How Employees Will Abuse the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
Your Orange County discrimination attorney will warn you about your employer using the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to their advantage, and advise you on taking steps to avoid that scenario.
Employers may use a federal fraud law to go on the offense
Your Orange County discrimination attorney will be ready for scheming employers who will threaten to use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) to scare litigating employees into giving up on their employment discrimination claims.
The CFAA was passed in 1984, and it was originally called the Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984. Its scope was initially limited to protecting classified, financial, and credit information on financial institution and government computers (“federal interest computers”). It only prohibited unauthorized access or hacking and thus did not protect against inappropriate use by authorized users. But since then, the CFAA’s reach has been significantly broadened by amendments in 1994 and 1996, and in 2001 by the Patriot Act.
Now, it has become common for employees to use the CFAA to intimidate the employee by threatening the following types of claims under the Act:
1. The employee purposely accessed a computer “without authorization” or went beyond his or her access privilege and extracted information from any “protected computer,” and this act engaged in an interstate or foreign communication.
2. The employee intentionally accessed a “protected computer” “without authorization” to commit fraud and consequently broadened the planned fraudulent conduct and acquired “anything of value.”
3. The employee “knowingly” transferred a program, information, code, or command, and thus: (1) “intentionally” inflicted damage on a “protected computer” without authorization; or (2) “intentionally” accessed a “protected computer” “without authorization,” and “inflicted damage” and “loss” totaling at an amount specified in the law.
Abiding by set parameters when using your employer’s computer system
Your Orange County discrimination attorneywill advise you to take the following steps to avoid risk of litigation under CFAA:
1. Not using your employer’s computer system when you are no longer working for him or her; or
2. Not going beyond your computer privilege in accessing your employer’s computer system if you are still employed.
Exercise similar discretion when you move around confidential and/or proprietary trade secret information.