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Tag Archives: CFAA

Are you a criminal because you share your Netflix password?

The United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit continues to decide high profile cases that interpret the key provisions of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This post summarizes two July decisions from the court—one that sent the internet into a frenzy, and one that somewhat assuaged those fears.

Overview of the CFAA

The CFAA’s deceptively-simple statutory scheme and language have proved difficult to apply in practice some 30 years after it was enacted. The CFAA creates criminal and civil liability for whoever “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains . . . information from any protected computer.” 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(C). “The statute thus provides two ways of committing the crime of improperly accessing a protected computer: (1) obtaining access without authorization; and (2) obtaining access with authorization but then using that access improperly.” Musacchio v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 709, 713 (2016). The CFAA provides a private right of action for “[a]ny person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of this section.” 18 U.S.C. § 1030(g).…

Ninth Circuit En Banc Decision in Nosal Creates Federal Appellate Court Split On Scope of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s Reach to Protect Trade Secrets

On our sister blog – Employer Law Report – Brian Hall discusses a much anticipated decision, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in an en banc decision in United States v. Nosal that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") was not intended to cover employee misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of corporate computer use policies or violations of an employee duty of loyalty. The decision, which overrules a previous Ninth Circuit panel decision in Nosal, creates a conflict with the Fifth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits, all of which have interpreted the CFAA broadly to include such employee misconduct. As a result, we can probably expect this issue to show up on the Supreme Court’s docket sometime in the future. Read Brian’s full post here.…

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