Court Holds That Using Facebook at Work Does Not Violate the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act

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The debate rages on concerning the scope and extent of the federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. In simple terms, the CFAA makes it unlawful to access a protected computer without authorization (or in excess of one's authorization) and to damage the computer or obtain information that one is not entitled to obtain. Originally a criminal statute, the CFAA also provides for a civil claim if certain conditions are met. Courts have long debated whether the statute applies in the context of an alleged faithless employee who accesses an employer's information contained on a computer for an improper competitive purpose. Regardless of the varied judicial opinions addressing this point, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently rejected as "dubious" a somewhat novel argument that an employee violated the CFAA by accessing Facebook and her personal email at work. (A copy of the Court's opinion is available in pdf format below.)

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Published In: Criminal Law Updates, Labor & Employment Updates, Science, Computers & Technology Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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