We’re all guilty of doing this at one point or another. You want to watch a movie on Netflix or Hulu but you don’t want to start and pay for an account. So, you do what most people do… use someone else’s login and password to watch your favorite shows!
Well, it’s now considered a federal crime according to a ruling issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. They ruled that sharing passwords violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and of course, it won’t be tolerated.
Back in 2004, David Nosal was an employee at the recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. After he left the company, he stuck around as a contractor and was stealing information from the company using the log-in credentials of a former assistant who was still with the company. Nosal wanted to start his own company with his former company’s data. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned and got himself caught.
Nosal was indicted by the government in 2008 and his appeals came to an end on July 6 of this year. He was charged with conspiracy, theft of trade secrets, and three counts of violating the CFAA.
“The panel held that the defendant, a former employee whose computer access credentials were revoked, acted ‘without authorization’ in violation of the CFAA when he or his former employee co-conspirators used the login credentials of a current employee to gain access to computer data owned by the former employer and to circumvent the revocation of access.” ~ U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Basically, the court determined that Nosal did violate the CFAA and was indicted for it.
Everyone knows that people share passwords. HBO CEO Richard Plepler and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings came out and said they’re fine with password sharing and it’s more than likely going to happen. It doesn’t mean they want it to continue to happen but they know they have amazing products and these products are addicting and entertaining.
I’m sure the federal government has better things to do than chase you down for password sharing (maybe). After all, what kind of fan would you be if you didn’t try everything in your power to catch the next episode of Game of Thrones?