Given the importance of digital technology, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) has become ever more important in many disputes, including trade secret cases and restrictive covenant cases. The CFAA generally prohibits the unauthorized access of a protected computer with the intent to obtain information, to further a fraud, or damage the computer or its data. The CFAA defines both a crime and a civil cause of action for damages of more than $5000. 18 U.S.C § 1030 et seq.
CFAA claims are frequently raised when employees depart or are fired, as the employee’s authority to access a company computer generally ends when the employee is no longer employed. CFAA claims can also be raised for computer hacking as well as the installation of malware and in other circumstances.