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Sharing passwords may now have legal consequences

by | Sep 15, 2017 | White Collar Crimes |

Complying with each and every regulation and law that pertains to corporate business is a daunting task. In fact, one new ruling is creating quite a bit controversy within certain business circles because of the implications it has for many end users who use password-protected services. Unfortunately, the laws that govern this particular area are still based on laws meant to protect entirely different systems and do not fully account for how the market has changed in the last couple of decades.

The case revolves around an individual who faces charges over allegedly improperly accessing password-protected data that belongs to a former employer. However, the ruling handed down by a Ninth Circuit judge has wide-ranging implications for many employees and even consumers. The ruling makes it simpler for an employer to pursue charges against an employee who access proprietary data through a password-protected system. However, it also creates a legal grey area for consumers who enjoy password-protected services, such as Netflix or Amazon.

In fact, some of these providers note that this ruling could expand to mean that a user who violates terms of service for one of these services could potentially face criminal charges. It is doubtful that the author’s of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, on which the ruling is based, envisioned the law as the basis for prosecuting those who share their Netflix password. It is worth noting that Netflix itself claims that a customer has the right to do whatever they want with their password as long as they do not sell it.

If you find yourself facing complex white collar charges, you have a duty to fight them. Not only must you protect yourself and your future, but you also have an opportunity to fight for the fair treatment of others who may not even know their rights are endangered. An experienced attorney can guide you as you build a strong defense and fight unfair interpretations of the law.