The Volokh Conspiracy

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New Draft Article, "Focusing the CFAA in Van Buren"

Forthcoming in the Supreme Court Review.


I have posted a new draft article, "Focusing the CFAA in Van Buren," forthcoming in the Supreme Court Review. It's about the Supreme Court's recent decision in Van Buren v. United States.  The article is pretty short by law review standards, 29 pages, so it's not an endless read for those interested in the topic.

Here's the abstract:

Van Buren v. United States (2021) is the United States Supreme Court's first decision interpreting the federal computer crime law known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This essay presents an overview of the decision and its significance for debates over the CFAA's meaning. It analogizes Van Buren to partially focusing a lens: The Court's opinion brings new ground into focus, letting us see a range of landmarks that were blurry before. But it leaves important details hazy, leaving their resolution to future cases that can bring the CFAA into sharper focus. It also argues that Van Buren's reasoning provides substantial support for an authentication-based understanding of CFAA liability.

This is a first draft, and comments are very much invited.  No need to offer corrections of typos and the like, as those will be fixed later, but substantive comments and critiques are very welcome.  Please send them on to orin [at] berkeley [dot] edu. Thanks!