The US Department of Justice has said it will not petition the Supreme Court to take a case that has raised questions about how widely anti-hacking laws should be applied. In April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down charges that David Nosal violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by having his former coworkers copy a list of clients from a company he once worked at. The Court, which voted 9 to 2 in favor of rejecting the charges, worried that prosecuting Nosal under the CFAA would turn the law into a catch-all for prosecuting people who use work computers inappropriately. Now, Reuters reports that the prosecutors say "the Solicitor General will not file a petition," though they did not give a reason.
If the case had proceeded, the Supreme Court might have cleared up contradictory rulings between US courts, determining whether the CFAA can be held against people who inappropriately use access they legitimately have, possibly including Wikileaks informant Bradley Manning. As it is, Nosal still faces separate charges of trade secret theft related to his venture, but the larger question will not be pursued further this time.