A federal appeals court says employees are not liable for damages under anti-hacking laws for accessing their employers’ computers for disloyal purposes.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that workers authorized to access company computers do not lose or exceed that access under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) even if their intent was to acquire data to open a competing business (.pdf). CFAA is the "root" law that criminalizes an attack on any computer connected to the internet.
There is no language in the 1984 anti-hacking statute, the San Francisco-based appeals court said Wednesday, supporting the “argument that authorization to use a computer ceases when an employee resolves to use the computer contrary to the employer’s interests.”