Will News Corp. Executives and Reporters Be Charged with Criminal Violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

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The New York Times recently reported that the UK telephone hacking scandal could result in News Corp. and its executives being charged in the United States with criminal violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Title 15, U.S.C. § 78m, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2511, and the Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1039. See NYT, “News Corp. Braces for Legal Trouble in the U.S.,” July 18, 2011. What the New York Times, as well as all of the politicians and pundits who have commented on this issue, failed to mention is that the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) is the federal criminal statute that most neatly fits the alleged crimes of hacking into voice mails and telephone records. Title 18, U.S.C. §1030.

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