Thank you, Reddit and everyone else who provided feedback to the original rough draft bill to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the wire fraud statute – the laws the government used to unfairly prosecute Aaron Swartz. With the help of Internet freedom advocates, computer and legal experts, the draft has been revised and is available here. I have been in communication with Aaron’s father who supports this draft bill and approves of the name “Aaron’s Law.”

Like the first draft, this revised draft explicitly excludes breaches of terms of service or user agreements as violations of the CFAA and wire fraud statute. This revised draft also makes clear that changing one's MAC or IP address is not in itself a violation of the CFAA or wire fraud statute. In addition, this draft limits the scope of CFAA by defining "access without authorization" as the circumvention of technological access barriers. Taken together, the changes in this draft should prevent the kind of abusive prosecution directed at Aaron Swartz and would help protect other Internet users from outsized liability for everyday activity.

As our discussions have continued, it is clear that many believe a thorough revision of the CFAA and substantial reform of copyright laws are necessary. I agree. “Aaron’s Law” is not this complete overhaul, but is a first step down the road to comprehensive reform. If we succeed in getting this draft bill enacted into law, it will be in honor of Aaron Swartz, and should be seen as a beginning of a concerted effort to bring reform to these broader issues. To be successful, that effort will likely take substantial time and require sustained and intense support from all of you in a push that will need to exceed our stoppage of SOPA.

I see “Aaron’s Law” as common sense fixes that should be enacted to stop the kinds of abuse Aaron was subjected to from affecting others. I intend to introduce a final version of "Aaron's Law" as legislation soon, and in talking with my friend Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, I understand he wants to introduce it in the Senate as well. I will be urging my colleagues in the House of Reps to become cosponsors. The chances of success – whether for "Aaron's Law" or other proposals – will depend greatly on the degree of positive public engagement and support to change the law. As SOPA showed, when the Internet speaks, lawmakers listen. I think with enough constructive support we can have an opportunity to pass "Aaron's Law."

Many thanks to all of you – Zoe

Comments: 437 • Responses: 7  • Date: 

Salacious-45 karma

Do you expect the legislation to be passed?

ZoeLofgren54 karma

I'm optimistic, but it's going to take a lot of positive public support. Getting something through Congress is a lot harder than stopping something.

BigCat90009 karma

What makes you optimistic?

ZoeLofgren46 karma

The enthusiasm and power of the Internet, the expressions of support from other lawmakers like Senator Wyden, the straightforward and commonsense reforms in the bill, and my natural optimism.

WhoeverYouWantMeToBe41 karma


ZoeLofgren80 karma

I do think our copyright laws need to be reformed, and I am working on a copyright reform bill. A great many laws need to be brought more up to date in light of new technology and for the Internet to continue to flourish, but sometimes rolling everything into one bill is not the most effective way to get something passed.

mikeyouse22 karma

As a casual observer of congress who hasn't watched Schoolhouse Rock in a long time, what is the next step? Where does the bill go from here? How can the average person help?

ZoeLofgren28 karma

The earliest the draft can be formally introduced as an actual bill would be next week, when the House is back in session. Before the bill is introduced, I will urge my colleagues in the House to become "original cosponsors" of the bill. Then after the bill is introduced, I will continue to urge my colleagues to become cosponsors. Once a bill is introduced, it usually gets referred to a Committee. Aaron's Law will almost certainly be referred to the Judiciary Committee. It is up to the Committee Chairperson whether the bill gets a hearing or a vote. There are several more steps after that, but those are the immediate ones. Sustained public support throughout that process (i.e., urging your Representatives and Senators to cosponsor or vote in favor) is important for the bill to continue advancing.

Bear_Sheba13 karma

What can we, average redditors, do to help support this bill?

ZoeLofgren18 karma

Express your support to your Representatives and Senators, and urge them to cosponsor or vote in favor. But the trick will be for a lot of people to keep that up over a long period, until the bill is enacted into law.

Chafuter5 karma

How often do you use the web?

ZoeLofgren15 karma

Every day.

karmanaut1 karma

After 2 hours, no questions have been answered by the OP. I am taking the post down, but if you start answering questions, message the moderators to have it reapproved.

Edit: OP has returned and will be answering questions; Post is reapproved.

ZoeLofgren19 karma

I was pulled into a meeting. I have also posted to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, which I understand is "proof" -