Hanni Fakhoury and Jamie Williams write:
Ugly facts often make bad law. But it’s important to not let opinions about the specific defendants that appear in court influence how the law will be applied to millions of other individuals. That’s why today, EFF filed an amicus brief urging the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a dangerous decision that would make employees criminally liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) for violating an employer’s computer use restriction.
The case, United States v. Gilberto Valle, has already received a lot of attention in the press, as it involves the so-called “cannibal cop,” a New York City police officer who was charged with conspiracy to kidnap as a result of his participation in chat rooms on fantasy role-playing fetish websites involving cannibalism. Given the unfortunate facts and sensational headlines, many people did not realize that Valle was also charged with violating the CFAA for accessing a police database to look up information about people without a valid law enforcement purpose, in violation of NYPD policy.
Read more on EFF.