Two new developments this past year have made it easier for employers to sue employees in federal court for stealing data from company computers. The most recent is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s July decision in U.S. v. Nosal interpreting what it means to access a company computer “without authorization” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal computer criminal statute. 18 U.S.C. 1030. The other development is the May amendment to the Economic Espionage Act (EEA), the federal criminal trade secrets act, permitting companies to file a federal civil action against individuals who steal the company’s competitively sensitive data. 18 U.S.C. 1831, et. seq.
A recent ruling shows that plaintiffs must act fast when using a federal criminal statute for a civil suit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in August addressed the proper application of the statute of limitations to a civil action—in the context of allegations of malicious statements made on the Internet over a broken romance and sexual misconduct—brought under the federal computer crime statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The case was Sewell v. Bernardin.
In Liberty Media Holdings, LLC. v. Does 1-59, 2011 WL 292128 *3 (S.D.Cal. Jan. 25, 2011) unknown individuals hacked into Liberty Media Holdings’ web servers and obtained “certain motion pictures” that it “reproduced and distributed . . . onto their local hard drives and other storage devices.” Not knowing the identity of these hackers Liberty… Read More
A federal court in San Jose California last week permitted SolarBridge Technologies, Inc. (“SolarBridge”) to serve subpoenas on Yahoo, Google and various Internet Service Providers to identify the sender of an email containing SolarBridge’s confidential and trade secret protected data including schematics and other product designs of current and future products. SolarBridge Technologies, Inc. v…. Read More
The question was answered this week by a federal district court in Connecticut in the case of GWA, LLC v. Cox Communications, Inc. and John Doe, 2010 WL 1957864 (D.Conn. May 17, 2010). When the company computer is hacked, the only evidence that is usually available on the hacked computer to identify the hacker is… Read More