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WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether individuals who misuse their authorized computer access can be held liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Justices will consider the case of Nathan Van Buren, a Cumming, Ga., police sergeant who conducted a search for an improper purpose—to check a strip club dancer’s license plate in a law enforcement database as a favor, according to a petition to the high court.

Van Buren did the search at the request of a man who gave him $6,000. But, as it turns out, he was set up by the FBI and convicted under the act. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, which he has yet to serve, and later appealed his case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In an amicus brief, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as other groups, said that some courts have rightly interpreted the law narrowly, focusing on hacking and other illegal computer intrusions.