Earlier this week, I linked to an impressive op-ed by Orin Kerr on how proposed changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would have serious unintended consequences such as making violation of a web site’s Terms of Service (TOS) a felony. Congress seems to have gotten the message. Joshua Gruenspecht writes:
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an important amendment designed to ensure that civil and criminal actions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) are focused on hackers and identity thieves rather than on people who merely violate website terms of service.
The Committee adopted the amendment at a mark up of Chairman Patrick Leahy’s Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011, S. 1151, a bill that addresses both data breach notification and penalties for computer criminals. The Chairman (D-Vt.) himself introduced a number of amendments in a manager’s substitute for the original bill, but perhaps the most interesting amendment to the bill was introduced by ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), along with Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). As amended, the bill would fix a large part of the overbreadth problem in the CFAA that CDT and other groups on the left and right have recently suggested that Congress address.
Read more on CDT.