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The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

If you have filed or are contemplating filing a discrimination claim against your employer, your employer might resort to scare tactics in order to get you to drop your claim. One such tactic is to use a federal fraud statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to bring its own claim against you under the Act. In this article, a knowledgeable Orange County employment lawyer will explain the basics of the CFAA so you can be informed about this law.

The CFAA started off as the Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1984, and its purpose was to ensure that classified, credit, and financial information remained protected in government and financial institution computers. It soon proved to be insufficient, since it only addressed unauthorized hacking or access and failed to protect against authorized users’ improper use of protected information. The CFAA was considerably expanded in 1994, 1996, and 2001 to its present form.

The current CFAA enables employers to bring a claim against an employee on the following bases:

  • Interstate or foreign communication that amounts to: (1) “intentional” access to a “protected computer” database “without authorization” or (2) conduct that “exceeded authorized access”;
  • Knowing (and with the intent to defraud) access to a “protected computer” “without authorization” and the attainment of “anything of value” in furtherance of the intended fraud; or
  • Knowing transmission of a program, information, code, or command that results in: (1) the intentional and unauthorized damage to a “protected computer” or (2) the intentional damage and loss adding up to a threshold amount stated in the law.

There are steps that you as the employee can take to avoid facing litigation under the CFAA. Make sure what when you’re using your employer’s computer system, you do not exceed the scope of your authority. If you are no longer employed with the employer, be careful not to access the employer’s computer system at all, even if it’s to retrieve personal information. In addition, do not remove or erase any confidential information or proprietary trade secrets from your employer’s computer database.

If you’ve been discriminated against in your workplace and are contemplating filing a discrimination claim against your employer contact the experienced Orange County employment lawyers at the Daily Aljian law firm today for a free initial consultation.