Changing an IP Address to Access a Public Website is Against the Law

Changing your IP address or using proxy servers to access public websites you’ve been forbidden to visit is a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a judge ruled Friday.


A company called 3taps was scraping content from Craigslist, and putting it elsewhere. Craigslist sent a Cease and Desist, and subsequently turned off access from 3taps network(s) and system(s).

3taps circumvented the block by doing what every teenager in America uses to get to Facebook using their school computer lab: they went behind 9,000 proxies and continued scraping the content. Craigslist, sued 3taps and used the CFAA, because they mad.

[yellow_box]Special shout-out to our Congress for writing this easily misunderstood law, the six amendments to it, and of course to Craigslist making this argument in court in the first place.

The company was already guilty of violating the Terms of Use for Craigslist, but their counsel didn’t use that argument. I am curious if even Craigslist is of the opinion that their Terms of Use are not binding?[/yellow_box]