Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 1/15/2013 01:57:00 PM

Do Computer Fraud & Abuse Act Prosecutions Sometimes Go Too Far?

Offered here without commentary, an article from Slate concerning the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz who was set to go on trial next month for violations of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act for unlocking a database of scholarly articles.


Prosecutors charging decisions – particularly the amount of prison time and penalties to be sought – are generally discretionary, rarely reviewable, and certainly subject to abuse (and not just under the CFAA).

There should be near unanimous agreement that what happened to Aaron is sad and, if an over-reaching prosecution played a role, something that ought to be rectified.

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