Washington state bill targets online shenanigans with potential prison time

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Washington Senate bill proposes to turn a variety of malicious online activities into actually prosecutable crimes with prison times and fines. The Senate Law & Justice Committee held a hearing Monday on a bill by Sen. Mark Miloscia, R- Federal Way, to map out several cybercrimes and declare them felonies or misdemeanors.

Miloscia said he and numerous members of the Archdiocese of Seattle were victims of identity theft in 2014, with false federal income tax forms filed in their names to seek significant refunds. That and the Seattle region’s blossoming high-tech culture prompted him to filed the bills.

Miloscia’s bill would create the following crimes:

• Electronic data service interference: When an unauthorized person maliciously interrupts or suspends use of the transmission of data, data programs and other electronic communications. This would be a Class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

• “Spoofing”: When an unauthorized person initiates the transmission, display or receipt of another person’s electronic or a fictional person’s electronic data in order to interrupt or gain access to a data service. Spoofing would be a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

• First-degree electronic data tampering: When an unauthorized person intentionally adds, changes, damages, deletes or destroys electronic data or introduces a computer program to commit a crime. This would-be a Class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

• Second-degree electronic data tampering: A less damaging version of electronic data tampering, which would be a gross misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

• Electronic data theft: When unauthorized person obtains electronic data with the intent to commit another crimes. This would be a Class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

On Monday, Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, who attended a cybercrime symposium with Mislocia, supported the bill. The Washington Retail Association also backed it. Megan Schrader of TechNet voiced some suggested changes, which Miloscia said he will consider.

Miloscia has until a Feb. 5 legislative deadline to get this bill to the Senate floor.

credit: Geekwire

Do you like this post?