Sunday, December 3, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court tightens reach of hacking law

In a 6-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which is a 34-year-old law on computer hacking, CNET reports. At issue was the conviction – which the Supreme Court ruling overturned – of a former police officer who allegedly received payments in return for searching for a license plate in a police database. Under CFAA, it is illegal to “access a computer with authorization and to use such access to obtain or alter information in the computer that the accesser is not entitled so to obtain or alter.” In its opinion, delivered by Justice Amy Coney Barrett and issued Thursday, the court found that while the provision applies to those who “obtain information from particular areas in the computer — such as files, folders, or databases — to which their computer access does not extend,” the provision doesn’t cover someone who might have “improper motives” for retrieving information to which they already have access.

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