Computer Crime Laws - Tor Ekeland, Attorney

Presented at AppSec USA 2013, Nov. 20, 2013, 11 a.m. (50 minutes)

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: An Overview

The notorious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the most litigated

federal computer misuse statute in existence. This presentation will cover the

basics of the CFAA, starting with its origins, how Congress intended it to be used,

and how the Department of Justice currently uses it today.

After a brief discussion of the legislative origins of the CFAA in the Orwellian

year of 1984, the presentation will sketch the main statutory components of the law,

focusing specifically on the provisions that prohibit unauthorized access to obtain

information and those that prohibit damage to a computer. Because the CFAA fails

to define what it primarily seeks to prohibit - unauthorized access to a protected

computer - the presentation will then cover the myriad of different interpretations

of unauthorized access.

Finally, the presentation will cover more recent CFAA cases invoking these

different concepts that Tor has worked on as either lead or co-counsel, including

United States v. Auernheimer, (aka weev's case) which is currently on appeal in front

of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. If there is time Tor will take questions.


  • Tor Ekeland - Attorney - Tor Ekeland, P.C.
    Tor was lead trial counsel for Andrew Auernheimer ("Weev") in his prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA") for downloading roughly 120,000 iPad subscriber email addresses from AT&T's publicly accessible server. He is currently lead counsel in Mr. Auernheimer's appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, working alongside Mark H. Jaffe, Orin Kerr, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Nace Naumoski in what is one of the most important CFAA cases of recent years. Tor is also trial co-counsel, along with Jay Leiderman, for indicted former Reuters Social Media Editor Matthew Keys in his prosecution for CFAA violations. Before starting the Firm in December 2011, Tor spent five years as an associate in Sidley Austin LLP's New York Litigation Practice Group. At Sidley, Tor's practice included complex commercial, securities, criminal and appellate litigation, as well as international, federal and state governmental investigations.


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