Texas based Lookout Services has accused a Minnesota Public Radio reporter with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The reporter was doing a story about how Lookout had exposed the private data of a number of Minnesota consumers. Apparently doing your job as a reporter carries with it the risk of being a “hacker.”
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has both civil and criminal provisions and prohibits the “unauthorized access” of a computer. The phrase “unauthorized access” is pretty vague and has allowed prosecutions to go forward for such things as creating a phony Facebook account as Lori Drew had done to harass her daughter’s classmate. But unlike the Drew case, there is the new twist of a reporter doing the unauthorized accessing. So, which should be more important: a company’s right to be secure in its data, or a journalist’s right to discover and report? If the reports are true, perhaps a company should be expected to take reasonable security precautions before having CFAA remedies available.
See more at the MinnPost article.