Nick Akerman

Prior to private practice Nick served as a federal prosecutor. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a wide array of white collar criminal matters, including bank frauds, bankruptcy frauds, stock frauds, complex financial frauds, environmental and tax crimes. Nick was also an Assistant Special Watergate Prosecutor with the Watergate Special Prosecution Force under Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski.Nick has over 30 years of experience in helping clients respond to government investigations and prosecutions and assisting corporate clients prevent and respond to internal thefts and outside hackers. He is a nationally recognized expert on computer crime and the protection of competitively sensitive information and computer data. Nick regularly obtains injunctions for his clients under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in various federal courts around the country requiring computer thieves to return stolen computer data and prohibiting the dissemination of the data to competitors. He also guides clients in developing systems, policies and protocols to protect computer data.Nick speaks and writes regularly on protecting computer data, including in his regular computer data column for the National Law Journal. He has been a featured quoted expert on computer fraud and computer security issues in the New York Times, USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, the Boston Globe, the St. Louis Dispatch, the Sacramento Bee, Forbes, ComputerWorld, CFO Magazine, CNET, CNET Japan, ZDNet, MSN, Internet Week and the Weekly Homeland Security Newsletter. His blog can be found at http://computerfraud.us.

‘Cannibal Cop’ Decision Restrains Employers

In December, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in U.S. v. Valle interpreted the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to exclude employees who access their employer’s computers. The upshot is that if you are an employee in the Second Circuit and steal data from your employer to commit identity theft or to provide it to a competitor, you cannot be prosecuted by the Department of Justice or sued by your employer under the CFAA.

Cross-Atlantic data flows following Schrems

By:  Ron Moscona, Partner Dorsey & Whitney On 6 November 2015, The EU Commission published a communication addressed to the European Parliament and the EU Council, in an attempt to reduce current legal uncertainties surrounding the transfer of personal data from European Union countries to the U.S. The communication follows on the decision of the… Read More

Time Is Precious with Computer-Hacking Claims

A recent ruling shows that plaintiffs must act fast when using a federal criminal statute for a civil suit.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in August addressed the proper application of the statute of limitations to a civil action—in the context of allegations of malicious statements made on the Internet over a broken romance and sexual misconduct—brought under the federal computer crime statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The case was Sewell v. Bernardin.

The ‘Safe Harbor’ Scheme Coming Under Challenge

By: Ron Moscona, a partner in Dorsey & Whitney’s London Office The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) held yesterday, in its decision in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner[1], that the decision of the European Commission of July 2000 which provides the legal basis under EU law for the “Safe Harbor” scheme is… Read More

How To Make Computer Fraud Claims Stick

The recent decision in Allied Portables v. Youmans from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida underscores the need for businesses to establish explicit, well-advertised written policies identifying the scope of permissible employee access to company computers. Absent such policies, employers may be precluded from using the civil remedy in the federal computer crime statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, to sue employees who steal or destroy data from a company computers.

Allied properly recognized that for a CFAA claim to succeed, the plaintiff employer must be able to show the critical element that the defendant employee accessed a company computer by exceeding the authorized access to the computer.

Guidance for Incident Response Plans  

Author: Melissa Krasnow Organizations are preparing for data incidents and breaches by developing, updating, implementing, and testing incident response plans. This article provides a checklist of key components of an incident response plan. Following are items from state and federal sources of guidance: “Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents”(April 2015) issued… Read More

Washington State Significantly Expands Data Breach Notification Requirements

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation making Washington among the five US states with the most rigorous data breach notification laws enacted to date. Washington joins Florida, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin in imposing strict and specific obligations on any business that has suffered a data breach. The new law is effective July 24, 2015.

GUEST BLOG: Phishing Scam, BYOD and Other Cybersecurity Tips

Guest Blogger Peter S. Vogel is a trial partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP where he is Chair of the eDiscovery Group and the Internet, eCommerce, & Technology Team, and before practicing law he worked as a systems programmer, received a Masters in Computer Science, and taught graduate courses in information systems.   In addition to… Read More

New Tools for Companies Against Cybercrime

On January 2015, the Obama administration announced a series of proposals to strength­en the country’s response to cyberattacks­ including, most notably, specific amendments to the federal computer crime statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). These changes are not only significant to the cyber­ crime-fighting efforts of federal prosecutors, but also to private companies. This is because the CFAA allows compa­nies victimized by violations of the statute to bring civil actions against the perpetrators. 18 U.S.C. 1030(g). The CFAA, among other things, makes it a crime when an individual “accesses” a computer “without authorization or exceeds authorized access” to steal data.

To Catch an E-Thief — Under Federal Property Law

The fundamental shift for busi­nesses in the past 15 years from paper documents to computer data has forced the courts to decide whether intan­gible electronic data should enjoy the same legal protections as physical property.

Because of this shift, it is important to review the judicial response to the electronic-data issue in the context of a feder­al criminal statute, the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA), and common law conversion.

The NSPA makes it a felony for one who “transports, transmits, or transfers in interstate or foreign commerce any goods, wares, mer­chandise … of the value of $5,000 or more, knowing the same to have been stolen, converted or taken by fraud.” Conversion is the state civil cause of action for the theft of property.

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