Comment

Protecting Deceptive Academic Research Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Protecting Deceptive Academic Research Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Brian Z. Mund

*

This Comment addresses the CFAA’s potentially stifling effects on important academic research and explores academics’ violations of a website’s access conditions through deceptive consent. Scant scholarship has explored academic deception in the online context, and no previous work has considered academic freedom arguments within light of the CFAA. After identifying the “line” where violations of website terms of agreement likely transgress the CFAA, this Comment argues that researchers should receive greater latitude under the CFAA to obtain deceptive consent for website access. The Comment analogizes the interests in academic investigation to those in law enforcement operations and further contends that public university researchers, like government law enforcement agents, should be able to obtain valid consent through misrepresentation in limited circumstances. The Comment concludes that, under limited conditions, academic researchers may achieve valid consent through behavior that might otherwise amount to willful code‐based violations of a website’s terms of service.
 
 
* Yale Law School, J.D. 2018; University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 2013. I am grateful to Professor Frederick Lawrence for his feedback on early drafts of this Comment. Many thanks to Jacob van Leer, Stephanie Garlock, and Simon Zhen at the Yale Law & Policy Review for their insightful comments and careful editing. All errors are mine alone.
Cite this article:

Brian Z. Mund

, Comment, 

Protecting Deceptive Academic Research Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

, 37 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 385 (2018).