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A leading case illustrating the problems with the “in-flight” ECPA approach is , still-pending federal litigation over RAT spying conducted by rent-to-own computer stores franchised by Aaron’s, Inc.

At issue are privacy harms suffered by Colorado residents Crystal and Brian Byrd at the hands of a RAT called PC Rental Agent.

In this arena, multiple aspects of the legal system are implicated, the CFAA among them.

With law enforcement and intelligence agency hacking on the rise, another section of the CFAA takes on greater importance for victims of ratting.

Though the CFAA is foremost a criminal statute, meaning that prosecutors would have the power to decide when it is used, 1030(g) allows a private party to sue in a civil rather than a criminal proceeding, one that might conceivably offer refuge to victims of ratters.

But civil suits aren’t a straightforward course of action for victims either.

On a constitutional and procedural level, we should require that law enforcement hacking include automatic transparency, ban government webcam hacking, and be exacting in applying the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements.

Recent reports confirm hundreds of thousands of computers infected in 2014 by only a single type of RAT, with the actual number of infections across years and technology far, far higher.An Aspen Way employee came into the Byrd’s house, alleging delinquency, and, at his door, showed Brian a webcam photo of himself playing poker. electronic privacy legislation, would seem to apply naturally to the RAT-enabled capture of webcam photographs, keystrokes, and screenshots, a district court judge in their case adopted a pre-trial finding that the photographs were not "intercepted" for the purposes of the statute.The intrusion, he told the The Byrds sued a number of parties associated with the incident, including the store and the manufacturer of the trojan. The same judge expressed skepticism that the messages and screenshots could have been “intercepted,” either, but still allowed debate of the issue in the case.As it currently stands, a ratting plaintiff must show damages of over ,000 to be able to use the act's civil provisions.But even great privacy harms do not necessarily translate to dollars—what is the price of having your sex life mocked by strangers in your living room? —so the act ends up unable to protect many who might need it.

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