On June 3, 2021 the Supreme Court decided Van Buren v. United States. The issue was whether a person who is authorized to access information on a computer for certain purposes violates Section 1030(a)(2) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if he accesses the same information for an improper purpose.
In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Barrett, the Court reversed the ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and remanded the case. The Supreme Court held, “An individual ‘exceeds authorized access’ under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2), when he accesses a computer with authorization but then obtains information located in particular areas of the computer — such as files, folders or databases — that are off-limits to him..”
Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito joined.
Orin Kerr, Professor of Law at UC Berkeley Law, joins us today to discuss this decision and its implications.