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Manage My Cables

Sharing Your Netflix's And HBO Password Is Illegal?

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I don't really think they would throw you in jail for that, with all the other ACTUAL crimes that they should be dealing with.  Probably a small fine at most, but I doubt there is going to be a password sharing task force xD:P

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, Treedubz said:

I don't really think they would throw you in jail for that, with all the other ACTUAL crimes that they should be dealing with.  Probably a small fine at most, but I doubt there is going to be a password sharing task force xD:P

That's what you think. One night sitting there maliciously sharing your password then BAM out of nowhere 7 highly trained black op agents kick down your door... 

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Good thing I dont share my passwords. Tho I list my netflix password in a sticky note and place it in front of our refrigerator so i wont forget it. 😂

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Didnt the judge in this case make it explicitly clear that it wont effect private password sharing? The actual court case was about an ex-employee using company assets without authorisation using a password given by a friend.


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It is technically illegal to use someone else's password to access a service. You are not paying for the service you are accessing. Though like a lot of things this is something that while technically illegal they aren't going to go out of their way to try to punish you for it. It simply isn't worth their time.

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At least this article is a little less deceiving then the last one that was posted about this. I looked through the actual published opinion when I first heard about it, and the case has absolutely no connection to password sharing for streaming services. I gave a brief summary of the case and a link to the opinion below. Essentially the media got a hold of the dissenting judge's opinion in the case (Judge Reinhardt) and twisted it into something eye catching and scary.



What actually happened was a Federal Court published an opinion on an existing law (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) that was passed in 1986 based on the United States v. David Nosal case. Without getting into too many details (I'll link to the actual publish opinion below), David Nosal started a competitor to his previous employer. His competing company however used computer systems and software that was owned by his previous employer. Software which was considered by the company to be confidential and for use by its employees only.


In short, the court ruled that although Nosal may have had physical access to the computer systems/software because of his previous employment, but he was not authorized to use such computer systems/software because he was not a current employee. Therefore he violated Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.


The opinion's author, M. Margaret McKeown, even states in the document herself (quote from the published opinion):


Nosal and various amici spin hypotheticals about the dire consequences of criminalizing password sharing. But these warnings miss the mark in this case. This appeal is not about password sharing. Nor is it about violating a company’s internal computer-use policies. The conduct at issue is that of Nosal and his co-conspirators, which is covered by the plain language of the statute. Nosal is charged with conspiring with former Korn/Ferry employees whose user accounts had been terminated, but who nonetheless accessed trade secrets in a proprietary database through the back door when the front door had been firmly closed. Nosal knowingly and with intent to defraud Korn/Ferry blatantly circumvented the affirmative revocation of his computer system access. This access falls squarely within the CFAA’s prohibition on access “without authorization,” and thus we affirm Nosal’s conviction for violations of § 1030(a)(4) of the CFAA.


The article linked in the original post just took dissenting Judge Reinhardt's opinion in the case and twisted it into something to scare the public. Link below is the actual opinion published by the court.




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