Sunday July 10, 2016

Sharing Your Netflix Password Is Now A Federal Crime

Giving out your password is now a crime prosecutable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The decision, made by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, makes anyone who shares passwords for services like Netflix and HBOGo into "unwitting federal criminals."

Nosal’s conviction under CFAA hinged on a clause that criminalizes anyone who "knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization". Though CFAA is often understood to be an anti-hacking law, that clause in particular has been applied to many cases that fall far short of actual systems tampering. CFAA has, for instance, been used to prosecute violation of Terms of Service agreements (which are themselves a contested practice).