On June 3, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion in Van Buren v. United States, No. 19-783, resolving the circuit split regarding what it means to “exceed authorization” for purposes of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the “CFAA”). The Court held that only those who obtain information from particular areas of the computer which they are not authorized to access can be said to “exceed authorization,” and the statute does not—as the government had argued—cover behavior, like Van Buren’s, where a person accesses information which he is authorized to access but does so for improper purposes.
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DataSecurityLaw.com is the firm’s resource for the latest news, analysis, and thought leadership in the critical area of privacy and cybersecurity law. Patterson Belknap’s Privacy and Data Security practice provides public and private enterprises, their leadership teams and boards with comprehensive services in this critical area. Our team of experienced litigators, corporate advisors and former federal and state prosecutors advises on a broad range of privacy and data protection matters including cyber preparedness and compliance, data breach response, special board and committee representation, internal investigations, and litigation.
Well before the California Attorney General’s power to enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) commenced on July 1, 2020, as we have recently reported, private plaintiffs had already jumped into the fray, suing companies like Zoom and Houseparty for alleged violations of the CCPA. We noted that if one of these private lawsuits were to survive a motion to dismiss, it could lead to a substantial increase in class action litigation under the CCPA. Another putative class action under the CCPA that was filed on June 11, 2020 against Minted, Inc.—the popular online stationery, art, and home décor company—joins the growing list of private CCPA lawsuits and adds another wrinkle to this new area of law.
In recent years, cyber-attacks have continued to increase in number and scope, with businesses facing ever-growing threats from ransomware, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and phishing schemes. Ransomware attacks alone saw a 41 percent increase in 2019 from 2018, with more than 200,000 organizations and city governments suffering attacks. Today, all eyes are on the spread of COVID-19, both in the U.S. and globally. Unfortunately, as the world focuses on public health and economic uncertainty, cyber criminals see opportunities for exploitation.