Sharing Your Password Is a Federal Crime?

Tech and Science News: Sharing Your Password Is a Federal Crime?

The US government ruled that password sharing is a federal crime. Will the feds be on their way to stop you from watching Game of Thrones?

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Comments (18)

  • Stop0x7D FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    This really isn't such a big deal. Sharing passwords within your household, even if it were made technically illegal, would be virtually impossible to detect or prove anyway. It's not like anyone can tell who's using the computer, and even multiple connections wouldn't prove much when many people own two, three, or more Internet-connected devices.


    Any sharing beyond that should be illegal anyway, as it amounts to giving someone access to a paid service which they didn't pay for. And even if you do get caught password-sharing, they're just going to ban you, which they don't need a law for anyway. Chances are you don't have enough money to be worth suing, and putting you in prison is a pretty major PR liability.


    I can see how this could, in theory, be an unsettling precedent, but just because something is technically possible does not mean that it's remotely likely or worth getting worked up over.

  • peter238

    1 year ago

    That's so fucking stupid, that court case is barely covered by the overreaching blanket law they instated.


    Homeowners (1st party) can give their keys/a permission to whomever they see fit (2nd party), but if the trusted individual uses that key/permission to let someone else in (a 3rd party), most homeowners in such a situation would consider that trespassing. This is no different than a password or company property, attacking people's right to share their intellectual property is the only thing the court wanted out of this case.


    As far as keeping the CFAA vague to prosecute people difficult to punish, using the ends to justify the means is possibly the most insidious form of corruption the judicial branch should protect people from.


    It would not surprise me if there's a very happy lobby that finished lining the pockets of whichever greedy asshole(s) swung their vote. I'm not questioning their honor, I'm denying its existence.

  • DamnedEyez FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Sam Hall

    1 year ago

    I'm confused...when was this ever considered as something acceptable, outside of the services stating it was?

    • Countryen FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold German Geeky Fan

      1 year ago

      Well it has been at least socially accepted for a long time. But that does not make it better. I agree to you and was also confused.

  • BlinkyBe FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold OrdanJay

    1 year ago

    Just why? Simmer down America, Simmer down.

  • Clink5219 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    what if you log in on a friends computer, then keep it signed in. you technically won't be sharing the password if they don't know it, but where would that fall under the law?

    • Tasrayryn FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      1 year ago

      I was thinking that too. It's probably just as bad given the wording of the law isn't actually about sharing passwords but having unauthorized access which, if it's not your account, would still be true.

  • PureMatty FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    'merica, land of the free

  • jmb83 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    There is a difference between sharing passwords to watch shows to sharing passwords that allow the theft of information. Learn the difference judicial branch.

    • TheBoJaN FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      1 year ago

      It can be argued that you're stealing information(in video form) from Netflix servers because you don't have Netflix's authorization to access it. Lawyers abuse broad wording all the time to win cases that should never even make it to court, that's what the US justice system is all about.

    • jmb83 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

      1 year ago

      @TheBoJaN Actually, I can semi-understand where you are coming from but it needs to be divided in severity.

      For example, not too long ago a fishing business had gone 3 over their limit and threw them overboard. An investigation and a lawyer charged them under the Sarbanes-Oxley charged them with three counts of destroying evidence. Being charged under this law would have the owner face up to 20 years in prison FOR EACH FISH. This case went all the way to the Supreme Court and was thrown out by most of the justices (8-1) with the only dissenter being an Elena Kagan. (btw, the ones that wrote this law also found its use in this case offensive.)

      The government needs to learn to base the punishment on the severity of the crime and not base on the whole 'one size fits' all thought process.

      http://www.facesoflawsuitabuse.org/2015/02/supreme... Proof what I said really happened.

  • Matsteven FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    Well, i guess i shouldn't have shared my First password, Rooster Teeth is gonna get me.

  • abynormal FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    Well if you are in a 1st order family, parents and kids, living in the same household then you probably do have authorized access to Netflix so no problem. If you give your password to some individual outside that household then that should probably be considered theft of services and the sharing of the password is illegal IMHO. At work I have a password list to the various websites that I have to access and any co-worker who would not normally access those sites may need it if I am out some day so that would be authorized access in a business sense so I don't that as an illegal sharing.

  • AceofAces007 FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

    1 year ago

    What people need to remember about this is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is just one appellate court out of many that only has jurisdiction over the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and Nevada). This court ruling only directly affects these states and no others. Other courts of appeals are completely free to ignore this ruling and say that they're batshit crazy (which they usually are). This ruling only becomes a problem if other circuits adopt the same logic in other cases in their own regions because then there is more credibility for this argument. The only court whose opinion on this matter would be truly binding would be the U.S. Supreme Court.


    And besides, there is such a thing as "prosecutorial discretion." Just because a prosecutor can technically pursue federal criminal charges against someone, it doesn't automatically mean that they will (Hilary Clinton is a recent example of that, whether you support her or not). A prosecutor may look at someone sharing Netflix passwords and rightfully not feel that it's proper to go after these people because it is different than what happened in this case. Otherwise, they would face the public scrutiny that is the undertone to this story, and they would lose all credibility as prosecutors for trying to bend this law in a way that it's really not meant to. And then when we actually get a case about someone being arrested for using someone else's Netflix or HBO Go account, then a court can unequivocally limit the 9th Circuit's ruling to distinguish between that clearly wrongful case, and this harmless use of someone else's password.


    In short, as bad as it might seem, now's not the time to hit the panic button, especially since this is just one court's opinion.

  • WesleyBurmer

    1 year ago

    So you're saying that if I use my Mom's Netflix I should be technically jailed?

    • Countryen FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold German Geeky Fan

      1 year ago

      Kinda. It's like buying a ticket for the cinema. Everyone needs a ticket. But I think Netflix (and others) have family-sharing allowed.

  • at_ob FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold AHsocks>FHsocks

    1 year ago

    This is not so much about password sharing as much as "unauthorized access" to information. And then the question here is what is "unauthorized". And it is quite interesting a question considering that one of the current us presidential candidates was facing criminal charges (was) for a similar thing where in part between 2-10 third company individuals (non government, non credentialed, non authorized <maybe?>) had access to confidential information . It's very interesting all of the different scenarios and how they are approached. Scary nonetheless . 90s Internet was the best lol.

  • TheSnowFox FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold Lone Wanderer

    1 year ago

    1. Sounds like that they should have got him for espionage not hacking.

    2. next time your girlfriend wants all your passwords tell her its against the law for you to do that. :P