On a constitutional and procedural level, we should require that law enforcement hacking include automatic transparency, ban government webcam hacking, and be exacting in applying the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements.

Together, with political will and popular support behind them, change in these areas would empower the public to better respond to ratters—whether individuals or government agents—and improve the privacy of millions.* * *Electronic privacy law in the United States is guided by the overlap of the Federal Trade Commission, state law, criminal procedure, executive order, and federal statute.

In 2009, when Susan Clements-Jeffrey purchased a used laptop from a student at the high school where she substitute taught, chances are she didn’t expect that the transaction would conclude with local police in her living room, laughing at her and calling her "stupid" while showing her explicit pictures of herself taken from her computer.

Amending the CFAA’s damages requirement to take into account the type of harms suffered by ratting victims would offer more people the ability to gain relief under the act’s provisions.

Ratting also raises constitutional and judicial process concerns, relating both to public access to democracy and to the strict warrant requirements regarding searches by the government of private individuals.

The litigation is still underway, but for now, the court's unwillingness to treat webcam snooping as protected under ECPA is a troubling but easily correctable deficiency in the law.

Courts, or the legislature, should abandon or retool the "in-flight" metaphor and understand snatched webcam photos as interceptions for the purposes of the statute.

In 2010, the Byrds purchased a computer from Colorado Aaron’s, Inc. According to the suit, the store installed a brand-name RAT on the couple’s computer without telling them.

Employees then used the software to take webcam photographs, log messages, and capture screenshots, wrongly thinking the couple was behind on payments.The federal government should clarify the definition of “interception” under Title I of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and reconsider the damages requirement for private claims in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in light of the often non-economic nature of privacy harms.A victim’s suffering is often not financial but emotional.In the last category, few statutes have more potential than the ECPA. Patrick Leahy noted in 2013 was "no longer suited" to contemporary threats—courts have turned to a technologically unwieldy metaphor of "flight" to determine which interceptions occur “contemporaneously” with a message’s transmission and thus are covered by the statute.ECPA was passed in 1986 as an amendment to the federal Wiretap Act, and, among other things, generally forbids the interception of electronic communications without the consent of a party to that communication. This definitional jig has meant webcam hacking victims are uncovered, with courts reluctant to take the sensible step of including webcam RAT spying under the act’s auspices.While cautious browsing can make a difference when it comes to protecting yourself, for ratting victims, U. law, late as usual to the party, is lacking.* * *Despite repeated violations of privacy via webcam hacking, legal protections against RATs in the United States leave many behind.