Justice Department lawyers call for CFAA clarification

Justice Department lawyers are pushing Congress to clarify the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the circumstances under which it can be used to prosecute criminals.
Justice Department lawyers are pushing Congress to clarify the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the circumstances under which it can be used to prosecute criminals.

Justice Department lawyers are pushing Congress to clarify the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and the circumstances under which it can be used to prosecute criminals.

The AP reported that these lawyers specifically want to nail down uses for the act, especially when people knowingly exceed their computer access or when a computer accesses a government database or assists in another felony.

A California case reportedly spurred the lawyers to make their new appeal. In that case, a Hollywood private eye wiretapped phones for celebrity clients to gather intelligence on rivals. The court threw out the computer access charges in that case.

Many groups other than lawyers have requested clarification on CFAA and a narrowing of its reach. Earlier this year, the White House recommended revisions to the law, much to the dismay of IT security professionals who viewed the suggestions as going too far.

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