Anonymous rallies Twitter protest against CFAA

The hacker collective ask online networks to voice anger at overreaching cybercrimes law under review in Congress

Published April 3, 2013 8:02PM (EDT)

Aaron Swartz              (Wikipedia)
Aaron Swartz (Wikipedia)

As noted here, a draft cybersecurity bill circulating on Capitol Hill is set to expand the already-overreaching Computer Fraud and Abuses Act (CFAA). This despite the fact that recent months, in the wake of Aaron Swartz's suicide, have seen increasing public outcry over the dangerously broad remit of the cybercrime legislation.

To rally greater awareness and express anger at the CFAA and the proposed HR 11 bill, Anonymous Wednesday are leading a so-called "Twitter storm" -- an online protest in which Twitter users are invited to use hashtags and themed tweets in unison. The cyber-demonstration, scheduled for 5 p.m. EST, asks Twitter users to post messages decrying the CFAA with the hastag #ReformCFAA (which protest participators aim to get trending). In a Pastebin post announcing the Twitter storm, Anonymous stated, "Beginning Wednesday April 3rd we will attempt to influence the decision makers on the House Judicial Committee the strengthening the provisions of the CFAA is not what we the people want."

Anonymous also posted a number of sample Tweets that users can repost, including:

  • How many more people have to die because of outdated, inappropriate government policies? #AaronSwartz #ReformCFAA
  • Why are rapists and murders receiving less prison time than someone that changes a character in a URL? #ReformCFAA
  • Eliminate liability for “exceeding authorized access” #ReformCFAA #CFAA

As far as Anonymous actions go, a Twitter protest is relatively placid -- what a permitted, family-friendly street march might be to a riot -- but is only one aspect of activist efforts underway to challenge the CFAA.

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By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Aaron Swartz Anonymous Cfaa Cybercrime Protest Twitter