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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act addresses computer hacking and federal computer-related crimes. It concerns cases involving computers belonging to the federal government or specific financial institutions, when the crime is interstate, or computers used in interstate or foreign commerce.
The law punishes those who commit, attempt to commit, or conspire to commit crimes.
As defined by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, “protected computers” include those:
- "exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the United States Government, or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, used by or for a financial institution or the United States Government and the conduct constituting the offense affects that use by or for the financial institution or the Government; or
- which is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States;"
The USA PATRIOT Act increased the scope and penalties of the CFAA.
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