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Accessing Google Drive using a long, mispublished URL may violate the Computer Crime Control Act.

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From Greenberg v Ray, it was decided yesterday by Judge Douglas Rays (Arizona) (important legal points are highlighted):

Amanda Rey manages a 2,000-member Facebook group … “Dedicated to disseminating mask prevention policies, vaccine control policies, LGBTQ control policies, and critical racism policies within the Scottsdale Unified School District. I am. “… Plaintiff[ Mark Greenburg]Son … serves an elected governing body that governs the Scottsdale Unified 48th School District …

Depending on the activity of the defendant [Wray and her husband] And Facebook group plaintiffs have begun collecting information about them, including photos, video footage, discussions with third parties about them, personal comments and thoughts, and political memes. Plaintiff kept these records on his personal “Google Drive” server. Plaintiff explicitly shared server access with three individuals (including plaintiff’s son) who could access the server by signing in to their password-protected Google account. Plaintiff was unaware of it at the time, but his Google Drive sharing settings allowed anyone to access the server by entering the correct URL.

In 2021, the plaintiff’s son was accused of defamation. He responded to the whistleblower by emailing 13 photos of Facebook’s public comments created by his whistleblower, some of which were stored on the server. One of the photos showed the URL to Google Drive, which became Amanda’s property, where she noticed the URL and asked a third party to create a hyperlink to the URL. Once offered, she clicked on it to access Google Drive. She reviewed, downloaded, deleted, added, reorganized, renamed, and published content on Google Drive.

Plaintiffs learned of access and hired a team of forensic IT consultants to carry out damage assessments. He then sued the defendant under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act … claiming a loss of at least $ 5,000 …

In order to “succeed the proceedings under 18 USC 1030 (g) based on the breach of 18 USC 1030 (a) (2)”, the plaintiff must assert that the defendant:

(1) intentional access to a computer, (2) access without permission or beyond permitted access, and (3) acquisition of information from a protected computer (acts are interstate or foreign). (With communication), and (5) in one year, there was a loss to one or more people who added up the value of at least $ 5,000.

hiQ Labs, Inc.v. Citing LinkedIn Corp. (9th Cir. 2022), Defendants allege that plaintiffs did not claim that Amanda accessed Google Drive without permission. At hiQ, data analytics company hiQ was scraping data from a public LinkedIn profile, which is data indexed by search engines. LinkedIn has imposed technical steps on hiQ to find and send cease and desist letters and prevent them from retrieving data from public profiles. However, hiQ did not stop, and instead sought a declaratory judgment that LinkedIn “could not legally call CFAA”, alleging that LinkedIn scraped the data found in the public LinkedIn profile. Id. Eventually, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that hiQ’s data scraping was not included in CFAA because “anyone with a web browser” could access the data.

As a result of the review, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has properly understood that the prohibition of unauthorized access applies only to private information that is described as private through the use of certain permit requirements. I inferred. Therefore, “Access Restrictions” must be set for websites to be CFAA protected. And as long as “anyone with a browser” could access the website, there were no restrictions on access.

This is a close call. Plaintiffs admit that the part of Google Drive that Amanda accessed was not password protected. Plaintiffs mistakenly enabled a setting that would allow anyone with a URL to access the site. However, plaintiffs claim that the setting itself did not expose Google Drive, given that the URL was a 68-character string.

Moreover, unlike the hiQ website, Google Drive was not indexed by any search engine. Therefore, Internet denials who want access to Google Drive, which is necessary to get the exact URL to the browser, can only come across Google Drive in a web search by “people who have a browser”. It wasn’t. In the eyes of the court, plaintiffs argue that Google Drive is limited and therefore anyone trying to access it needs permission.

Plaintiffs allege that the disclosure of the URL did not give Amanda permission to access Google Drive. He claims that the disclosure was careless. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals admitted, inadvertent disclosure of access restriction measures is not permissible in and of itself. Plaintiffs are fully accused of violating 18 USC 1030 (a) (2).

Defendants then argue that Plaintiff’s $ 5,000 damages claim is too conclusive to state the claim. it’s not. Plaintiffs alleged that Amanda had access to Google Drive without permission, made changes to the files stored there, and had to hire a forensic IT team to determine the extent of the damage, all of which. Claims to have cost at least $ 5,000. Plaintiffs are not obliged to submit itemized receipts at the stage of proceedings …

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://reason.com/volokh/2022/06/17/accessing-google-drive-using-inadvertently-revealed-long-url-can-violate-computer-fraud-abuse-act/

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