Ninth Circuit Holds That Violating Any Employer Restriction on Computer Use “Exceeds Authorized Access” (Making It a Federal Crime)

Orin Kerr writes:

I had though the world was safe from the nuttiness of the Justice Department’s broad theories of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in the Lori Drew case. Not so. Readers may recall I once blogged about a similar case, United States v. Nosal, that raised similar issues in the context of an employee who breached his employer’s written restrictions on computer use. What I didn’t realize is that DOJ appealed a district court’s order in Nosal and brought the issue to the Ninth Circuit.

In a divided opinion today by Judge Trott, joined by Judge O’Scannlain, United States v. Nosal, the Ninth Circuit held that “an employee ‘exceeds authorized access’ under § 1030 when he or she violates the employer’s computer access restrictions — including use restrictions.”

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

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