Reining in the Rogue Employee: The Fourth Circuit Limits Employee Liability Under the CFAA
23 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 27, 2013
The Fourth Circuit’s opinion in WEC Carolina Energy LLC v. Miller reflects a growing trend among the courts to adopt a narrow code approach to employee liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The case exacerbates the existing circuit split and reinforces the need for reconciling when an employee accesses a computer “without authorization.” While resolution from the judiciary remains remote, Congress is engaged in a lively debate over the proper interpretation of the term “without authorization.” Recent legislative proposals suggest that Congress has united in support of limiting liability for unauthorized access under the CFAA to the circumvention of technological barriers. Support for this restrictive interpretation signifies that until the ambiguity in the law is clarified, future undecided courts should follow in the Fourth Circuit’s footsteps and adopt the code approach to determine employee liability under the CFAA.
Keywords: WEC Energy, circuit split, computer fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, cybersecurity, fourth circuit, Aaron's Law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation