When Computer Crimes Are Used To Silence Journalists: Why EFF Stands Against the Prosecution of Glenn Greenwald

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has put out a statement in support of journalist Glenn Greenwald whose “prosecution is an attempt to use computer crime law to silence an investigative reporter who exposed deep-seated government corruption”. Greenwald is being charged in Brazil, where he reported on corruption within the government of that country. While the EFF said that it has seen “no actions detailed in the criminal complaint that violate Brazilian law”, its main concern is the use of ill-defined “cybercrime” laws. “Around the world, cybercrime laws are notoriously hazy. This is in part because it’s challenging to write good cybercrime laws: technology evolves quickly, our language for describing certain digital actions may be imprecise, and lawmakers may not always imagine how laws will later be interpreted. And while the laws are hazy, the penalties are often severe, which makes them a dangerously big stick in the hands of prosecutors. Prosecutors can and do take advantage of this disconnection, abusing laws designed to target criminals who break into computers for extortion or theft to prosecute those engaged in harmless activities, or research—or, in this case, journalists communicating with their sources.”

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