Mea Culpa


Ramesh Ponnuru is right, and I'm wrong. Mostly. He lays out his case here, and he's correct: much of the language I cited in the Patriot Act was there in the pre-amended version of Title 18 as well. So it's not true, as I wrote, that the Patriot Act "expands" the definition of terrorism to include hacking. It would be more accurate to say it expands the definition of hacking, along with the government's ability to surveil and prosecute hackers. The fact that it does this under the heading "cyberterrorism" might raise some eyebrows, but it was a mistake to treat that as a significant development in itself.


1. Please ignore that perturbed blog entry I wrote earlier today.

2. If you haven't looked at my article on moral panics yet, go ahead and read it, but when you come to the part where I say the Patriot Act expands the definition of terrorism to include computer hacking, just shake your head and ignore me.

3. For more details on what's going on in that cyberterrorism section of the Patriot Act, and elsewhere in the law, go here.