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Hacking & Digital Theft Damages May Now Be Recoverable In Florida Courts

Hacking & Digital Theft Damages May Now Be Recoverable In Florida Courts

New Law Allows Businesses Victimized by Hacking & Digital Theft Recover in Florida Courts

Florida’s Computer Abuse and Data Recovery Act (“CADRA”), which became effective on October 1, 2015, provides a potent civil remedy for businesses harmed by persons who access, take, disclose, or destroy business data, systems or software from a “protected computer” without authorization. Prior to CADRA, individuals and commercial entities doing business in Florida were forced to seek legal recourse under Florida’s cumbersome trade secret laws, or state and federal statutes that are primarily criminal in nature, when confronted with digital theft or computer intrusion – both of which often fail to provide businesses with the legal relief they need to recover from the far-reaching and potentially devastating consequences of digital theft and computer abuse. Fortunately, CADRA is designed to allow businesses victimized by malicious attacks or unauthorized use of digital business information to file suit and seek compensation from the perpetrators, be they insiders (disgruntled employees, independent contractors, etc.) or outsiders (competitors, “hackers,” etc.). Moreover, businesses that prevail lawsuits under CADRA are entitled to seek comprehensive recovery in the form of actual damages (including the victim’s lost profits), disgorgement of the wrongdoer’s profits, payment of the victim’s attorneys’ fees, and court-ordered injunctive relief to prevent future violations of the statute. That said, the advent of CADRA does not relieve businesses of their responsibility to remain vigilant and take proactive action against the threat of digital theft and computer abuse. CADRA contains several important requirements in order for businesses to take advantage of its protections; for example, electronic devices must fall under the statute’s definition of “protected computers,” and access to these “protected computers” must be restricted behind a statutorily defined “technological access barrier.” Every Florida business should review and revise their data storage practices and digital security procedures to ensure protection under CADRA in the event they fall victim to digital theft or malicious intrusion.

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