Signs Inscribed on a Gate: The Impact of Van Buren v. United States on Civil Claims Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

By: Scott T. Lashway | Matthew M.K. Stein
– Western New England Law Review

Co-Leader of Manatt’s Privacy and Data Security practice Scott Lashway and Privacy and Data Security Special Counsel Matthew Stein co-authored an article for Western New England Law Review on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2021 decision in Van Buren v. United States has impacted the interpretation and implementation of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for civil claims and what it might mean for companies going forward.  

According to the article, the CFAA “imposes criminal penalties on anyone who accesses protected computers without authorization or beyond what they are authorized to access,” and has historically been used by organizations to protect against cybersecurity risks. The authors described a Circuit of Appeals split resolved by the Supreme Court’s Van Buren decision on what it means to “exceed authorization” and whether access could be limited to certain purposes. “Even though Van Buren answers some questions about the CFAA’s scope, it leaves more critical questions unanswered that impact how companies use the CFAA in civil litigation,” said Lashway and Stein. Despite these issues following the Van Buren decision, however, the authors maintain that “the CFAA retains its importance and teeth.” 

Read the full article here

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