Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)

News & Analysis as of

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

Court Upholds Conviction Of Ex-Employee For Conspiring To Access Company Data Through “Shared” Password

Is password sharing a crime? It can be under the right circumstances, according to last week’s decision in United States v. Nosal. In Nosal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the conviction of a former...more

CFAA Double Feature: Ninth Circuit Issues Two Important Decisions on the Scope of Liability Related to Data Scraping and...

This past week, the Ninth Circuit released two important decisions that clarify the scope of liability under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030. The Act was originally designed to target...more

News of Note

Each week, Sheppard Mullin brings you News of Note in IP: The latest news in the IP-related fields of technology, privacy, fashion, advertising, music, and social media, curated by our IP team. Here are some of the stories...more

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Ruling: Did the Ninth Circuit Just Criminalize Password Sharing?

Not exactly. A divided Ninth Circuit panel recently affirmed the conviction of a former employee under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), holding that “[u]nequivocal revocation of computer access closes both the front...more

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Dissent claims that new Ninth Circuit case criminalizes password sharing

Danny Defendant, employed by Acme Widget Co., quits. Acme, of course, disables the password that Danny had used to access the Acme computer system. Danny then asks a friend, who still works at Acme, for her password. She...more

California Employment Law Notes - July 2016

Employer Is Entitled To Recover $4 Million In Attorney's Fees From EEOC - CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC, 578 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1642 (2016) - The EEOC filed suit against CRST (a trucking company) alleging...more

Ninth Circuit Rules that CFAA Imposes Criminal Penalties When Terminated Users Try To Access Systems With Borrowed Passwords

It can be a violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) to “access[] a protected computer without authorization.” The CFAA clearly applies when criminals with no connection to a company try to force their...more

ACLU Suing To Limit The Scope Of The Computer Fraud And Abuse Act And Promote Research Of Online Discrimination

On June 29, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Loretta Lynch in her official capacity as the United States Attorney General to challenge the constitutionality of a provision of the Computer Fraud...more

The Ninth Circuit Addresses the Scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

This week, the Ninth Circuit clarified the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in upholding the defendant’s criminal conviction in United States v. David Nosal....more

Quirky Question #283: They Stole Our Stuff, Can We Sue?

Question: My company recently terminated an employee, and we are very worried she accessed her email inappropriately in the days before she was fired. The timing of it all is … well, quirky. Here’s what happened: The...more

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