The Ninth Circuit Holds That Internet Browsing At Work Is Not A Federal Crime

In a decision that should give many employees a sigh of relief, the Ninth Circuit has held that browsing the Internet in contravention of an employer’s use restrictions does not give rise to criminal penalties under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) 18 U.S.C. § 1030.  In United States v. Nosal, No. 10-10038, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 7151 (April 10, 2012), Nosal — a former employee for the Korn/Ferry executive search firm — was prosecuted for violating the CFAA by convincing fellow employees to use their log-in credentials to download customer information from a confidential database on the company’s   Read More »

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Ninth Circuit to Revisit Expansive Interpretation of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, has been characterized as a federal trade secrets statute.  While the characterization is far from rigorous, it is true that the CFAA provides for civil remedies and criminal penalties in some instances where a “protected computer” is accessed “without authorization or exceeding authorized access.”  The boundaries of “without authorization or exceeding authorized access” have been the subject of much litigation.  In April 2011, a panel of the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Nosal addressed whether the defendant, David Nosal, and his accomplices could be prosecuted for “exceed authorized   Read More »

Posted in CFAA, Trade Secrets Litigation

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