ACLU Goes After ‘Overbroad’ Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
PC Magazine - 06/30/2016
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has generated a lot of controversy since it became law in 1986, and this week the ACLU filed a lawsuit that challenges what it sees as the law’s overbroad prohibitions.
The act forbids people from “exceed[ing] authorized access” to a computer, which technically means that any violation of a tech company’s terms of service is illegal. If you’ve ever created multiple accounts for a website, for instance, or perhaps used a different name to register for an online service, you might be in violation.
The plaintiffs in ACLU’s case are researchers from the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, and Northeastern University, as well as First Look Media, which publishes the Intercept. The lawsuit claims that they want to investigate companies’ online practices through “standard academic and journalistic techniques,” but are limited by the terms of service of the websites they are targeting.