Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)

News & Analysis as of

Password (Sharing) Risks Persist for Fiduciaries and Family Members

In May, I posted about “Estate Planning in the Digital Age” and mentioned the practical limitations of shared passwords as a means of digital estate planning.  Recent cases suggest that relying only on password sharing, even...more

Sharing of Passwords Under Certain Circumstances Unlawful

Many companies have experienced the departure of an employee and the elimination of that former employees access to the company’s computers and networks. In the recent case of USA v. Nosal, D.C. No. 3:08-cr-00237-EMC-1 (July...more

Controversial Federal Court Ruling Could Shape Future of Computer Trespass Prosecution

In a controversial decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that it is a federal crime to access a website after being specifically instructed not to by the site’s owner. The court ruled largely in...more

When Is Using a Computer a Crime? Rehearing Sought on Ninth Circuit’s “Distressingly Unclear” Answer

Facebook recently won a landmark victory in the Ninth Circuit against a company that accessed Facebook’s computers to help users manage their social network accounts. Now the company, Power Ventures, Inc., says that the...more

Compilation of Public Data Can be Trade Secret

A recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision confirmed that data derived from a compilation of publicly available information can constitute a protectable trade secret, particularly when a proprietary process is used to...more

Ninth Circuit Rules on Meaning of “Without Authorization” under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Last month, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the criminal conviction of an individual for accessing a computer “without authorization” in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). U.S. v. Nosal (9th Cir., July 5,...more

Sparks Fly in Ninth Circuit’s Nosal II Opinion

As many loyal TSW readers know, we’ve been watching the ongoing saga involving ex-Korn Ferry recruiter David Nosal wind its way through the courts since the early days of this blog. And last month, the highly anticipated...more

Ninth Circuit Case Demonstrates That the Social Media Platform, Not the User, Is in Control

We have written before about website operators’ use of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to combat data scraping. We have also noted a number of recent cases in which courts held that social media platforms,...more

Ninth Circuit Provides Clarification Concerning the Definition of Trade Secret

On July 5, 2016, in United States v. Nosal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals clarified the definition of “trade secret,” finding that data derived from a compilation of publicly available information can constitute a...more

Social Links: Twitter’s tough quarter; Yelp warns users about litigious dentist; Pinterest battles Snapchat

Instagram now allows celebrities to block trolls. The rest of us will have to continue trying to ignore Instagram trolls. While Facebook reached new highs last quarter, Twitter continued to stumble. Will adding more live...more

Ninth Circuit Says You’re Going to Jail for Visiting That Website without Permission

Zounds, right? But that is arguably what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in Facebook v. Power Ventures, Inc. on July 12th. Let’s get to it....more

Why You Should Care About Federal Computer Privacy

An often-stated truth is that you shouldn’t access the email of others. Here, “others” means the person you have divorced, are now divorcing, or plan to divorce in the not too distant future. No matter how often this is said,...more

Déjà Vu Not All Over Again: Ninth Circuit Strengthens CFAA In Nosal II

On July 5, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its highly anticipated decision in the most recent chapter of United States v. Nosal, holding that an individual acts "without authorization" as used in the Computer...more

Ninth Circuit Interprets “Without Authorization” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

When we last left David Nosal, he had escaped liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after convincing some of his former colleagues at executive search firm Korn/Ferry to use their log-in credentials to download...more

Taking a Walk Back to a Kinder, Gentler Interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

We don’t usually talk about four-year-old court decisions in the first instance here. But the Ninth Circuit has issued a pair of noteworthy opinions interpreting the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the last few weeks. And...more

Recent Decision Widens “Narrow” Door for Use of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act against Corporate Insiders

Information security threats come from a variety of sources, including outside hackers and disloyal corporate insiders. One federal statute that may provide a powerful remedy when a company’s defenses are breached and data is...more

Password sharing and “head-slap hacks”: What employers can do

If you have ever wondered why your company’s data is not as secure as it should be, take a look in the mirror. A study by the Ponemon Institute, commissioned by Experian and released in May, found that the majority of...more

Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc.: Shotgun-Toting Borrowers of Jewelry From Bank Safe Deposit Boxes and the CFAA. Wait. What?

On July 12, 2016, the Ninth Circuit filed its published opinion in Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-17154 (“Power Ventures”). Power Ventures is the latest in a series of decisions from the Ninth...more

When Stealing in Baseball Can Land You in Jail: Computer Fraud Sentencing Announced in MLB Case

Although stealing bases, and even signs, in baseball may be part of the game, stealing another team’s trade secrets can land you in federal prison, as one executive recently learned the hard way. As we previously...more

Facebook v. Vachani – User Authorization Can Be Revoked By Service Providers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently issued a decision that could have far reaching implications for the relationships between companies that provide online services, their customers or users, and third...more

Aveta And The Use Of Confidential Info In FCA Cases

In a recent case in the District of Puerto Rico, United States ex rel. Valdez v. Aveta Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-01140-CCC (D.P.R.), the former president of Puerto Rican-based managed health care provider Aveta Inc., Jose...more

Employment Law Navigator – Week in Review: July 2016 #3

The combined topics of Facebook and race were in the news last week. A Pennsylvania judge ruled that an employee’s personal Facebook page laced with race-based stereotypes could be used to impeach her in her lawsuit, which...more

The Ninth Circuit Holds That Accessing a Website After Receiving a Cease & Desist Letter Is a Violation of the Computer Fraud and...

Last week, the Ninth Circuit limited the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in affirming a grant of summary judgment against the defendant in Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc., et. al. and affirmed the rule...more

Social Links: Appeals court opinions show reach of anti-hacking law; a virtual reality sickness cure; intrigue at Vine

The UK wants to use the blockchain to track the spending of welfare recipients. Some believe that a recent Ninth Circuit holding could turn sharing passwords into a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act....more

Ninth Circuit Vastly Expands Scope of Criminal, Civil Liability for Computer Fraud

In a pair of highly anticipated decisions, the Ninth Circuit significantly reshaped criminal and civil liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The court’s recent decisions in United States v. Nosal...more

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