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(A related suit alleging RAT-enabled interception of privileged and confidential attorney work product is unfolding in Georgia.)* * *Another law integral to electronic privacy is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and, like ECPA, RATs were not considered when it was written.The CFAA was initially passed, as the story goes, in 1983 when Ronald Reagan saw the hacking film Of particular importance here is Section 1030(g), the act’s private right of action.

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.The federal government should clarify the definition of “interception” under Title I of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and reconsider the damages requirement for private claims in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in light of the often non-economic nature of privacy harms.A victim’s suffering is often not financial but emotional.The laptop, it turned out, had been stolen before she bought it, and it came equipped with a Remote Access Tool, or RAT.RATs are software that allow a third party to spy on a computer user from afar, whether rifling through messages and browsing activity, photographing the computer screen, or in many cases hijacking the webcam and taking photographs of whomever is on the other side.