Techdirt: Court Says Scraping Websites And Creating Fake Profiles Can Be Protected By The First Amendment

Techdirt: Court Says Scraping Websites And Creating Fake Profiles Can Be Protected By The First Amendment. “It’s no secret that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is a mess. Originally written by a confused and panicked Congress in the wake of the 1980s movie War Games, it was supposed to be an ‘anti-hacking’ law, but was written so broadly that it has been used over and over again against any sort of ‘things that happen on a computer.’ It has been (not so jokingly) referred to as ‘the law that sticks,’ because when someone has done something “icky” using a computer, if no other law is found to be broken, someone can almost always find some weird way to interpret the CFAA to claim it’s been violated. The two most problematic parts of the CFAA are the fact that it applies to ‘unauthorized access’ or to ‘exceeding authorized access’ on any ‘computer… which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communications.’ In 1986 that may have seemed limited. But, today, that means any computer on the internet. Which means basically any computer.”

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