The Justice Department wants to solidify Internet regulations on citizens in the United States that criminalize such things as lying on Internet dating websites and uploading videos to YouTube that violate the company’s “terms of service” agreement.
In a statement that was obtained by CNET, the Justice Department outlines the importance of its being able to prosecute violations to a website’s “terms of service” agreement through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The Department reportedly wants to treat “terms of service” agreements much like contracts that are made between businesses, employees and individuals outside the Web world.
Opponents of the law like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have called the regulations draconian and say that making people felons for failing to adhere to website rules is ridiculous.
In a letter sent to the Senate by the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FreedomWorks, opponents argue against the law: “If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime. Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law.”
Proponents say that keeping and strengthening CFAA is vital to the Justice Department’s ability to prosecute identity theft, misuse of government databases and privacy invasions.
According to CNET, thousands of people violate “terms of service” agreements daily.