Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
In	the	early	1980s	law	enforcement	agencies	faced	the	dawn	of	the	computer
age	with	growing	concern	about	the	lack	of	criminal	laws	available	to	fight	the
emerging	computer	 crimes.	Although	 the	wire	 and	mail	 fraud	provisions	of
the	federal	criminal	code	were	capable	of	addressing	some	types	of	computer-
related	 criminal	 activity,	neither	of	 those	 statutes	provided	 the	 full	 range	of
tools	 needed	 to	 combat	 these	new	 crimes.	See	H.R.	Rep.	No.	 98-894,	 at	 6
(1984),	reprinted in 1984	U.S.C.C.A.N.	3689,	3692.
In	response,	Congress	included	in	the	Comprehensive	Crime	Control	Act
of	1984	provisions	to	address	the	unauthorized	access	and	use	of	computers	and
computer	networks.	The	 legislative	history	 indicates	 that	Congress	 intended
these	provisions	to	provide	“a	clearer	statement	of	proscribed	activity”	to	“the
law	enforcement	community,	those	who	own	and	operate	computers,	as	well
as	those	who	may	be	tempted	to	commit	crimes	by	unauthorized	access.”	Id.
Congress	 did	 this	 by	 making	 it	 a	 felony	 to	 access	 classified	 information	 in
a	 computer	 without	 authorization,	 and	 a	 misdemeanor	 to	 access	 financial
records	or	credit	histories	stored	in	a	financial	institution	or	to	trespass	into	a
government	computer.	In	so	doing,	Congress	opted	not	to	add	new	provisions
regarding	 computers	 to	 existing	 criminal	 laws,	 but	 rather	 to	 address	 federal
computer-related	offenses	in	a	single,	new	statute,	18	U.S.C.	§	1030.
Even	 after	 enacting	 section	 1030,	 Congress	 continued	 to	 investigate
problems	 associated	 with	 computer	 crime	 to	 determine	 whether	 federal
criminal	 laws	 required	 further	 revision.	 Throughout	 1985,	 both	 the	 House
and	the	Senate	held	hearings	on	potential	computer	crime	bills,	continuing	the
efforts	begun	in	the	year	before.	These	hearings	culminated	in	the	Computer
Fraud	and	Abuse	Act	(CFAA),	enacted	by	Congress	in	1986,	which	amended
18	U.S.C.	§	1030.
In	the	CFAA,	Congress	attempt