U.S. Supreme Court Narrows the Scope of Federal Anti-Hacking Law in Van Buren v. United States: Court Holds That the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Does Not Apply to an Individual Who Is Authorized to Access Information on a Computer but Does So for an Improper Purpose

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - June 4, 2021

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Van Buren v. United States that the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which bars an individual from “exceed[ing] authorized access” to information on a computer network, does not apply to cases where an individual is generally authorized to access the information, but does so for an unauthorized or improper purpose. The decision has significant implications for law enforcement and the private sector, and particularly for employers in situations where employees access confidential or proprietary information for an unauthorized purpose.

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