Town Hall Meeting: CFAA Reform Strategy

Presented at Black Hat USA 2013, July 31, 2013, 5 p.m. (30 minutes)

Aaron Swartz, a brilliant computer programmer and activist, committed suicide in January. At the time of his passing, Aaron was facing criminal charges carrying the possibility of decades in prison based on his use of the MIT campus network to download millions of journal articles from a database of academic scholarship. Aaron's death has prompted a vigorous public debate about the factors that contributed to his tragedy, including the many problems with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, including its vague language and harsh penalty scheme. The information security community has an important role to play in educating and persuading lawmakers to reform this dangerous law. In this town hall meeting, join activists involved in CFAA reform efforts to discuss how you can get involved in the public debate around CFAA reform and strategize about how to have the most impact.


  • Kurt Opsahl - Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Kurt Opsahl is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation focusing on civil liberties, free speech and privacy law. Before joining EFF, Opsahl worked at Perkins Coie, where he represented technology clients with respect to intellectual property, privacy, defamation, and other online liability matters, including working on Kelly v. Arribasoft, MGM v. Grokster and CoStar v. LoopNet. For his work responding to government subpoenas, Opsahl is proud to have been called a "rabid dog" by the Department of Justice. Prior to Perkins, Opsahl was a research fellow to Professor Pamela Samuelson at the U.C. Berkeley School of Information Management & Systems. Opsahl received his law degree from Boalt Hall, and undergraduate degree from U.C. Santa Cruz. Opsahl co-authored "Electronic Media and Privacy Law Handbook." In 2007, Opsahl was named as one of the "Attorneys of the Year" by California Lawyer magazine for his work on the O'Grady v. Superior Court appeal.