According to a ruling this week by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sharing your online passwords could be considered a federal crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
United States v. Nosal is a case that has been debated in courts over the better part of a decade. The case revolves around David Nosal who was a headhunter that worked for the firm Korn/ Ferry. When Nosal left the company in 2004, he took colleagues with him who used the password of someone still at the company to download information from Korn/ Ferry’s database. That information was then used at their new firm.
The case has gone in and out of court since 2008 and with the way the new ruling reads, Netflix could use it to come after you for password sharing. Realistically, this probably won’t happen any time in the near future. However, based on this ruling, if companies like Netflix, Hulu and HBOGo choose to go after customers who share passwords, they can.