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This year saw major progress made in protecting ethical hacking from unfair legal consequences. Current laws worldwide often enable prosecution of security researchers motivated to protect rather than harm users, creating risks for ethical hackers in the course of doing their job.

In the US, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced it will no longer prosecute security researchers who act in “good faith” under a landmark revision to its policy regarding computer crime laws.

The amendment, announced back in May, laid out changes to prosecution criteria under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

Good faith in this case refers to an individual accessing a computer solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability.

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