Last week the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (uhhh… a high court, we guess) ruled that sharing passwords is a violation of the American “Computer Fraud and Abuse Act”.


Now the particular case focused on a former employee of an internation research firm who shared passwords with his coworkers to get into the database. BUT it has the implication of affecting people who share passwords to their HBO, Amazon Prime, Shomi or… yes Netflix accounts.


So that’s what happened to our southern friends, what about us?


Well it turns out under section 342.1 of the Criminal Code “everyone who, fraudulently and without colour of right” obtains “directly or indirectly, any computer service” can be open to criminal charges.


Ooooh boy, that’s not a good sign. But as the astute will notice from the title, that on the grand scheme of things for Canada, this probably won’t be a big deal.


University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist, who’s an expert on online law had this to say:

“This provision has been used in hacking circumstances…It falls to the Crown to decide whether or not to pursue cases, and with this kind of very low level case the Crown would be really unlikely to use its resources to bring about criminal charges.” (Read more of his comments here.)


So it’s like jaywalking, technically illegal, and occasionally will get you fined, but probably not. I think the Crown has bigger things to deal with than sharing your streaming services passwords.



Filed under: America, Canada, Illegal, Netflix