The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the go-to law government prosecutors use against a range of actions, from black hat hacking to digital civil disobedience. In the case of Aaron Swartz, over 30 years of jail time was threatened under the law.
Many in the startup community were saddened by Aaron’s loss, and fixing the law he was being prosecuted under is an obvious outlet for that emotion.
Demand Progress and EFF are leading the charge to fix the CFAA, which according to EFF had its near-annual hearing calling for increased penalties and expanded reach. Luckily, proposals to expand the law have failed in the past.
Law professor Orin Kerr spoke out against the law as it currently stands, and the groups that signed onto Demand Progress and EFF’s efforts seek to reverse the trend towards stricter punishments, arguing that they stifle innovation and entrepreneurship.