The broad scope of the CFAA is continuously being challenged among the legal community for ascribing criminal liability to otherwise harmless activities with computers and on the Internet. But why isn’t anyone complaining about the even broader state level computer crime statutes?
Let’s take a moment to talk about Domanik Green. About a year ago, fourteen-year old Domanik sat down at a computer in his middle school in Florida, and with a generic administrative password that was commonly known throughout the school, he changed his teacher’s computer wallpaper to a picture of two men kissing. This childish and immature prank, which Domanik surely thought was funny at the time, resulted in a felony charge under Florida’s Computer-Related Crimes statute. The language of the statute provides felony liability for anyone who:
815.06 (2)(a) Accesses or causes to be accessed any computer, computer system, computer network, or electronic device with knowledge that such access is unauthorized.
The statute does not require the offender to actually do anything to the computer system, and mere unauthorized access is enough to be a punishable offense. Surely most people appreciate the absurdity of an eighth-grader being arrested and charged with a criminal felony for playing a stupid prank that did not result in any injury, loss, or harm. Continue reading
Seth Rosenblatt writes on PARALLA:
“In June 1983, President Ronald Reagan attended a screening at Camp David of WarGames, a movie in which a hacker inadvertently almost starts World War III. Intrigued, the movie star-turned politician asked Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if the WarGames scenario could become a reality.
A week later, Vessey returned with an answer: Yes, he said, according to new research published in Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, a book by Fred Kaplan.
Later that year, six antihacking bills began working their way through Congress, as the Reagan administration demanded legislation to address computer security risks suggested in WarGames. By 1986, the president signed into law the regulations he wanted as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, an amendment to the existing computer fraud law, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984.
The CFAA was revolutionary in that it criminalized, for the first time, most forms of computer hacking in the United States, regardless of hackers’ intentions or results. Penalties for computer hacking reached the point at which people convicted on charges of illegal hacking could be locked up with sentences far worse than those of people convicted on charges of aggravated physical assault.” Read more…
Image above © Pinguino Kolb/The Parallax 2016
Sarah Kaplan writes on the WASHINGTON POST:
Perhaps you have forgotten about “Celebgate,” when hundreds of nude photos of famous women, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, were stolen from their Apple and Gmail accounts and shared across the shadowy back corners of the Internet. We wouldn’t blame you; it was an ugly time.
But federal authorities, it seems, did not forget.
A year and a half after the images made their way online, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles announced that it has tracked down a man who stole them.” Read more…
Lisa Vaas writes on NAKEDSECURITY:
“Federal prosecutors want a 5-year jail sentence for Matthew Keys – the journalist convicted of handing over login credentials for the Los Angeles Times’s parent company and then telling Anonymous to “go f**k some s**t up.”” Read more…