SOPA author wants to arrest journalists over leaks

Texas Representative Lamar Smith, the angry old man who doesn't understand the internet and is the author of popular bills like SOPA, thinks that it's about time for the Justice Department to bring down “the full force of the law” against journalists who leak sensitive information. That includes journalists who have been talking about US involvement in Stuxnet a little bit too much.

The only problem is that the Justice Department really can't bring “the full force of the law” against leakers, since the law itself doesn't actually let them do that. No worries – the House Judiciary Committee will fix that, according to Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner.

The committee, Sensenbrenner says, is looking at revamping the Espionage Act to allow the prosecution of journalists who leak state secrets. “We've got the Constitutional issue about the First Amendment,” Sensenbrenner said, adding that “there has to be a balance.” In other words, freedom of the press is fine, so long as it doesn't get in the government's way.

Obviously, journalists (especially us poor tech journalists) are a bit worried about the whole deal: the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press says that there is “no need for a new law, and certainly not [one] that was rushed through Congress without careful consideration.” But isn't that how most laws involving technology (and anything, really) are passed?

Thanks to member Tom for the tip in our forums.

Source: InfoSecurity | US House of Representatives

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