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America's Draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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After Aaron Swartz's death, EFF called for fixing draconian computer crime law. Doing so requires penalties proportionate to wrongdoing.

EFF called Aaron Swartz "a close friend and collaborator." His suspicious death was more than a personal tragedy. It was "the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach," said EFF.

He spent months battling unjust charges. His case highlights profound CFAA abuses. Hacking laws are broad, vague and unfair. They call for excessive penalties. They overstep and overreach. 

Aaron was no super-hacker. He was targeted to silence him. He may have been murdered in the process. Julian Assange thinks so. "Read his words," he said. "Decide for yourself."

"I believe Swartz was murdered by a team of copyright assassins who made it look like a simple suicide. Watch what you say or you may end up like" Aaron.

His girl friend, Taren Stinebrickner-Kaufffman , believes depression didn't drive him to suicide. She researched clinical depression symptoms. "Aaron didn't fit them," she said.

He was energetic, not inactive, withdrawn and isolated. He had every reason to live, not die. He had much more he wanted to accomplish.

He "had a profound capacity for pleasure in everyday life." His "death was not caused by depression." 

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She blames "a criminal justice system that prioritizes power over mercy, vengeance over justice, a system that punishes innocent people for trying to prove their innocence instead of accepting plea deals that mark them as criminals in perpetuity."

Others dismiss suicide entirely. Aaron's own words excluded it they say. His Open Access Manifesto called information power.

"But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves," he said. He wanted scholarly/scientific "public culture" information shared.

"When things are hard - and he said it is the important things that are hard - you have to lean into the pain." Does that sound like someone planning suicide?

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It's time to amend CFAA, says EFF. Doing so will prevent prosecutors from arbitrarily throwing the book at people "they don't like."

Aaron's "memory should challenge us to make the Internet, the law, and the world better. One place to start is CFAA."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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