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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/4/13

Slithery When Wet: Tales From The "Slippery Slope"

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"Expanding the ways in which you could be guilty of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act -- including making you just as guilty if you plan to 'violate' the CFAA than if you actually did so"

"Section 103 of the proposed bill makes a bunch of 'changes' to the CFAA, almost all of which expand the CFAA, rather than limit it. For example, they make a small change to subsection (b) in 18 USC 1030 (the CFAA) such that it will now read:

"Whoever conspires to commit or attempts to commit an offense under subsection (a) of this section shall be punished as provided for the completed offense in subsection (c) of this section.

"All they did was add the 'for the completed offense,' to that sentence. That may seem like a minor change at first, but it would now mean that they can claim that anyone who talked about doing something ("conspires to commit") that violates the CFAA shall now be punished the same as if they had 'completed' the offense. And, considering just how broad the CFAA is, think about how ridiculous that might become. Now if you talk with others about the possibility of violating a terms of service -- say, talking to your 12-year-old child about helping them sign up for Facebook even though the site requires you to be 13 -- you may have already committed a felony that can get you years in jail. That seems fair, right?"

"Here's an example of the extreme nature of these recommended punishments: Aaron Swartz, who illegally tapped into and downloaded millions of scholarly papers from the digital-journal archive JSTOR while visiting the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, faced four charges under section (a)(4) of the CFAA, with a maximum sentences of five years per charge, for a possible total of 20 years in prison. While many lawyers and experts have recommended reducing these penalties or removing them entirely, the new draft actually increases the maximum for each charge under (a)(4) to 20 years, which means Swartz could have gotten 80 years. NYU law professor James Grimmelman on Monday called this notion 'simply obscene.'

"But what's perhaps most troubling to Internet-freedom advocates is how the new CFAA even expands the law to include accessing information for an 'impermissible purpose,' which means even if you have the right to access the information in the first place, it's still considered a crime if someone deems you are misusing your access in some way."

Those are two "legitimate" sources.  All those folks who have called people like me "nutty 'conspiracy theorists'" need to stop hiding and scapegoating and get with the program.  This is no longer a conspiratorial situation because it's actually fact.  You can access it, read it, and digest it, rather easily in fact.  The only thing that isn't that easy to digest, or figure out, is why we are allowing this to happen.  

These politicians continue going on as though everything is okay, even as they take away privacy and rights from us all.  What they are advocating with this (updated-and-perverted) legislation is jailing those with a dissenting opinion.  This is an assault on the first amendment, pure and simple.  These cowards have been trying to do this for some time now.  These bureaucrats have been attempting to stifle dissent since dissent was first employed. 

Just after Oakland Occupy last disbanded, a local councilwoman tried just that, when she attempted making it illegal for protesters to carry signs, because the wooden stakes could be used as "weapons," she claimed.  It's ludicrous, but that's the lengths these cowards will go to protect their interests and their pathetic necks from having to answer tough questions of its citizenry.  You know, the "People" who entrusted them with our laws to do the bidding of the People who (supposedly) "elected" them, and not the corporate, special-interest groups paying them, again, to screw us all.

Taking away free speech through "'terms and conditions' 'violations,'" those violations being murky, at best, is like taking away someone's right to oxygen merely because they "violated" some city ordinance, like smoking a cigarette in public, one hundred feet away from the place they purchased the "poison."  That's like saying, "Here, join our Rotary Club.  However, if you decide to violate any of our 'terms and conditions,' at any time, like parking in a handicapped spot of our parking lot, or a parking in a fire zone, we have the right to revoke your membership and have you imprisoned up to 20 years, per offense.

That's like being in the second grade and looking up Mary Ellen Mosley's skirt, just to be expelled from the entire county school district, for life.  The punishment does not fit the supposed "crime."  And if people are committing actual crimes... "legitimate" crimes, then prosecute them!  If someone is running drug money through a "racketeering-type set-up, throw the hammer (of 'justice') down on them!  But if someone like me, and others like me, want to point out the hypocrisy and wanton criminal activity of our sitting government, THAT IS OUR RIGHT TO DO SO AS CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AS IT SAYS RIGHT HERE:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

And to make violating terms and conditions the trap to shut down your political opponents is exactly why the Framers' families fled England to begin with and fought against, I thought.  That's not "insure(ing)" the "domestic Tranquility," and they gave that word ('Tranquility') a capital "T," by the way.  That means it was important.  It also reads, "provide for the 'common' defence," not some elaborate hoax created out of the ashes of sixty years of purposefully failed foreign policy in the region, the same we pour countless American lives and cash into, all for the benefit of corporations:

(U.S. Corporate Contracts in Iraq, Partial List)

Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown and Root: $8 billion (oil, private security)

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I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).
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