US Supreme Court. (Wikipedia) Photograph:( Others )
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday sidestepped a growing controversy over who can give permission to access a computer, a debate that goes to the core of what constitutes hacking in this era of widespread use of the internet and social media.
The justices turned away two cases over whether it is a violation of federal anti-hacking law for account holders to give a third party access to a computer system they do not own themselves. In doing so, they left in place a lower court ruling that went against a Cayman Islands company in a dispute with Facebook, and another against a California-based executive recruiter.
The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled in both cases that only computer system owners may grant authorization, and not account holders or employees with legitimate access credentials.