Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Series

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

2016

Cornell University Law School

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

Consenting To Computer Use, James Grimmelmann Dec 2016

Consenting To Computer Use, James Grimmelmann

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) makes it a crime to “access a computer without authorization or exceed authorized access.” Courts and commentators have struggled to explain what types of conduct by a computer user are “without authorization.” But this approach is backwards; authorization is not so much a question of what a computer user does, as it is a question of what a computer owner allows.

In other words, authorization under the CFAA is an issue of consent, not conduct; to understand authorization, we need to understand consent. Building on Peter Westen’s taxonomy of consent, I ...