How To Make Computer Fraud Claims Stick

The recent decision in Allied Portables v. Youmans from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida underscores the need for businesses to establish explicit, well-advertised written policies identifying the scope of permissible employee access to company computers. Absent such policies, employers may be precluded from using the civil remedy in the federal computer crime statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, to sue employees who steal or destroy data from a company computers.

Allied properly recognized that for a CFAA claim to succeed, the plaintiff employer must be able to show the critical element that the defendant employee accessed a company computer by exceeding the authorized access to the computer.