For years, criminal defense attorneys, academics, and civil libertarians have warned that an anti-hacking law, originally designed to protect NORAD's computers, needs to be reformed. Federal prosecutors have used the law to prosecute the late Aaron Swartz and a Missouri woman accused of lying on her MySpace profile.
Now a key U.S. House of Representatives committee finally is rewriting the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. But instead of fixing the law's vagueness problems, or reducing its penalties, draft legislation backed by the Justice Department would make it even more Draconian.
It's a bitter setback to the … Read more
Were you one of those kids who saw the silhouette of creatures in the clouds? You might enjoy director Patrick Jean's "Motorville," in which a California city, loosely based on Los Angeles, comes alive and treks across the world in search of oil.
Why oil? Jean says the city needs "oil in order to feed its body, made of streets, highways, and freeways." The director originally created the video for a television channel in the U.S., but the unnamed network supposedly declined the piece after seeing it, so Jean put it on Vimeo instead. … Read more
Few actors have gathered as much geek street cred as Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, with credits for "Star Trek," "The Lord of the Rings," and "X-Men" between them. Now, there's news of a crossover most of us didn't see coming: McKellen says he will officiate at Stewart's upcoming nuptials.
Let's savor this for a moment. Gandalf will be officiating Captain Picard's wedding. Magneto will be helping Professor Xavier get hitched. I know it's too much to hope they'll do it in costume, but a gal can dream. I'm imagining McKellen in a Magneto costume with a Gandalf hat and beard, while Stewart dons a "Star Trek" uniform and sits in a clear plastic wheelchair (just in case Magneto decides to act up).… Read more
Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who committed suicide while facing the possibility of a felony criminal conviction, was prosecuted under a law that was never intended to cover what he was accused of doing.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984 dealt only with bank and defense-related intrusions. But over the years, thanks to constant pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, the scope of the law slowly crept outward.
Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, is taking issue with a description of how a discussion with one of his aides led the late Aaron Swartz to campaign against Hollywood-backed copyright bills.
At an event in San Francisco last weekend, Peter Eckersley, Swartz's former roommate and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director, told an audience that the late activist created the advocacy group Demand Progress after a fruitless meeting with one of Leahy's aides.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A fruitless Capitol Hill meeting to discuss digital copyright legislation prompted the late activist Aaron Swartz to launch the Demand Progress advocacy group, his former roommate said at a gathering here last weekend.
Swartz was so frustrated with congressional willingness to break the Internet on Hollywood's behalf that he created a group to channel online outrage into political activism, said Peter Eckersley, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director.
What are you going to do to mark the upcoming release of "Iron Man 3"? If you're superfan Patrick Priebe, you build your own Iron Man laser gauntlet.
As a 6-foot-tall, Mohawk-sporting hockey player, Priebe can come across as intimidating. His penchant for making laser weapons doesn't help much either.
His Web site laser-gadgets.com showcases his passion for the science fiction and video games, a passion reflected in his jaw-dropping creations -- guns that fire laser beams as well as laser-guided crossbows.
It was one year ago today that an unprecedented outcry against the Stop Online Piracy Act proved to Washington officialdom that sufficiently irritated Internet users are a potent political force. After Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and other major sites asked their users to contact their representatives, the deluge of traffic knocked some Senate Web sites offline, and votes on both bills were indefinitely postponed.
The massive public outcry that, by some counts, involved more than 10 million Internet users concerned about the proposals' impact on free expression has turned the protests into a cautionary tale on Capitol Hill. Aides now worry … Read more
A U.S. Senate panel this morning approved a landmark privacy bill that would curb law enforcement's warrantless access to the contents of e-mail, private Facebook posts, and other data that Americans store in the cloud.
The voice vote was a victory for a coalition of technology firms including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, which had urged Congress to update a 1986 law to reflect changes in technology -- and preserve the same privacy rights that Americans enjoy if their files are printed out and stored in a cabinet at home.
"We have to update our digital privacy … Read more