, you need to be hauled like a side of beef in a slaughterhouse to the nearest Holocaust Museum. mv Godwin /dev/null, this is HUMAN NATURE about which we are talking.

Re:Not good enough. (3, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | about 9 months ago | (#44065771)

the broken justice system is the reason that we have more people in prison per capita than any other civilized nation on Earth

More than any [slashdot.org] other nation on Earth. Civilized or not. We have our own color on the map.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#44066663)

"Maybe it should. After all, the broken justice system is the reason that we have more people in prison per capita than any other civilized nation on Earth. A complete collapse might just force some much-needed reform in a lot of areas."

I'm not so sure it's "the justice system" that is broken. More like Congress, on both State and Federal levels. After all, they're the ones who pass the laws.

Having said that: I do agree that the Supreme Court lately has seemed... well... if not broken, it sure is bent.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

SJHiIlman (2957043) | about 9 months ago | (#44065643)

Let it explode; it's not much of a "justice" system anyway.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066515)

My god, man! Think for a moment about what you're suggesting! Without the "just us system" how will the wealthy protect their assets from the rabble?!

Re:Not good enough. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 9 months ago | (#44065671)

And why would that be a bad thing? We already have the biggest prison population in the world. Perhaps our injustice system needs to work a little less efficiently?

Hell, with all the money it takes to keep people incarcerated, we would probably save money by giving everyone a trial and incarcerating fewer people. There's a big "peace dividend" in it for all of us when we stop waging war on our own citizens.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 9 months ago | (#44065729)

Note that, in my post, when I said the justice system would explode, I didn't say if that was a good or bad thing. I think I'd almost prefer no police/legal system and just vigilanteism to what we have now. Though, to our justice system's credit, I do enjoy having fewer serial killers and rapists roaming around.

Obama is learning from China (-1, Troll)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 9 months ago | (#44065805)

and he was able to copy their form of government quite nicely too, in terms of suppressing political oppositions.

The U.S. still needs to catch up on the number of death penalties however.

Re:Obama is learning from China (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 9 months ago | (#44066073)

I've been to China and you're completely full of shit. They have no opposition party. The last time somebody tried to start one, it lasted about a day, before the individual was thrown in prison. The only question about whom they allow to be the Premier is who can earn the votes between the right and left wings of the party.

If Obama is a dictator and suppressing political opposition, then he's the one of the worst ever. I mean, for God sake, he can rarely get anything onto his desk to sign, because the opposition is so oppressed, that they block legislative action on pretty much everything.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

murdocj (543661) | about 10 months ago | (#44066375)

right... because we'd be way better off living like Somalia or Afghanistan and paying tribute to the local gangs and warlords than plea bargaining marijuana cases.

What planet do you live on, anyway?

Re:Not good enough. (2)

Zynder (2773551) | about 10 months ago | (#44066479)

While I share your sentiment, vigilantism is more assuredly worse. That becomes mob rule and it sucks. I also can't neccessarily agree that big punishments stop serial killers and rapists. Those acts are almost always done by mentally broken people who have no idea what is acceptable in society or don't care. Your solution of rehabilitation (mentioned in a diff post) would be more effective in that regard. I would agree that the big punishments though probably do deter "regular" murders. What are those? Back in the day in the wild west, history has portrayed the world as a bunch of gun toting cowboys who would shoot you over a poker game- and get away with it! Whether this is actually true or just a figment of Hollywood I am unsure. But I would posit that events like getting pissed off over a basketball game and running to your car for your gun to shoot the person who "wronged" you could certainly be lower because of that. Things like finding your wife out with another dude at the club and murdering his ass. Many with low testicular fortitude, in this day and age, would just have to skulk away all pissed and deal with it later. But in 1872? I think you could shoot the bastard for it and be vindicated. I do not want to go back to that kind of "justice."

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066739)

I think it it would be an interesting case to see how vigilantism would work. I think there would be pockets of chaos and pockets of civilized areas. The chaotic ones may wipe themselves out. Our crimes of passion might kill us all or everyone might learn self-control with the knowledge that losing it at any time could kill you. This is all theoretical and in the real world would necessarily start with a gradual repeal of laws, which we could certainly use. In the end, every society is always sliding around on the scale of anarchy and tyranny. Seeing as how we're trending towards tyranny at the moment, a few daydreams of anarchy can hopefully be forgiven.

As far as the "big punishments" go, I was simply referring to the fact that we're better off with serial killers, serial rapists, serial arsonists, ... not killing, raping and burning things. I meant nothing in terms of punishments other than to keep them from repeating their offenses.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 10 months ago | (#44066205)

Even that doesn't go far enough. Abolish plea bargaining, grand juries, and elected prosecutors.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

ThisIsNotAName (2880693) | about 10 months ago | (#44066789)

I'd like to see judges and juries able to suspend prosecutorial immunity for the cases they're on. If they determine the prosecution was unwarranted to the point of being criminal or that they performed criminal acts (withholding evidence, for example), then the prosecutor is automatically charged for those acts.

the spoiled rich kid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065529)

who, not realizing that many poor people, writers, poets, retired teachers, who depend on royalty checks from JSTOR, might be impoverished so some spoiled dot com millionaire can exercise some fantasy about "information wants to be free " ( a candidate for stupidest slogan of the computer era , information doesn't want anything, it is inanimate; when you say "IFTBF" you are saying "I (the unamed speaker) want for free stuff that other people paid money, and worked hard, to collect and make available"

give me a break

Not to mention, did AS evenknow that JSTOR spends, or did in its last tax filing, several million dollars a year to digitize stuff ?
AS gonna step up and supply that money ?
oh, some mythical fairy is gonna pay for digitization ?

look, it is a tragedy what happened, but AS was not the good guy here

Here comes the anti-semites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065575)

Aaron Swartz were politically persecuted by the muslim anti-semite anti-Israel Obama administration. End of story.

IRS targets and harass pro-Israel groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065753)

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/irs-punished-conservative-non-profits-perhaps-also-pro-israel-groups/2013/05/11/0/

Aaron Swartz should have defected to China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065539)

or something similar.

The #1 rule of politics: The enemy of your enemy is always your friend.

Re:Aaron Swartz should have defected to China (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 9 months ago | (#44065605)

Or moved into an Ecuadorian embassy on a temporary (permanent) basis.

Speaking of Politics (-1, Troll)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 9 months ago | (#44065631)

Some schmuck here /. a while ago suggest that Aaron Swartz does not fit to be running for public office. In other words, he/she is endorsing the current batch of mofos that are occupying the capitol hill and the white house.

No wonder why America is failing when the leftist has hijacked the government.

Re:Speaking of Politics (0)

bmo (77928) | about 9 months ago | (#44065839)

I foed you because you're a moron.

Holy crap, what you wrote doesn't even parse.

--
BMO

Thanks for the clarification. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065547)

I thought it was named after Aaron's Lease to Own Furniture, Computers, Electronics, Appliances.

Politicans. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#44065595)

Aaaaannnnd the ball rolls way too far the other way. How about just a little penalty, max, for someone who rips off a whole copyrighted web site and data? And don't make the penalties cumulative or sequential.

Re:Politicans. (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#44065673)

How is this rolling the ball too far the other way? All this bill does is prevent criminal prosecution for violation of any terms of use that are unsupported by technical barriers. A civil suit might be appropriate in those cases, but downloading a bunch of files from a web server, regardless of what the terms of use say, is not a criminal act; it is the use of a server to do precisely what it was designed to do, in precisely the way that it was intended to be used. Only the quantity of said downloads were unintended.

No, this is precisely the right balance. Copyright violations (redistributing) are an entirely unrelated issue and are not affected by the proposed legislation.

Re:Politicans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065695)

That already exists. It is called copyright, but the infringement penalties there are also huge.

Re:Politicans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065713)

Why does there need to be a federal criminal penalty for such a thing at all? That's what civil suits are for.

Re:Politicans. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44065717)

Aaaaannnnd the ball rolls way too far the other way. How about just a little penalty, max, for someone who rips off a whole copyrighted web site and data? And don't make the penalties cumulative or sequential.

but every byte is a different crime!

Fuck Aaron Swartz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065633)

Punk ass bitch killed himself. He wasn't a martyr. No one else is to blame. Anyone who honors him is a cunt too. End of story.

Re:Fuck Aaron Swartz (2)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about 9 months ago | (#44065733)

Are you trolling or serious? If you are serious, I would like to know how old you are. From my experience, your kind of views and language usually come from young males around 12-16. If you have ever experienced or known somebody who has suffered from a mental illness, I doubt you would be saying this. Psychological pain can be worse than physical pain. If I had to choose from an experienced I had being rushed to an ER, or the most painful emotional pain I have experienced and worked through, I wouldn't think twice about the physical pain.

Re:Fuck Aaron Swartz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065803)

No one gives a fuck. Seriously. So the boy was a loon who fragged himself. Is that any reason to rewrite laws and honor the bitch? I don't think so. Give me one good reason to honor this lump of shit besides the fact that your wittle head hurts from all the emotional pain.
 
Go fuck yourself.

Re:Fuck Aaron Swartz (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 months ago | (#44066075)

No one gives a fuck. Seriously. So the boy was a loon who fragged himself. Is that any reason to rewrite laws and honor the bitch? I don't think so. Give me one good reason to honor this lump of shit besides the fact that your wittle head hurts from all the emotional pain.

Go fuck yourself.

I see our Anonymous Coward has some emotional (and grammatical) issues to work through. Believe it or not, most adults actually care about other people. Those who don't tend to end up with deep-rooted emotional issues that dog (not bitch) them for the rest of their lives.

Re:Fuck Aaron Swartz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066121)

No issues. Just sick of the coddling of fucktards who deserve to get shit on in a big way. But keep trying your bullshit tactics on ACs. We appreciate your concern, dick licker.

Re:Fuck Aaron Swartz (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about 10 months ago | (#44066359)

Why is Aaron Swartz a fucktard and Em Adespoton a dick licker? Why does anyone deserve to be shit on? Does anyone choose their genes and environment they grew up in that would result in them being a fucktard that deserves to be shit on as you put it?

Re:Fuck Aaron Swartz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066353)

You speak as if you are in your mid twenties and your life has been paid for.

What about the Sarah Palin email hacker? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065685)

He was sentenced to one year in prison, and I don't remember a big outcry here on Slashdot, even though the story was covered here a couple times.

Would he have gotten off as well, had this proposed bill been law?

Thank you Ron. (5, Interesting)

conspirator23 (207097) | about 9 months ago | (#44065723)

I don't have the privilege of living in Sen. Wyden's district any longer, but I always voted for him when I did, and that was well before his name became associated with civil liberties in the digital age. He played a critical role in getting the NTSB to conduct a much-needed-and-unheard-of civilian investigation of a C-130 crash that killed 10 Oregon National Guardsmen. From then until now he has repeatedly demonstrated tenacity, intellectual curiosity, and a willingness to say unpopular things for as long as I've cared to watch his performance as a Senator.

Yes, I realize Slashdot is probably the absolute last place on earth to say anything positive about an elected official. I should be trying to hype some unelectable wacko instead. Sorry to dissappoint.

Re:Thank you Ron. (1)

keytoe (91531) | about 10 months ago | (#44066339)

I'll second this. Ron is a shining example of integrity and compassion in our rotten political environment. I am honored that I still get to vote for him.

Re:Thank you Ron. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066461)

So if you're an IT contractor and you set up a web site, under this proposed law anybody should be able to hack into your web site and do what they please with customer records, invoices, email, private documents, source code, configuration files and scripts, and not risk prosecution.

Thank you Aaron Swartz for your 'Law'!

Re:Thank you Ron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066945)

So if you're an IT contractor and you set up a web site, under this proposed law anybody should be able to hack into your web site and do what they please with customer records, invoices, email, private documents, source code, configuration files and scripts, and not risk prosecution.

This is a lie. You are a liar.

Not good enough. (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about 9 months ago | (#44065801)

While this is a step in the right direction, it doesn't address the problem that plea bargaining is being used as a form of psychological torture and extortion. It also doesn't fix the 6th and 8th amendment issues with these cases. Another problem it doesn't address is cases where the victim doesn't feel like a victim. IIRC, neither JSTOR or MIT wanted to press charges (one of them did at first and changed their mind, I cant remember which). In this case its not like the "victims" were weak and afraid like a regular Joe considering pressing charges on a gang/mob member.

I haven't read the legislation, but considering the (seemingly) highly adversarial relationship between the two parties, maybe a small bill that does one thing like the summary suggests might actually be something enough congressman can agree on and be difficult to block.

all for it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065811)

I support this. The laws regarding "hacking" have gotten out of hand. They ruined that kid's life. Even hardened criminals who commit atrocious crimes get treated better. And, get lighter sentences.

Does it legalize trespass and breaking & enter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44065877)

Just curious...

Well I think it's great (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 10 months ago | (#44066169)

OK so it's not everything we want or a solution for all abuses but if your elected representatives are going to do something this constructive and which directly addresses a specific outrageous abuse , then it's incumbent upon us to say *thanks for listening* and show some love, however uncool or simple that may strike some people.

So, thanks for listening and taking action Representative Lofgren, and Senator Wyden.

Some web site TOS or EULA have non legal stuff in (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 10 months ago | (#44066305)

Some web site TOS or EULA have non legal stuff in them.

So if you are facing time for something like that Have them read out the full TOS in court and then have an objection to all of the non legal stuff in them to have the full TOS tossed out.

Fuck that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066495)

Well ok that sounds like a good idea... BUT...

The real problem is the justice guys can choose to make an example of someone and go WAY overboard.

thats what needs to stop.

thats what killed this kid.

That stupid bitch carmen ortiz wanted to make an example out of him to score some brownie points. And murdered a kid. Just as surely as if she had shot him.

Her action directly caused the death. and she'll never pay for it. that's the sad part.

Glad he's dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066541)

Aaron Swartz was a spoiled hypocrite. He went to a fancy private school, paid for his father's software development earnings. Apparently, receiving money earned from intellectual property for doing nothing because you're born into a wealthy family is OK. He never had any problem with the fact that his education was exclusionary in nature. I guess information only "wants to be free" when it doesn't benefit Swartz.

For all this talk about honoring Aaron Schwartz... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 10 months ago | (#44066683)

...what he did will still be a crime.

Re:For all this talk about honoring Aaron Schwartz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44066943)

Crime is in the eye of the beholder. Copyright is evil. You have 100% monopoly over your work before you create it, not afterwards, otherwise mechanics could charge you each time you start the car.

Not Rand Paul? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44067043)

When I first heard about a bill limiting the powers of the government I immediately thought had to be two of the Libertarian/Tea Party Republicans protecting our freedoms from the NWO Democrats.

So much for that idea.

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