• Henry Park

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act limited


On June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Van Buren v. United States that found that an employee does not "exceed authorized access" by misusing computer data they are otherwise authorized to access.


One aspect of this decision was the fear of criminalizing common activities. As most employers have policies that limit computer use to business purposes, an expansive definition of “exceeds authorized access” would turn anyone who agreed to such a policy into a felon for sending a personal email or reading the news from his work computer. Because many websites require users to agree to terms of service to access them, that expansive reading would “criminalize everything from embellishing an online-dating profile to using a pseudonym on [social media]" and turn "millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are criminals.”


Image by Balasoiu on Freepik.