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Citrin pointed out that his employment contract permitted him to "destroy" data in the laptop when he left the company. But the 7th Circuit didn't buy it, and reinstated the suit against him brought by IAC.
The provision of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act on which IAC relies provides that whoever "knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer (a defined term that includes the laptop that Citrin used)," violates the Act. Citrin argues that merely erasing a file from a computer is not a "transmission." Pressing a delete or erase key in fact transmits a command, but it might be stretching the statute too far (especially since it provides criminal as well as civil sanctions for its violation) to consider any typing on a computer keyboard to be a form of "transmission" just because it transmits a command to the computer...