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Tyler Newby on President Obama’s Proposals to Toughen Cyber-Hacking Laws

January 21, 2015

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Fenwick & West privacy co-chair Tyler Newby​ was quoted in a Law360 article about The White House's proposals to increase prison sentences for hackers and to “upgrade” current cyber-hacking infractions from misdemeanor to felony status.

Under the proposals, the definition of what constitutes unauthorized access would exclude instances in which individuals allege​dly mistakenly exceed their authorized access, but would continue to permit prosecution of willfully performed acts, including the sharing of passwords that are alleged to violate the terms of an access agreement.

“The administration’s proposed amendments would likely enhance the ability of companies to bring civil enforcement actions against employees who access confidential information on their employers’ networks before going to work for competitors, or who engaged in scraping data from their websites in violation of a written terms of service,” Newby said. “What an accesser 'knows' is highly subjective and fact intensive, and would give companies an easy tool to bring lawsuits against data scrapers and employees who have gone to work for competitors.”​​​​