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Thu Jun 3, 2021, 10:07 AM

U.S. Supreme Court limits reach of federal computer fraud law [View all]

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday limited the type of conduct that can be prosecuted under a federal computer fraud law, overturning a former Georgia police officer's conviction for misusing a government database to investigate whether a purported local stripper was an undercover cop.

The justices, in a 6-3 decision authored by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, sided with former Cumming, Georgia police sergeant Nathan Van Buren in an appeal of his conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, reversing a lower court ruling that had upheld a jury verdict against him.

The justices agreed that Van Buren could not be convicted for misusing the database to perform the investigation because the information had been available to him as part of his job. Van Buren was charged after a 2015 FBI sting operation.

"This provision covers those who obtain information from particular areas in the computer - such as files, folders or databases - to which their computer access does not extend. It does not cover those who, like Van Buren, have improper motives for obtaining information that is otherwise available to them," Barrett wrote in the ruling.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/technology/us-supreme-court-limits-reach-federal-computer-fraud-law-2021-06-03/

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