Supreme Court Could Soon Limit Employees’ Computer Access At Work

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Van Buren v. United States, a criminal case about a federal antihacking law that could have far-reaching implications for workers’ rights.

The case centers around Nathan Van Buren, a former Georgia police sergeant who was convicted of felony computer fraud in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Van Buren was accused of extracting a $6,000 payment to run a license plate search to find out whether a strip club dancer was actually an undercover officer.

An Atlanta federal judge ruled in October 2017 that Van Buren violated the CFAA when he accessed the Georgia Crime Information Center for an improper purpose. Two years later, the Eleventh Circuit Court

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Foreign-student work permit OPT upheld in court

A federal judge has ruled that a controversial work-permit program for foreign students will survive a challenge from a union representing U.S. technology workers that wanted it killed.

A who’s who of Bay Area tech giants including Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber, Tesla, HP, Oracle and Salesforce had joined the fight, seeking to protect the Optional Practical Training program — which is often used as a path to an H-1B visa. In a court filing last year, they argued that the program, which gives foreign students and graduates up to three years to live and work in the U.S., expands job opportunities for American workers by spurring economic activity.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2014. It claimed the agency used the OPT program to get around the numerical cap on H-1B visas, which are intended for jobs requiring specialized skills, and that

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US Supreme Court hears Van Buren appeal arguments in light of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ambiguity


Adam Bannister

30 November 2020 at 16:53 UTC

Updated: 30 November 2020 at 17:46 UTC

Ruling over interpretation of ageing law could have a chilling or liberating effect on security research

US Supreme Court hears Van Buren appeal arguments in light of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ambiguity

The US Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments regarding a case that could have seismic ramifications for the future of security research.

From today (November 30), the country’s highest court is considering an appeal launched by police officer Nathan Van Buren over his 2017 conviction on charges including violation of The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Passed in 1986 in an era far removed from today’s hyper-connected world, the federal act is used by law enforcement to convict cybercriminals, fraudsters, and white-collar crooks, and in civil actions by businesses seeking remedies for the theft of trade secrets.

Van Buren, a former Georgia state police officer, was arrested after being induced by undercover FBI agents into running a

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Novato to consider Landing Court townhome development

The Novato City Council will consider a housing project next month that would convert an RV, boat and trailer storage lot into a new townhome development.

The Laguna Beach-based developer, Pacific Planning Group, and the property owner, KDB Properties, LLC, are proposing to construct seven three-story buildings with 32 for-sale housing units on the 2-acre lot on Landing Court.

The City Council is set to discuss the project at its Dec. 8 meeting.

Earlier this month, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended the council approve the project. Commissioners cited the developers’ work over nearly four years of public review and various revisions made in response to neighbor concerns.

“I appreciate the concerns from the neighbors, absolutely,” Commissioner Curtis Havel said at the commission’s Nov. 9 discussion. “I’ve read through those letters. but it also sounds like the project applicant has really bent over backward to try to accommodate as many of

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What To Watch As High Court Takes On Computer Crime Law

Law360 (November 25, 2020, 7:12 PM EST) — A computer crime law whose scope has been hotly debated since it was passed in 1984 will have its moment in the limelight Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether a Georgia police officer violated the law by abusing his access to an online government database.

The high court’s ruling in Van Buren v. United States is expected to resolve a circuit split over what it means for someone to “exceed authorized access” to a system under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The decision will have an immediate impact on how both prosecutors and businesses apply the statute — which allows…

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Low Computer Unemployment Rate Could Affect H-1B Visa Court Cases

The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate in computer occupations is back where it was before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. An earlier court ruling found the Trump administration’s arguments lacking when it cited unemployment data to justify new restrictions on H-1B visas. The latest statistics will make it more difficult for the administration to justify emergency regulations published in October on H-1B visas. This follows a judge’s order issued this week to ensure Trump administration compliance with a preliminary injunction granted last month to business groups on employment visas.

“In a return to pre-pandemic levels, the unemployment rate for individuals in computer

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Racist Texts and Social Media Posts From Suspects in Ahmaud Arbery Killing Read at Court Hearing

At the bond hearing on Thursday for the father and son who were filmed killing Ahmaud Arbery, the judge was presented with racist texts and social media messages from the two men. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was unarmed, was pursued and fatally shot by Travis and Gregory McMichael on Feb. 23, while William Bryan followed and filmed Arbery’s death. 

On Thursday, Chatham County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley heard testimony from people familiar with the McMichaels, while prosecutors presented evidence of previous instances of racism the two had engaged in.

Among the testimonies from friends of the McMichael family were one from Zachary Langford, who said Travis had “at least” one Black friend when they attended school together. The Associated Press reports that Langford was also asked about a text message he received from Travis last year, in which he made reference to “shooting a crackhead c**n with

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EU Commission Seeks Feedback on New Data Transfer Tools After Court Ruling | Technology News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Friday sought feedback on two new data transfer tools after Europe’s top court in July set strict conditions for such mechanisms used by thousands of companies to transfer Europeans’ data around the world for various services.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice upheld the validity of the data transfer mechanism known as standard contractual clauses (SCCs) in a case involving Facebook and Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who has campaigned about the risk of U.S. intelligence agencies accessing data on Europeans.

But judges said privacy watchdogs must suspend or prohibit transfers outside the EU if other countries cannot assure that the data will be protected.

The EU executive has since then scrambled to find a solution as companies grapple with the implications and cost of the court judgment. SCCs are used for services ranging from cloud infrastructure, data hosting, payroll and finance to

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US Commerce Department accepts court order to block Trump’s TikTok ban

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Image: TikTok

The US Commerce Department has said it will not enforce an executive order that would have effectively forced TikTok to shut down in order to comply with a Pennsylvanian federal court decision.

“The Secretary’s prohibition of identified transactions pursuant to Executive Order 13942, related to TikTok, has been enjoined, and will not go into effect, pending further legal developments,” the department said.

The executive order in question, issued by outgoing President Donald Trump in August, stated that TikTok would be banned unless it was divested to a US company by November 12. This has not yet been finalised, however.

The presiding judge, Wendy Beetlestone, granted the block against Trump’s executive order as there was a clear likelihood that irreparable harm could be made to the plaintiffs’ ability to engage large audiences on the TikTok platform. The lawsuit was filed by three TikTok “influencers”: Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and

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TikTok asks court to intervene as Trump order looms

The popular video-sharing app TikTok, its future in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to shut it down earlier this fall, is asking a federal court to intervene

TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, has until Thursday to sell off its U.S. operations under an executive order that Trump signed in August.

Trump in September gave his tentative blessing to a ByteDance proposal meant to resolve U.S. national security concerns by placing TikTok under the oversight of American companies Oracle and Walmart, each of which would also have a financial stake in the company. But TikTok said this week it’s

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