Sixth Circuit: Unknown Access of a Remote Server Cannot Be Intentional, Thus Does Not Violate CFAA

©2011 Braydon Fuller
©2011 Braydon Fuller

Does a person violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by accessing a remote computer without authorization if he is not aware that he is even accessing that remote computer?

The Sixth Circuit says no. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits the intentional access of a computer without authorization. When a defendant is not aware that he is accessing a computer remotely, he cannot be said to be accessing it intentionally. Thus, he cannot be violating the CFAA. 

This was the issue addressed by the Sixth Circuit in Dice Corporation v. Bold Technologies, 12-2513, 13-1712 (6th Cir. Jan. 24, 2014). You can read a complete analysis of the case on the CFAAdigest.

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