What are the issues with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is one of the many federal laws aimed towards policing computer usage and preventing fraud and abuse. While it has been around for a while, there are many who feel it has outlived its usefulness and it is time for an overhaul.
According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is in dire need of revision. It creates unfair criminal situations and is no longer effective against computer fraud. There are a couple of specific issues with the CFAA that many criminal defense lawyers and other organizations feel make the act unrealistic and harmful in today’s world.
An old law
One of the main issues with the CFAA is that it originated in 1986. The internet and computers at that time were much different than they are today. At the time lawmakers created the act, there was no way for them to know how pervasive computers would become in everyday life.
The act has undergone changes to help update it. The biggest changes were in 2008. At that time there were additions and amendments that helped to address more modern concerns. However, even since then, there have been vast changes in this field.
An unfair law
Another serious issue is that while the CFAA prohibits accessing a computer without authorization, there is no clear definition of what without authorization means. This opens the door to many misunderstandings and issues with those punished under the act. It creates situations where simple actions become serious crimes with severe punishments that do not seem reasonable.