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A Supreme Court CFAA Decision Could Give Terms of Service More Legal Bite

December 9, 2020

Legaltech News
By Victoria Hudgins

The Van Buren v. U.S. government case will solve a long-simmering circuit split regarding the scope of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s scope. But lawyers note a potentially “dangerously vague” CFAA might also finally spur a congressional overall of the 34-year-old tech law.

Companies and individuals might be dodging more Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) violations depending on the outcome of the Van Buren v. United States case in the U.S. Supreme Court. But while some are hopeful a narrow ruling would limit violation claims, one former federal prosecutor said a limited CCFA could strip prosecutors of a valuable tool for prosecuting insider trading.

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To avoid applying violations to a dramatically large population, Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partner Jeremy Mishkin believes a narrowed CFAA is preferred.

“Because the law is so broad, it would sweep in innocuous and benign behavior of many, many people [for] a law that was originally intended to punish the so-called hacker, the person that breaks into a system like a criminal would break into a home,” he said.

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