Computer Fraud And Abuse Act (CFAA)

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The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1986 was created during the Reagan Administration as the first significant federal legislation designed to combat the growing threat against computer based crimes. In the 1980 's, Congress would only have the vaguest of notions how computer technology would evolve as a medium for communications and social-networking. Lawmakers, at the time, recognized the federal interest of the U.S. government was to protect computers under control of a federal entity, part of a financial institution or somehow involved in interstate or foreign commerce. The CFAA was therefore a crucial piece of legislation that protected U.S. interest in terms of national security and financial information. The act had the intended …show more content…
Lawmakers could not possibly anticipate how cyber-technology would develop. In the last three decades, it has played such a pivotal role in expanding how we communicate and share information on a global scale – a world of smart phones and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. But computers and the internet are also used for illegitimate purposes. The government must have adequate enforcement measures in place for maintaining cyber-security. Amendments to the CFAA have been added over the years to address crimes which use the computer to defraud and destroy data. Legislation has been enacted to protect victims of malicious code and denial-of-service attack (Department of Justice, n.d.). The CFAA was not intended to be a catch all statute for cyber-related crimes. “Congress addressed federalism concerns in the CFAA by limiting federal jurisdiction to Prosecuting Computer Crimes cases with a compelling federal interest—i.e., where computers of the federal government or certain financial institutions are involved or where the crime itself is interstate in nature” (Department of Justice, n.d., p.4).

Over the years, the CFAA has taken on different meanings in how it has been applied by federal prosecutors. Robert Morris and Lori Drew serve as examples in how differently the meaning, unauthorized access, is interpreted. Both Morris and Drew have entirely different storylines, Morris was a graduate student and computer scientist, Drew was suburban house mom - both used the internet to facilitate their actions which were later prosecuted (Wolff,

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