Unauthorized Computer Access (H 7406A, S 2584)DIED
Category: 2016 Criminal Justice
As part of a package of computer crimes legislation put forward by the Attorney General's office, whistleblowers or spouses who guessed a computer password could have faced up to five years in prison. In February and March, the ACLU testified before the House (H 7406 A) and Senate (S 2584) Judiciary committees, respectively, in opposition to broadly worded legislation that treated whistleblowers and overzealous spouses the same as malicious hackers, subjecting them to felony penalties for gaining "unauthorized access" to a computer. The ACLU noted that similarly broad wording in federal legislation has been used to punish exactly these individuals. In May, the House Judiciary committee approved an amended version of the legislation that failed to address the ACLU's concerns, but the bill was never brought before the full House. The bill failed to move in the Senate at all.