You may want to think twice before you share your Neflix password with your pals.

A federal court in California has ruled that sharing your password for the likes of Netflix, HBO Go and other streaming accounts is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The opinion was rendered in the United States v. Nosal trial, where a former employee of a firm was using another employee's password who was still working at the company to download information for use at his new job.

Nosal was charged with hacking in 2008 under the CFAA act. The decision basically means that lots of Americans are violating federal law when they share their Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu or any other account's password.

Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the dissent of the verdict: "It loses sight of the anti-hacking purpose of the CFAA, and despite our warning, threatens to criminalize all sorts of innocuous conduct engaged in daily ordinary citizens."

However, Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown says the verdict was more about authorization, more in line with Nosal's case rather than Americans sharing passwords.

"But the circumstances here -- former employees whose computer access was categorically revoked and who surreptitiously accessed data owned by their former employer -- bears little resemblance to asking a spouse to log in to an email account to print a boarding pass," the judge wrote in the majority opinion.


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