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TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: georgia.txt

Georgia Computer Crime Law


                               HOUSE BILL NO. 822
                          (AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE)

                       1991 Ga. ALS 822 1991 Ga. HB 822


   To amend Chapter 9 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
relating to crimes involving forgery and fraudulent practices, so as to repeal
the existing "Georgia  Computer  Systems Protection Act" and enact a new
"Georgia  Computer  Systems Protection Act" to provide for legislative intent
to provide for definitions to provide for criminal liability and penalties for
the crimes of  computer  theft,  computer  trespass,  computer  invasion of
privacy,  computer  forgery, and  computer password  disclosure to provide for
civil remedies and damages to provide for venue to provide for other related
matters to provide an effective date to repeal conflicting laws and for other

   [*1]   Section 1.  Chapter 9 of Title 16 of the Official Code of Georgia
Annotated, relating to crimes involving forgery and fraudulent practices, is
amended by repealing in its entirety Article 6, the "Georgia  Computer  Systems
Protection Act," and inserting in its place a new Article 6 to read as follows:


   16-9-90.  This article may be cited as the 'Georgia  Computer  Systems
Protection Act.'

   16-9-91.  The General Assembly finds that:

   (1)  Computer  related crime is a growing problem in the government and in
the private sector

   (2) Such crime occurs at great cost to the public, since losses for each
incident of  computer  crime tend to be far greater than the losses associated
with each incident of other white collar crime

   (3) The opportunities for  computer  related crimes in state programs, and in
other entities which operate within the state, through the introduction of
fraudulent records into a  computer  system, unauthorized use of  computer
facilities, alteration or destruction of computerized information files, and
stealing of financial instruments, data, or other assets are great

   (4)  Computer  related crime operations have a direct effect on state

   (5) Liability for  computer  crimes should be imposed on all persons, as that
term is defined in this title and

   (6) The prosecution of persons engaged in  computer  related crime is
difficult under previously existing Georgia criminal statutes.

   16-9-92.  As used in this article, the term:

   (1) ' Computer'  means an electronic, magnetic, optical, electrochemical, or
other high-speed data processing device or system performing  computer
operations with or on data and includes any data storage facility or
communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with
such device but such term does not include an automated typewriter or
typesetter, portable hand-held calculator, household appliance, or other similar
device that is not used to communicate with or to manipulate any other

   (2) ' Computer  network' means a set of related, remotely connected
 computers  and any communications facilities with the function and purpose of
transmitting data among them through the communications facilities.

   (3) ' Computer  operation' means computing, classifying, transmitting,
receiving, retrieving, originating, switching, storing, displaying, manifesting,
measuring, detecting, recording, reproducing, handling, or utilizing any form of
data for business, scientific, control, or other purposes.

   (4) ' Computer  program' means one or more statements or instructions
composed and structured in a form acceptable to a  computer  that, when executed
by a  computer  in actual or modified form, cause the  computer  to perform one
or more  computer  operations.  The term ' computer  program' shall include all
associated procedures and documentation, whether or not such procedures and
documentation are in human readable form.

   (5) 'Data' includes any representation of information, intelligence, or data
in any fixed medium, including documentation,  computer  printouts, magnetic
storage media, punched cards, storage in a  computer,  or transmission by a
 computer  network.

   (6) 'Financial instruments' includes any check, draft, money order, note,
certificate of deposit, letter of credit, bill of exchange, credit or debit
card, transaction-authorizing mechanism, or marketable security, or any
 computer  representation thereof.

   (7) 'Property' includes  computers, computer  networks,  computer  programs,
data, financial instruments, and services.

   (8) 'Services' includes  computer  time or services or data processing

   (9) 'Use' includes causing or attempting to cause:

   (A) A  computer or computer  network to perform or to stop performing
 computer  operations

   (B) The obstruction, interruption, malfunction, or denial of the use of a
 computer, computer  network,  computer  program, or data or

   (C) A person to put false information into a  computer.

   (10) 'Victim expenditure' means any expenditure reasonably and necessarily
incurred by the owner to verify that a  computer, computer  network,  computer
program, or data was or was not altered, deleted, damaged, or destroyed by
unauthorized use.

   (11) 'Without authority' includes the use of a  computer or computer  network
in a manner that exceeds any right or permission granted by the owner of the
 computer or computer  network.

   16-9-93. (a)  Computer  Theft.  Any person who uses a  computer or computer
network with knowledge that such use is without authority and with the intention

   (1) Taking or appropriating any property of another, whether or not with the
intention of depriving the owner of possession

   (2) Obtaining property by any deceitful means or artful practice or

   (3) Converting property to such person's use in violation of an agreement or
other known legal obligation to make a specified application or disposition of
such property

   shall be guilty of the crime of  computer  theft.

   (b)  Computer  Trespass.  Any person who uses a  computer or computer
network with knowledge that such use is without authority and with the intention

   (1) Deleting or in any way removing, either temporarily or permanently, any
 computer  program or data from a  computer or computer  network

   (2) Obstructing, interrupting, or in any way interfering with the use of a
 computer  program or data or

   (3) Altering, damaging, or in any way causing the malfunction of a
 computer, computer  network, or  computer  program, regardless of how long the
alteration, damage, or malfunction persists

   shall be guilty of the crime of  computer  trespass.

   (c)  Computer  Invasion of Privacy.  Any person who uses a  computer or
 computer  network with the intention of examining any employment, medical,
salary, credit, or any other financial or personal data relating to any other
person with knowledge that such examination is without authority shall be guilty
of the crime of  computer  invasion of privacy.

   (d)  Computer  Forgery.  Any person who creates, alters, or deletes any data
contained in any  computer or computer  network, who, if such person had
created, altered, or deleted a tangible document or instrument would have
committed forgery under Article 1 of this chapter, shall be guilty of the

crime of  computer  forgery.  The absence of a tangible writing directly created
or altered by the offender shall not be a defense to the crime of  computer
forgery if a creation, alteration, or deletion of data was involved in lieu of a
tangible document or instrument.

   (e)  Computer Password  Disclosure.  Any person who discloses a number, code,
 password,  or other means of access to a  computer or computer  network knowing
that such disclosure is without authority and which results in damages
(including the fair market value of any services used and victim expenditure) to
the owner of the  computer or computer  network in excess of $ 500.00 shall be
guilty of the crime of  computer password  disclosure.

   (f) Article not Exclusive.  The provisions of this article shall not be
construed to preclude the applicability of any other law which presently applies
or may in the future apply to any transaction or course of conduct which
violates this article.

   (g) Civil Relief Damages.  (1) Any person whose property or person is
injured by reason of a violation of any provision of this article may sue
therefor and recover for any damages sustained and the costs of suit.  Without
limiting the generality of the term, 'damages' shall include loss of profits and
victim expenditure.

   (2) At the request of any party to an action brought pursuant to this Code
section, the court shall by reasonable means conduct all legal proceedings in
such a way as to protect the secrecy and security of any  computer, computer
network, data, or  computer  program involved in order to prevent possible
recurrence of the same or a similar act by another person and to protect any
trade secrets of any party.

   (3) The provisions of this article shall not be construed to limit any
person's right to pursue any additional civil remedy otherwise allowed by law.

   (4) A civil action under this Code section must be brought within four years
after the violation is discovered or by exercise of reasonable diligence should
have been discovered.  For purposes of this article, a continuing violation of
any one subsection of this Code section by any person constitutes a single
violation by such person.

   (h) Criminal Penalties.  (1) Any person convicted of the crime of  computer
theft,  computer  trespass,  computer  invasion of privacy, or  computer
forgery shall be fined not more than $ 50,000.00 or imprisoned not more than 15
years, or both.

   (2) Any person convicted of  computer password  disclosure shall be fined not
more than $ 5,000.00 or incarcerated for a period not to exceed one year, or

   16-9-94.  For the purpose of venue under this article, any violation of this
article shall be considered to have been committed:

   (1) In the county of the principal place of business in this state of the
owner of a  computer, computer  network, or any part thereof and,

   (2) In any county in which any person alleged to have violated any provision
of this article had control or possession of any proceeds of the violation or of
any books, records, documents, or property which were used in furtherance of the
violation and,

   (3) In any county in which any act was performed in furtherance of any
transaction which violated this article and,

   (4) In any county from which, to which, or through which any use of a
 computer or computer  network was made, whether by wires, electro-magnetic
waves, microwaves, or any other means of communication."

   [*2]   Section 2.  This Act shall become effective on July 1, 1991.

   [*3]   Section 3.  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are

SPONSOR: Representatives Walker of the 115th, Coleman of the 118th, Murphy of
the 18th and Buck of the 95th

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