A column I wrote last month focused on whether the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects foreign governments from being sued for hacking into the email of Americans. It the Democratic National Committee suing Russia and Elliott Broidy's lawsuit against Qatar. "If courts rule that foreign hackers or their American hired hands are immune from American civil suits under current law, don't be surprised to see Congress step in to try to close the loophole," I wrote.
Now the federal judge presiding over the Broidy-Qatar case is suggesting precisely that. "It may be an appropriate time for Congress to consider a cyber attack exception to the FSIA which, at the moment, effectively precludes civil suits in United States courts against foreign governments or entities acting on their behalf in the cyberworld," Judge John F. Walter of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California wrote in an August 8 order dismissing Qatar from the lawsuit. The suit was brought by Broidy, who was deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee until his hacked emails were leaked to press outlets.
In a statement, Broidy said, "We agree with Judge Walter's conclusion that 'it may be an appropriate time for Congress to consider a cyber attack exception' to outdated laws allowing foreign nations to commit crimes against Americans. Without a change to the law, our nation's adversaries throughout the world will follow the example here to target those who oppose their anti-American agendas."
Broidy's lawyer, Lee Wolosky of the firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, said in a statement that the litigation would continue against the remaining defendants in the case. Some of those defendants have registered with the U.S. government as foreign agents of Qatar.