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Split in Authority re Interpretation of “Without Authorization” in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”)

In CFAA on September 4, 2010 at 9:08 am
Online Fraud
Image by Don Hankins via Flickr

Law360 has published a useful discussion by Eric Welsh and Sarah Fulton of a split in authority in the interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030.  The CFAA is a statute that provides for both criminal and civil claims for persons who have “knowingly accessed a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access, . . .”  Id. § 1030(a)(1).  “In the context of an employee that steals data from a computer, the question under this statute is whether that person’s access to the computer was ‘without authorization’ . . . .[but] in the absence of a clear definition, courts in the United States have struggled to define the circumstance where a person acts ‘without authorization.’”  In the context of employee misappropriation, courts have approached the interpretation of “without authorization” in two ways: Read the rest of this entry »