Jonathan Mayer : 2013 Security Workshop


Monday, April 15, 2013
Location: Fisher Conference Center, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Are We Criminals? How a 1980s Hacking Law Undermines Computer Security"


The computer security research community rests in legal limbo. An 80s-era statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, makes it unlawful to "access" a computer system "without authorization." In the most expansive interpretation, merely running afoul of a website's legalese would be a federal crime! CFAA may have made sense when it was enacted, but it now poses serious risks to consumers, entrepreneurs, and especially computer security researchers. This talk will review the history of CFAA and explain how the statute is backfiring. It will also address efforts at reform by legislators and the judiciary---and detail how they don't go far enough.


Jonathan Mayer is a graduate student in computer science and law at Stanford University, where he is a Cybersecurity Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and a Junior Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University with a concentration in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Jonathan's area of research encompasses the intersections of policy, law, and computer science, with recent emphasis on consumer web privacy, cybercrime legislation, and cybersecurity regulation. A proud Chicago native, Jonathan is undaunted by freezing weather and enjoys celery salt on a hot dog.