The TL: DR version of the story is that a former employee of a big consulting firm used a former co-worker’s password to access the company’s network to access a bunch of important information. They then used that information for their current employer (who is a competitor) and took advantage of it resulting in millions in damages. In the end, the person was found guilty of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). And with that came the conclusion that sharing your password for anything is a crime in which you can be prosecuted.
Now before you begin throwing a fit and exclaiming that the government is out to get everyone, there’s a couple of things you need to know. The most important thing is that you will, most likely, not be prosecuted for sharing your Netflix password. While a majority of the judges may have found the defendant above guilty of a crime, the same judges also understood that millions of people share their passwords because of services like Netflix or HBOGo. It makes them “unwitting federal criminals.”
Another point to consider is the intent in the situation. If your intent is to exploit and defraud a company like Netflix, then maybe you’re a criminal. But if you’re just trying to help a roommate out or give your parents something else to watch on a Sunday night, then you can go to bed and sleep easily knowing you’re going to be okay. On a final note, think of this like Jaywalking. It’s completely illegal and you can get a ticket for it. But is it enforced? No because there are more important things to worry about.
Oh and to the person who actually pays for their Netflix account. Thanks.
Category: Nerd Culture