The erosion of our freedoms continues as the Department of Justice is criminalizing activities that it deems may be detrimental to public security. Among those activities are “lying on the Internet” and “uploading videos that break YouTube’s terms of service,” as well as any other action determined to “contravene a website’s usage policy.”
“In a statement obtained by CNET that’s scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites’ often-ignored, always-unintelligible “terms of service” policies,” writes Declan McCullagh.
The DOJ has expanded its Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to indicate that an agreement with a website’s terms of service would be identical to signing a contract with an employer, and as such, any such violation should provoke the same sort of punishment.
Passed by Congress in 1986, CFAA was originally intended to stop hackers from breaking into computer systems and to address all federal computer-related offenses. The Department of Justice now seeks to greatly expand the use of CFAA to target a number of different “violations.”
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