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DoJ Won't Charge 'Good Faith' Security Researchers

Revised policy means security analysts won't be charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The US Department of Justice announced this week that it has revised a policy that explicitly states it will not charge security researchers with violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

The new guidance recognizes "good faith" security research done to promote safety and not carried out in a way that causes harm. The new policy, effective immediately, replaces the previous CFAA charging policy from 2014, the DOJ said. 

"Computer security research is a key driver of improved cybersecurity," said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in a statement about the new DOJ policy. "The department has never been interested in prosecuting good-faith computer security research as a crime, and today’s announcement promotes cybersecurity by providing clarity for good-faith security researchers who root out vulnerabilities for the common good."