The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a powerful weapon in a prosecutor’s arsenal. Though imperfect in some ways, it provides a way for citizens and the Government to seek redress for wrongs that previously had no crime attached to them. Much has been made of the Department of Justice’s prosecution of Mr. Swartz in the wake of his death.
Regular readers of this blog know that I will be speaking at Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas on Tuesday, January 14th. In advance of my presentation, I thought I would give you a sneak preview. There are some good lessons for all companies – whether Internet based or not.
For those of you not familiar with COPPA, the FTC passed the act in 1998 and it is designed to help protect the personally identifiable information of Internet users under the age of 13 and gives parents control over the information companies collect online from their children. COPPA specifically applies to websites targeting children, but essentially applies to any site that a child could use that collects personally identifiable information. The FTC is concerned with children’s privacy now more than ever with the increased use of social media and smartphone apps that use features such as geolocation.
Just prior to the deadly school massacre in Newtown, CT last week, the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against Armslist, LLC, the owner of Armslist.com, on December 12, 2012. Attorneys for The Brady Center assert that Armslist.com played a large part in the death of Jitka Vesel, as the gun used to kill her was purchased through the website by her stalker. According to the Brady Center, the sale of the gun was illegal and the seller pleaded guilty to felony sale of a firearm to an out of state customer. The Brady Center also mentioned that the website did nothing to stop the sale of firearms to consumers in different states, because it allowed users to view classified listings in all fifty states.
On his blog, John McAfee announced that he is seeking asylum in Guatemala. Mr. McAfee will be holding a press conference this afternoon when he will take questions. Mr. McAfee’s latest string of posts on his blog gives more information about his whereabouts over the last few days, contains a messages to the family of Gregory Faull (who was murdered), and details what Ms. McAfee’s planned next steps. Finally, Mr. McAfee posts a pictures and information about two of his friends he says are wrongfully being held by Belize authorities. Read more