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 Use A Computer Regularly? You're Probably Breaking The Law

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Peter
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PostSubject: Use A Computer Regularly? You're Probably Breaking The Law   Tue 15 Nov 2011, 09:54

Use A Computer Regularly? You're Probably Breaking The Law

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By Susie Madrak
I get so confused by all the political talk about freedom. It seems as if politicians only want freedom for corporations and the big donors who own them, and jail time for everyone else:

The nation’s premier anti-hacking law poses a threat to the civil liberties of millions of Americans who use computers and the internet and could lead to the arrest and prosecution of many users who violate the law on a regular basis, says a former federal prosecutor who wants the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act revised.

“In the Justice Department’s view, the CFAA criminalizes conduct as innocuous as using a fake name on Facebook or lying about your weight in an online dating profile. That situation is intolerable,” says Orin Kerr, George Washington University law professor and a former federal prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Criminal Division.Currently, the law punishes anyone who “intentionally … exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains information from any protected computer.”

Kerr is testifying on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and is asking Congress to amend the law to narrow how prosecutors can interpret what it means to exceed authorized access on a computer.When the legislation was first enacted in the 1980s, it specifically targeted computer hacking and other computer misuse, Kerr argues in a written version of the testimony (.pdf) he plans to give. But since then, Congress has broadened the statute significantly four times, expanding the law’s reach and rendering it “unconstitutionally vague.”

The law as it currently stands allows prosecutors to criminally prosecute users for violating an internet service provider’s terms of service agreement, something that would normally be a breach of contract issue handled in civil court rather than through criminal prosecution.

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PostSubject: Re: Use A Computer Regularly? You're Probably Breaking The Law   Tue 15 Nov 2011, 10:21

You have got to be kidding me. Well, I don't know if the use of my handle is authorized or not, however until personally notified, I will continue to use it. As a Canadian, am I under threat here? How about my granddaughters? They are not permitted to use their real names, that's the law in our family.

By the way, I weigh 98 pounds. Wink
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Peter
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PostSubject: Re: Use A Computer Regularly? You're Probably Breaking The Law   Tue 15 Nov 2011, 11:23

I think as a Canadian you're OK but that now appears typical of the US. Not sure I posted it here but a new US law makes it a crime for citizens to violate US laws in another country even when doing so is legal there. It has really gotten past ridiculous.

It seems the idea there is to make eveyone a criminal then select who they wish to prosecute this week. I just don't have a comfortable feeling about the US any longer. I look forward to a few more years when I can become a permanent resident here in Mexico, Inmigrado. Though it was not my original intention it now looks like citizenship may be a better option to consider.

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PostSubject: Re: Use A Computer Regularly? You're Probably Breaking The Law   Tue 15 Nov 2011, 11:38

It appears that law I was speaking of pertains to controlled substances, but with the availability of many medications here that do not require a prescription it would appear by the technicalities of that law I could risk incarceration just in the course of living a normal life here. The key to staying out of jail may be to not tell anyone if I were going to visit a doctor or pharmacy.

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The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) -- even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they're carried out.

The Controlled Substances Act also regulates the distribution of prescription drugs, so something as simple as emailing a friend vacationing in Tijuana some suggestions on where to buy prescription medication over the counter could subject a U.S. resident to criminal prosecution. "It could even be something like advising them where to buy cold medicine overseas that they'd have to show I.D. to get here in the U.S.," Piper says.

It appears, though, that this has not yet become law and is just a bill that passed one side of the legislature. I would hope someone would have the good sense to look this through first before it passes the Senate and gets signed into law.

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