Click, Click, CLINK: The CFAA and Overcriminalization in America





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Does sharing a Netflix password make you a felon? Recent court rulings on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) suggest that the answer might be yes.

The CFAA, also known as the federal anti-hacking law, makes it illegal to intentionally access a computer without authorization or “in excess of” authorization. However, “exceeding authorized access” is a phrase that has been subject to considerable dispute.

While specific, intentional criminal actions deserve proportional punishments, millions of Americans could become accidental criminals based on how certain judges and prosecutors choose to interpret the broad wording of the CFAA.

This panel co-organized by the Charles Koch Institute and the Electronic Frontier Foundation will discuss recent judicial decisions, the CFAA, and the troubles caused by overcriminalization.

  • Moderator: Vikrant Reddy, senior research fellow, Charles Koch Institute
  • Gabe Rottman, deputy director, Freedom, Security, & Technology Project, Center for Democracy & Technology
  • Paul Rosenzweig, principal, Red Branch Consulting
  • Jamie Williams, Frank Stanton Legal Fellow, Electronic Frontier Foundation