Historic 6-3 Supreme Court Decision Narrows Anti-Hacking Law To Avoid Criminalizing ‘Commonplace Computer Activity’

Historic 6-3 Supreme Court Decision Narrows Anti-Hacking Law To Avoid Criminalizing ‘Commonplace Computer Activity’


In a 6-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court massively restricted the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, a federal anti-hacking law.

As reported by The Washington Post, “the majority of justices [said] the government’s ‘breathtaking’ interpretation of the statute could make criminals of ‘millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens.’”

The case discussed whether Nathan Van Buren, a former Georgia police officer, violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which makes it 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.”

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As The Washington Post explained, “Van Buren was paid about $5,000 by an acquaintance to use his official computer access to track down information on a woman the man had met at a strip club,” with the former police officer later learning that “the 2015 payment, from someone police officers had been warned to steer clear of, was

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