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Litigation Regulation White Collar Crime

SCOTUS Set to Address Circuit Split in Interpreting CFAA

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the sort of broadly worded criminal statute which gives white-collar prosecutors considerable power — and makes defense counsel and judges uneasy. The meaning of “or exceed[ing] authorized access” is not so clear.

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The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the sort of broadly worded criminal statute which gives white-collar prosecutors considerable power — and makes defense counsel and judges uneasy. The law prohibits obtaining information by “access[ing] a computer without authorization or exceed[ing] authorized access.” Computer hacking — “access[ing] a computer without authorization” — clearly violates the law. But the meaning of the other operative words, “or exceed[ing] authorized access,” is not so clear.

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