Social Media

Social Media
Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites are becoming the next wave of Internet use.  Many legal issues can arise from these sites that will end up creating new law or applying existing law to those sites.

One of the most common questions people ask is whether it is illegal for someone to login or hack into their accounts.

Hacking is the deliberate and unauthorized access, use, disclosure, and/or taking of electronic data on a computer and is covered under federal and varied state criminal statutes. The computer crime of hacking is committed when a person willfully, knowingly, and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he or she has such authorization, attempts or achieves access, communication, examination, or modification of data, computer programs, or supporting documentation residing or existing internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network. Hacking may also occur when a person willfully, knowingly, and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he or she has such authorization, destroys data, computer programs, or supporting documentation residing or existing internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network. Besides the destruction of such data, hacking may also be defined to include the disclosure, use or taking of the data. commits an offense against intellectual property.

There is a common-law tort of invasion of privacy, which may be pursued when a person obtains information in a way considered “highly offensive to a reasonable person.” This common-law tort may exist even if the action is not prohibited by the state computer crimes statutes.

RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF TORTS, §652B (1977) provides:

“One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another, or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for the invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.”

If interstate commerce is involved, federal laws in the. the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), may apply.

The most common civil causes of action under the CFAA are brought under either:

1. 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(C), which requires a showing that a person
(1) “intentionally,”
(2) accessed a computer,
(3) “without authorization” or “exceeded authorized access,”
(4) and obtained information from any “protected computer,”3
(5) if the conduct involved an interstate or foreign communication;
2. 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4) which requires a showing that a person has
(1) “knowingly and with intent to defraud,”
(2) accessed a “protected computer,”
(3) “without authorization,” and thus
(4) has furthered the intended fraudulent conduct and obtained “anything of value”; or
3. 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(5) which requires a showing that a person
(1) “knowingly,”
(2) caused transmission of a program, information, code or command and,
(3) as a result, “intentionally”
(4) caused damage,
(5) “without authorization,”
(6) to a “protected computer,” or
(7) “intentionally,”
(8) accessed a “protected computer,”
(9) “without authorization,” and
(10) caused damage” and “loss” aggregating at least $5,000.00.


Inside Social Media