Congress Will Battle Over Internet Privacy in 2013

03/02/2013 07:54
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Mark M. Jaycox

Last year, we saw more battles in Congress over Internet freedom than we have in many years as user protests stopped two dangerous bills, the censorship-oriented SOPA, and the privacy-invasive Cybersecurity Act of 2012. But Congress ended the year by ramming through a domestic spying bill and weakening the Video Privacy Protection Act.

In 2013, Congress will tackle several bills—both good and bad—that could shape Internet privacy for the next decade. Some were introduced last year, and some will be completely new. For now, here's what's ahead in the upcoming Congress:

Reforming Draconian Computer Crime Law

The Computer Fraud and Abust Act (CFAA), was one of the key laws the government used in its relentless and unjust
prosecution of Aaron Swartz. Zoe Lofgren has proposed "Aaron's Law," which ensures that breaking a terms of service or other contractual obligation does not amount to a CFAA violation. Lofgren's reforms are a terrific start and will be introduced in Congress over the coming weeks. EFF has also proposed revisions to Lofgren's language and overall reform to the CFAA that reduces the draconian penalties and clarifies key definitions in the statute. The proposed reforms will go a long way in preventing a similar situation from happening to a freedom fighter like Aaron again. It's unclear where the language stands in the Senate, but Senators like Ron Wyden have voiced support for Lofgren's bill and should take up CFAA reform. You can take action and email your members of Congress to tell them to support reform of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act here.

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