Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)

News & Analysis as of

Supreme Court Denies Cert in Leading Case on Internet Tracking and Analytics

The Supreme Court recently declined to review In re Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation—a consolidated class action alleging that Google and third-party advertisers evaded web browser privacy settings,...more

In Case You Missed It: Launch Links - September, 2016 #4

Some interesting links we found across the web this week: The Hacking Law That Can’t Hack It - For 30 years and counting, courts have struggled with the vagaries of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal law...more

CFPB Sues Credit Repair Company for Misleading Claims and Illegal Fees

On September 22, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against a credit repair company for allegedly making misleading...more

CFPB Files Action Against Credit Repair Company, Seeking Injunction and Penalties

On September 23, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it filed suit against a credit repair company in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, for alleged violations...more

Ninth Circuit Issues Two Recent Decisions Further Definining Liability Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

In July, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two decisions by which it intends to clarify liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030 (“CFAA”). The CFAA imposes criminal penalties and...more

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

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