“The US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is outdated, over-broad and criminalizes the mere breach of a commercial agreement. Prosecutors abuse the CFAA to extract plea bargains and send people to prison for doing no real harm. This is the law that was used to bully and threaten Aaron Swartz until he committed suicide,” said Matt Simons, Thoughtworks Director of Social and Economic Justice.
The letter, directed to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security of the U.S. House of Representatives, demands reform of the CFAA. “We will continue to support the passage of reasonable laws that protect the privacy and security of computer users without unduly restricting the freedom to create and innovate,” said Thoughtworks’ Simons. “We also stand in solidarity with all those who are unjustly prosecuted under laws that wrongfully elevate corporate power over the basic rights of real human beings.”
“The CFAA has been expanded so many times, it can be used to go after a whole host of activities that hurt innovation and should never be considered computer crimes,” said EFF’s Trevor Timm. “We commend Thoughtworks advocating for CFAA reform, so the law can be used to go after real criminals, instead of innovators, entrepreneurs, and security researchers.”
Simons added, “Thoughtworks calls on all inpiduals and organizations who understand that a free, open and accessible internet is an essential component of a just society to add their names to this letter, to support the work of the EFF and its partner organizations, and to raise your voices in robust public support of progressive reforms to the CFAA.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a non-profit legal organization based in San Francisco that advocates for digital civil liberties.