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When Is Employee Hacking a Crime?

Employees have found success in defeating CFAA accusations, often by arguing that they did not access a database or other proprietary information without authorization because their login credentials had yet to be revoked. As surveyed below, results have been mixed for employees accused of hacking into the databases of their own companies, competitors and potential business partners. This article discusses three recent cases in this area of law.

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On July 18, 2016, Christopher Correa, the former director of the St. Louis Cardinals, pled guilty to five counts of “unauthorized access of a protected computer” in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA, 18 U.S.C. 1030 et seq.). Correa was found guilty of hacking into the Houston Astros’ internal database by using credentials of former Cardinals employees that now worked for the Astros. His pending prison sentence is nearly four years.

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