“Erasing Computer Files Might Create Employee Liability”

Good advice from The National Law Journal:

"Disgruntled employees beware. Erasing files on your company laptop as you leave the firm could trigger expensive civil liability under a federal anti-hacker law, according to a recent 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

"Since 1984, Congress has expanded the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — which was originally intended to punish hackers who break into computer networks or send computer viruses — giving employers new civil remedies.

"Now, in one of a very few appellate interpretations of the anti-hacking law, a 7th Circuit opinion by Judge Richard Posner on March 8 adopts an expansive view of the law holding that permanently erasing files from an individual laptop computer could trigger federal liability. International Airports Centers v. Citrin, No. 05-1522."