Lawmaker Pushes 'Aaron's Law' After Suicide
Seeks to limit scope of computer fraud act
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2013 6:35 PM CST
This Dec. 8, 2012, photo provided by ThoughtWorks shows Aaron Swartz in New York.   (AP Photo/ThoughtWorks, Pernille Ironside)

(Newser) – A Silicon Valley congresswoman wants to tone down the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to prevent what she sees as overzealous prosecution, reports the Guardian. Democrat Zoe Lofgren says "Aaron's Law" is in tribute to Aaron Swartz, the free-information Internet activist who killed himself last week. Swartz faced 35 years in prison and millions in fines on charges that he illegally accessed online academic documents at MIT.

"His family's statement about this speaks volumes about the inappropriate efforts undertaken by the US government," Lofgren wrote on Reddit, a site that Swartz helped build. The way prosecutors interpreted the law "could criminalize many everyday activities and allow for outlandishly severe penalties," she wrote, reports the Los Angeles Times. Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, a friend of Swartz's, praised the legislation as "critically important." Read Lofgren's post, and Lessig's take on it, here.

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
Blueonblue
Jan 19, 2013 3:57 AM CST
I wonder if Ms. Zoe Lofgren would be pushing this law if Aaron Swartz had been a (gasp!) republican? It is very sad that Swartz chose to kill himself, but he should have known or at least been advised that what he was doing was a crime and when you commit a crime there are consequences.
odowd80
Jan 17, 2013 1:27 PM CST
If he was facing 35 years, Countrywide executives should be facing the death penalty.
G44
Jan 17, 2013 12:52 PM CST
So, let me get this straight, he's a hacker, (illegal I think), got caught (felt he did nothing wrong), didn't feel there should be any punishment for his actions and didn't want to face the consequences of his actions, sounds like every person in prison to me?