Break Into A Home, Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

How’s that for a crazy sounding question? Could breaking into a home violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

I know you’re wondering just how I come up with these crazy things, right? From the news, of course! I read a really interesting article by David Goldman on CNNMoney entitled Your Jetsons Home is Almost Here in which the premise is that, based on the advanced state of technology, companies at Mobile World Congress “are showing off how everything in your home — from your door locks to your thermostat to your TV — can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet.” This is so because “the hardware, software, and cloud-based infrastructure necessary to make it a reality is finally inexpensive enough for companies to bring full-home connectivity to the mainstream market.”

Now, presumably, to make the home truly “wired” in this manner, that hardware and software would have to be integrated into the home and the home would likely be be connected to the Internet for it to all work. Let’s review a little about what makes a computer a “computer” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act:

  • The CFAA applies to anything with a microchip or data processor that is connected to the internet. See Can Stealing a Car Violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?
  • If a home were to have a microchip or data processor integrated into it, and if such device were connected to the Internet, then that home would be a covered “computer” and the CFAA would apply if were broken into.

Now, that only covers the first part of a CFAA violation and there would be other questions remaining as to whether the intrusion amounted to a full violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act but, theoretically, I’d say it would be a pretty good argument! How about you, what do you think?

Also, what do you think about my other two crazy ideas — would hacking a “human” violate the CFAA and would stealing a “car” violate the CFAA?

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