Interesting “Unauthorized Access” Case

Readers who were interested in the Lori Drew case, and the question of when computer use counts as criminal “unauthorized access” to a computer, will want to read this New Jersey state case from last fall: State v. Riley, 12 N.J.Super. 162, 988 A.2d 1252 (2009) (link to google cache version). It’s a case on the New Jersey computer crime statute, and only by a trial court, but it’s a good example of how courts could (and in my view should) narrowly construe unauthorized access statutes. According to the opinion, the court narrowly construes the statute by relying on “the statute’s plain language, legislative history, related case law, persuasive out-of-state authority, and scholarly commentaries” — the last of which is of course rather suspect.