In U.S.C. 1030.
He, in turn, filed a motion for dismissal, saying that law was only applicable to computer hackers – not someone who had access to company files and misused them. At first, the district court rejected this claim, saying that when someone access that information with the intent to defraud, they could be found in violation.
But had this ruling held, it would have meant essentially that the courts were turning a violation of company policy into computer crimes – a big leap from the intent of the law.
This is where the Facebook issue comes into play. If you access your Facebook account on company time – even though it’s a violation of company policy, you might rightly face some form of sanction from your employer. However, by no means should such an action be considered criminal.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that what the former employee did was right – or that it was not a crime- but not under this statute.
The chief judge in his opinion noted that computers have become an integral part of our daily lives that are used for both work and play. In some instances, he noted, computers are used for play at work. To curb abuse of this during work hours, most companies have adopted some policy that forbids using work computers for non-work purposes. But does a worker who violates this policy also break federal law? Or, what about someone who violates the service terms of a social networking site, such as Facebook? Both of these questions would depend on how broadly the court would interpret the Computer Fraud Abuse Act.
And thankfully, the court has decided not to expand the scope of the law, which would have made criminal prosecutions for these actions a real possibility.