[free-sklyarov] [declan@well.com: FC: Sen. Torricelli's "anti-hacker" bill puts parents, kids in jail]

Jon O . jono at microshaft.org
Sat Aug 4 10:53:46 PDT 2001

More open-ended laws...

----- Forwarded message from Declan McCullagh <declan at well.com> -----

Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001 11:20:15 -0400
From: Declan McCullagh <declan at well.com>
To: politech at politechbot.com
Subject: FC: Sen. Torricelli's "anti-hacker" bill puts parents, kids in jail
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   Senator Targets School Hackers
   By Declan McCullagh (declan at wired.com)
   6:48 a.m. Aug. 1, 2001 PDT
   WASHINGTON -- Sen. Robert Torricelli claims he wants to put hackers
   who disrupt school computers in prison.
   "Computer hackers who prey upon unsuspecting schools, striking fear in
   the hearts of entire communities with threats of violence, cannot go
   unpunished," the New Jersey Democrat said this week.
   But educators, programmers and civil libertarians say Torricelli's
   recently-introduced School Website Protection Act of 2001 does more
   than place wrongdoers behind bars. They say the bill is worded so
   vaguely it would turn commonplace activities into federal crimes to be
   investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.
   "I think the bill misses the mark," says Jim Dempsey, deputy director
   of the Center for Democracy and Technology. "It is written in an
   overly broad fashion. Sending one unsolicited e-mail affects a
   computer. If I send an e-mail to my student's teacher and I didn't
   have her permission, I violate the act."
   Dempsey is talking about the bill's sweeping language, which punishes
   activities that affect a computer rather than ones that damage it or
   successfully penetrate its security. Contrary to what the name of the
   bill implies, the measure covers any school computer system, not just
   websites, and could criminalize pranks such as sending mail from a
   friend's computer when they've left themselves logged in.
   Torricelli's measure says anyone who "knowingly causes the
   transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a
   result of such conduct, intentionally affects or impairs without
   authorization a computer of an elementary school or secondary school
   or institution of higher education" will to go federal prison for up
   to 10 years.


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