clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

This Anti-Hacking Law From the '80s Could Criminalize Online Shopping

Above: Criminal activity.
Above: Criminal activity.

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

An anti-hacking law passed way back in 1984 could put lunch-hour shopping habits in jeopardy, according to the Huffington Post. Called the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), it was intended to prosecute hackers and or those who steal customer information from company databases (good!). But because the language is so outdated (28 years ago is like 432 years in internet time), it makes a whole slew of things that most desk-bound employees consider routine available for prosecution in court (bad!).

Now, whether an employer would prosecute for something so harmless as perusing Zappos midday is questionable, but HuffPo cites an expert who says the law is a problem under the circumstance that a private, workplace dispute becomes something that people can go to jail for, which, granted, does not sound fun. That said, fashion bloggers everywhere probably needn't be too concerned.
· Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: The 1980s-Era Hacking Law Out Of Step With Today's Internet, Analysts Say [HuffPo]