Cybersecurity of the Person

24 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2018 Last revised: 23 Apr 2019

See all articles by Jeff Kosseff

Jeff Kosseff

United States Naval Academy, Cyber Science Department

Date Written: October 31, 2018


U.S. cybersecurity law is largely an outgrowth of the early-aughts concerns over identity theft and financial fraud. Cybersecurity laws focus on protecting identifiers such as driver’s licenses and social security numbers, and financial data such as credit card numbers. Federal and state laws require companies to protect this data and notify individuals when it is breached, and impose civil and criminal liability on hackers who steal or damage this data. In this paper, I argue that our current cybersecurity laws are too narrowly focused on financial harms. While such concerns remain valid, they are only one part of the cybersecurity challenge that our nation faces. Too often overlooked by the cybersecurity profession are the harms to individuals, such as revenge pornography and online harassment. Our legal system typically addresses these harms through retrospective criminal prosecution and civil litigation, both of which face significant limits. Accounting for such harms in our conception of cybersecurity will help to better align our laws with these threats and reduce the likelihood of the harms occurring.

Keywords: cybersecurity, privacy, cyberbullying, First Amendment, sextortion, revenge pornography

Suggested Citation

Kosseff, Jeff, Cybersecurity of the Person (October 31, 2018). First Amendment Law Review, 2019, Available at SSRN:

Jeff Kosseff (Contact Author)

United States Naval Academy, Cyber Science Department ( email )

121 Blake Road
Annapolis, MD 21402
United States


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