NEWARK, NJ (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a coalition of academics and public policy groups are urging a federal judge to dismiss a criminal indictment that could give websites extraordinary power to dictate what behavior becomes a computer crime.
The four defendants in this case are the operators of Wiseguys Tickets, Inc., a ticket-reselling service. In its indictment, the government claims the four purchased tickets from Ticketmaster by automated means (commonly known as a bot), violating Ticketmaster's terms of service and therefore the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). In an amicus brief, EFF argues that this prosecution expands the scope of the CFAA beyond what Congress intended, grounding criminal liability in whatever arbitrary terms of service that websites decide to impose on users.
"Under the government's theory, anyone who disregards — or doesn't read — the terms of service on any website could face computer crime charges," said EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick. "That gives Ticketmaster and other online services extraordinary power over their users: the power to decide what is criminal behavior and what is not. Price comparison services, social network aggregators, and users who skim a few years off their ages could all be criminals if the government prevails."
EFF's amicus brief was also signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys of New Jersey, and law professors Gabriel "Jack" Chin, Eric Goldman, Michael Risch, Ted Sampsell-Jones, and Robert Weisberg. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers