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In 1986, in recognition of the economic importance of protecting computers from unauthorized access, Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The CFAA imposes criminal liability on outsiders who access computers to steal information or to disrupt or destroy computer functionality. In 1994, the CFAA was amended to give computer owners the right to bring a civil action, which requires proof that a company has policies and practices that restrict access.

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