Computer-security researchers fear President Barack Obama’s proposed changes to federal hacking laws could put them out of business, could make computers less secure overall, and could put some of them — and maybe even you — in prison.
"Under the new proposal, sharing your HBO GO password with a friend would be a felony," Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, told an audience of researchers and IT pros Saturday (Jan. 17) at ShmooCon 2015, a security conference held annually in Washington, D.C.
Obama showcased the proposals in his State of the Union address Wednesday night (Jan. 20). The changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), first implemented in 1984, might make many commonplace security-research practices — and media reporting on those practices — federal crimes. Even sharing passwords for online accounts would potentially be punishable.
"Believe what you’ve heard" about Obama’s proposals, Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology, warned this past Friday (Jan. 16) at ShmooCon 2015.