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Another Reason Why Employees Should Not Disclose Their Passwords

Computer screen showing user name and password for login

Their are obvious security-related reasons why businesses do not want employees to give their computer passwords the third parties. With the recent decision in Multiven v. Cisco Systems, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has given us a legal reason, as well.

Peter Alfred-Adekeye (“Adekeye”), a former Cisco engineer, left Cisco to form plaintiff Multiven. After his departure, Adekeye used a Cisco employee’s password, with the employee’s permission, to download certain proprietary Cisco software.

Cisco alleged that in doing so, Adekeye violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. Section 1030. Cisco won a partial summary judgment on this point.

The central issue was whether Adekeye accessed Cisco’s network without authorization. The court held that this was the case because because, although a Cisco employee provided his password, the employee did so in violation of Cisco’s policies.

The moral of this story: Make sure that your employee handbook includes a policy that prohibits employees from giving any of their access codes or passwords to third parties.

Check out all posts about employee handbooks.

Photo credit: Joshua Davis via stock.xchng

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.


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