While computers are becoming a vital accessory to a growing number of crimes, states classify certain offenses as "computer crimes" or "cyber crimes." Such offenses include trafficking in computer passwords, unauthorized access of confidential files, and the unauthorized modification or destruction of data. Georgia computer crime laws also allow victims to file civil lawsuits for the offense.
The Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act (Georgia Code section 16-9-91) identifies the following specific types of computer crime:
- Computer Theft - Using a computer or network without authority and with the purpose of taking another's property.
- Computer Trespass - Using a computer or network without authority to delete, alter, or otherwise interfere with a computer program or computer data.
- Computer Invasion of Privacy - Using a computer or network to examine financial or personal data relating to another person without authority to do so.
- Computer Forgery - Creating, altering, or deleting data in a fraudulant manner.
- Computer Password Disclosure - Disclosing a code or password to a computer or network without authority.
Criminal penalties for computer theft, trespass, invasion of privacy, or forgery include up to $50,000 in fines and/or up to 15 years in prison. Anyone convicted of computer password disclosure may be fined up to $5,000 and/or incarcerated for up to one year.
The crime of identify theft, while typically aided through the use of computers and the Internet, is not technically a computer crime (in fact, identity thieves often rummage through peoples' garbage for data). To learn more about identity theft, see Georgia Identity Theft Laws.
Learn more about Georgia computer crime laws in the following table. See FindLaw's Cyber Crimes section for related articles and resources.
||16-9-91, et seq. Note: Section does not specifically classify crimes listed as either felony or misdemeanor. Offenses listed in misdemeanor or felony columns are based on the levels of punishments imposed rather than by explicit classification.
|Mental State Required for Prosecution
|Misdemeanor Computer Crimes
||Traffic in passwords
|Felony Computer Crimes
||Computer theft, trespass (including modify, destroy, interfere with use), invasion of privacy, forgery
|Attempt Considered a Crime?
|Civil Lawsuit Permitted?
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Georgia Computer Crime Laws: Related Resources
Facing Computer Crime Charges? An Attorney Can Help
Computer crime cases are very complex and typically require a significant degree of technical sleuthing to successfully prosecute. Likewise, it's often in your best interests to get professional legal help with such cases. Learn more about your case and your legal options from an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney.