Disloyal Computer Use and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Narrowing the Scope

By: Greg Pollaro

Congress drafted the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to protect government interest computers from malicious attacks by hackers. As computer use has expanded in the years since its enactment, the CFAA has similarly expanded to cover a number of computer-related activities. This iBrief discusses the extension of the CFAA into the employer/employee context, suggests that this goes beyond the Act’s express purpose, compares the different approaches taken by the circuit courts in applying the CFAA to disloyal computer use by employees, and argues that the more recent approach taken by the Ninth Circuit provides a better model for determining if and when the CFAA should apply to employees.

Cite: 2010 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 012

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