Unauthorized Access

News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

Data Privacy Considerations for Starting or Evaluating a Bounty Program

Data security officers typically look for security risks by monitoring reports from automated security systems, listening to employees’ reports of security issues, and/or auditing IT systems. There is a great deal of debate,...more

Epic Verdict in Trade Secrets Case

Last week, a federal jury in Wisconsin awarded almost $1 billion to Epic Systems Corporation in its trade secrets case against Indian consulting company Tata Consulting Services, Ltd., and its American unit, Tata America...more

Tennessee Amends Its Data Breach Notification Laws

Removes the Encryption Safe Harbor, Limits the Timing of Notice, and Expands “Unauthorized Persons” - Effective July 1, 2016, Tennessee becomes the first state to remove the encryption safe harbor from its data breach...more

Preventing Unauthorized Access to and Disclosure of Confidential Employee Information

Inherent in all employment relationships is the fact that employers are privy to all sorts of confidential information about their employees. For example, in order to do something as simple as paying an employee’s wages, an...more

Recent Decision Highlights Important Pleading Requirements for Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claims

Ever since Iqbal and Twombly, it has become imperative that a complaint filed in federal court contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v....more

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Not Violated Unless Plaintiff Shows Defendant Had Intent To Defraud

In a recent Computer Fraud and Abuse Act case, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s conclusion that the plaintiff had produced no evidence refuting the defendant’s contention that it honestly...more

Sanctions for Bringing a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claim?

Federal courts have continued to disagree on whether the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act ("CFAA") applies to employees who misuse confidential information or trade secrets obtained from an employer's computer system that the...more

UVA notifies employees of illegal access to human resources information through phishing scheme

The University of Virginia (UVA) has notified approximately 1,400 of its employees that unauthorized individuals were able to access its HR system and the personal information of 1,400 employees of the Academic Division. The...more

SCOTUS upholds Computer Fraud and Abuse Act conviction

The Supreme Court of the United States held on January 25, 2016, that an executive of a shipping company who hacked into his former employer’s computer system after he left the company was guilty under the Computer Fraud and...more

Breaking News: Hacker’s Conviction Affirmed Despite Lower Court’s Error

This week, the United States Supreme Court upheld a conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act despite the Court’s acknowledgement that the jury had been wrongfully instructed on the elements of the crime charged. ...more

Supreme Court Issues CFAA decision in Michael Musacchio v. United States

On Monday, January 25th, the Supreme Court issued the most recent Computer Fraud and Abuse Act decision in Michael Musacchio v. United States. After leaving his employer to start his own company, the defendant (a former...more

Recent Georgia Court of Appeals Case Highlights Alternative Theories of Relief in Unfair Competition Case

Beginning in law school, attorneys are trained to learn from reported appellate cases, and that education never stops. In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals case involving claims of unfair competition, Lyman v. Cellchem Int’l...more

Feds focus on damage to computers as basis for Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prosecution

Last week, a federal judge sentenced Yijia Zhang, a computer systems manager, to 31 months in federal prison for transferring thousands of his employer’s electronic files to European storage sites. The case highlights the...more

Ninth Circuit Poised to Address the “Without Authorization” Debate under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Action Again

Imagine if you could manage all of your social media platforms on one app. Believe it or not, there was an app for that (or, at least a website), created by a company named Power Ventures (“Power”). Back in 2008, Power...more

‘Cannibal Cop’ Decision Restrains Employers

Second Circuit ruling on data theft creates more inconsistency regarding federal law’s reach. In December, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in U.S. v. Valle interpreted the Computer...more

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