A former employee will violate the computer fraud and abuse act only by having unauthorized access to data, not by using data for an unauthorized purpose.
Former owners or employees that access computer systems after termination may be liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
A federal claim based on the unauthorized use of data will likely no longer support a federal claim in a business divorce litigation.
So much impact from such a little word. The U.S. Supreme Court, resolving a split among the circuit courts, imposed significant limits on the reach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), severely restricting its usefulness as a tool to pursue unfaithful former employees and owners.
The significance of the decision– which as discussed below turned on the construction of the work “so” in the statute’s definitions – in business divorce cases is that it will limit the ability of litigants to employ the statute as redress for some types of conduct and deprive a plaintiff in some cases of access to federal courts. (For the linquists and grammarians, the parsing of “so” is in the opinion, here.) Continue reading