I'm Rep Zoe Lofgren, Here is a Modified Draft Version of Aaron's Law Reflecting the Internet’s Input
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