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- September 30, 2016
The SCOTUS recently addressed several issues that will impact blood alcohol testing in Pennsylvania Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016)
- September 16, 2016
Third Circuit Rules Senator’s Acts Not Protected
- August 18, 2016
Third Circuit Says Government Can’t Infringe upon the Right of Allocution (U.S. v. Jason Moreno)
- July 21, 2016
A defendant who is convicted for committing federal sexual exploitation and child pornography crimes and who pays criminal restitution to the victim can be sued in a civil action by the victim for damages for the same offense (under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2225)
- June 14, 2016
Arizona’s Highest Court Resolves Questions regarding DUI Convictions of Medical Marijuana Users (Dobson v. McClennen, 238 Ariz. 389 (2015))
Employee Who Used Work Computers to Steal Trade Secrets Secures Dismissal of Charges
In United States v. Nosal, No. 10-10038, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 7151, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that theft of trade secrets by an employee using his work computer did not qualify as a federal crime under the statute used to charge him. The Court upheld the ruling of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which dismissed five counts of an indictment against defendant for failure to state an offense pursuant to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C.S. § 1030.
Defendant David Nosal used to work for Korn/Ferry, an executive search firm. Shortly after he left the company, he convinced some of his former colleagues who were still working for Korn/Ferry to help him start a competing business. The employees used their log-in credentials to download source lists, names and contact information from a confidential database on the company’s computer, and then transferred that information to Nosal. The employees were authorized to access the database, but Korn/Ferry had a policy that forbade disclosing confidential information. The government indicted Nosal on twenty counts, including trade secret theft, mail fraud, conspiracy and violations of the CFAA. The CFAA counts charged Nosal with violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(4), for aiding and abetting the Korn/Ferry employees in “exceed[ing their] authorized access” with intent to defraud. Nosal filed a motion to dismiss the CFAA counts, arguing that the statute targets only hackers, not individuals who access a computer with authorization but then misuse information they obtain by means of such access.
The district court granted the defense motion to dismiss these charges, and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld that ruling. Chief Judge Alex Kosinski noted that the phrase “exceeds authorized access” in the CFAA does not extend to violation of use restrictions. The Court further held that the CFAA was a statute meant to punish hacking – the circumvention of technological access barriers – not misappropriation of trade secrets. Finally, the Court stated that if there was any doubt about whether Congress intended the CFAA to prohibit the conduct in which defendant engaged, then the court had to choose the interpretation least likely to impose penalties unintended by Congress.
Those accused of crimes are entitled to the protections of the Constitution of the United States. An experienced criminal defense attorney ensures a defendant’s rights are protected. If you have been charged with, or convicted of an offense, you still have rights which the Law Offices of Marc Neff can protect. For a confidential consultation, please contact our office at 215-563-9800 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in: Federal White Collar Crime