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A Supreme Court Case Involving Computer Fraud Could Raise Risks for Businesses

WRAL TechWire

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  • January 14, 2021

Sarah Hutchins, Alli Davidson, and Eric Frick wrote in WRAL TechWire about a U.S. Supreme Court case "that could dramatically increase litigation and criminal risks tied to employees’ computer use."

"On November 30, 2020, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Nathan Van Buren v. United States, a case discussing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and what is determined to 'exceed authorized access' under that law," they wrote. "Congress enacted the CFAA in 1984 to provide federal government agencies with a viable option for prosecuting computer crimes, such as hackers stealing information. The CFAA prohibits the intentional accesses of computers 'without authorization' or 'exceeding authorizing access' causing loss of $5,000 or more, and has been used as the basis for criminal charges as well as in civil litigation."

"Van Buren, then a police sergeant, logged into a police database he was authorized to use in order to look up the license plate number of an individual at the request of a third party in exchange for a cash payment," they continued. "The issue the Supreme Court agreed to settle is whether 'a person who is authorized to access information on a computer for certain purposes' violates the CFAA 'if he accesses the same information for an improper purpose.'"

You can read their full analysis here: A Supreme Court Case Involving Computer Fraud Could Raise Risks for Businesses.

WRAL TechWire is a leading source of technology news for companies in the Carolinas.