Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Cybercrime and the Law: Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the 116th Congress

CRS report via LC – Cybercrime and the Law: Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the 116th Congress, September 21, 2020: “…Since the original enactment of the CFAA in 1984, technology and the human relationship to it have continued to evolve. Although Congress has amended the CFAA on numerous occasions to respond to new conditions, the rapid pace of technological advancement continues to present novel legal issues under the statute. For example, with increasing computerization has come a corresponding proliferation of Terms of Service (ToS) agreements—contractual restrictions on computer use. But federal courts disagree on whether the CFAA imposes criminal liability for ToS violations,and the United States Supreme Court is currently considering a case on this issue. Another technological development that has created tension under the CFAA is the rise of botnets, which are networks of compromised computers often used by cyber criminals. Although the CFAA prohibits creating botnets and using them to commit certain crimes, it is unclear if selling or renting a botnet violates the statute—a potential concern given that botnet access is often rented from botnet brokers. On a more basic level, another change that has prompted some reexamination of the CFAA is the seemingly-growing frequency of computer crime. Some contend that the prevalence and perniciousness of hacking requires private actors to defend themselves by hacking back—that is, initiating some level of intrusion into the computer of the initial attacker. The same provisions of the CFAA that prohibit hacking ostensibly also make it a crime to hack back, which some legislation has sought to change…

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.