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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.In 2009, when Susan Clements-Jeffrey purchased a used laptop from a student at the high school where she substitute taught, chances are she didn’t expect that the transaction would conclude with local police in her living room, laughing at her and calling her "stupid" while showing her explicit pictures of herself taken from her computer.
In the case of the government’s use of RATs against the public, the process is comically and characteristically opaque. As one of the authors of a recent policy paper reviewing the legal, technological, and policy issues surrounding RATs, I've given a lot of thought to the problem and how we can fix it.
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.
Together, with political will and popular support behind them, change in these areas would empower the public to better respond to ratters—whether individuals or government agents—and improve the privacy of millions.* * *Electronic privacy law in the United States is guided by the overlap of the Federal Trade Commission, state law, criminal procedure, executive order, and federal statute.
While cautious browsing can make a difference when it comes to protecting yourself, for ratting victims, U. law, late as usual to the party, is lacking.* * *Despite repeated violations of privacy via webcam hacking, legal protections against RATs in the United States leave many behind.
Theoretically available state-level protections vary widely from place to place, and federal law, as a privacy backstop, is inadequate.