Kim Zetter of Wired reports, “The suicide last month of coder and internet activist Aaron Swartz prompted an outcry about the manner in which a U.S. attorney used anti-hacking legislation to launch a heavy-handed prosecution for what many considered a minor infraction. Federal prosecutors in Boston defended their actions, saying they were only upholding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, under which Swartz was charged. But two lawmakers are proposing long-overdue changes to the law that would help prevent prosecutors from overreaching in their use of the law, as has occurred in a number of cases in recent years.”

Zetter continues, “The amendments, referred to as Aaron’s Law (.pdf) by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), exclude breaches of terms of service and user agreements from the law and also limits the scope of the definition of unauthorized access to make a clear distinction between criminal hacking activity and simply acts that exceed authorized access on a minor level. Under the amendments, which the two lawmakers refined after seeking input from members of the Reddit community and others, defines unauthorized access as “circumventing one or more technological measures that exclude or prevent unauthorized individuals from obtaining or altering” information on a protected computer.”

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