[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 1355






      The Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 1355 (1R). 

      As reported, this bill would update the State law with regard to computer crime to reflect various technological changes, including the development of the Internet, that have occurred since enactment of the computer crime law in 1984, P.L.1984, c.184 (C.2C:20-23 et al.). The committee emphasizes that it is not the intent of this bill to interfere with or prohibit terms or conditions in a contract or license related to any data, data base, computer, computer storage medium, computer program, computer software, computer system, computer equipment, computer network or hardware designed to allow any of the above to operate in the ordinary course of a lawful business, or that is designed to allow an owner or authorized holder of information to protect data information or rights in it.

      The bill amends section 2 of P.L.1984, c.184 (C.2C:20-23) (section 1 of the bill) to revise the definition of "computer" to be consistent with relevant federal law and to revise the definition of "data" to address the issue of data stored on media that are not within the computer such as removable disks and external disk drives. In addition, the bill adds definitions of "Internet," "personal identifying information,""alter, damage or destroy", and "user of computer services" and makes other technical clarifications.

      The bill amends section 3 of P.L.1984, c.184 (C.2C:20-24) (section 2 of the bill) to include as "value," for the purpose of recovering loss, the cost of repair or remediation of any damage caused by an unlawful act and the gross revenue from a lost business opportunity attributable to that unlawful act. The bill also specifies that the value of a lost business opportunity be determined by comparison to gross revenue before the opportunity was lost.

      Under the provisions of section 4 of P.L.1984, c.184 (C.2C:20-25) (section 3 of the bill), computer criminal activity would range from a third degree crime for access to a computer without authorization to a first degree crime where a violation results in the substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, gas or power or other public service; or damages or loss in excess of $250,000 or significant bodily injury to any person. The bill also provides for a mandatory minimum sentence in certain circumstances in subsections g. and h., including if a person is convicted of a crime of the first degree or if the victim is a government agency.

      The bill amends section 13 of P.L.1984, c.184 (C.2C:20-34) (section 6 of the bill) to clarify that the situs of an offense related to computer criminal activity is both the location of the computer that was accessed and the location where the computer used in the offense is situated.

      The bill provides that computer criminal activity offenses may be consolidated in the same manner as theft offenses by amending N.J.S.2C:20-2. Note that the gradation of computer criminal activity is set forth specifically in section 4 of P.L.1984, c.184 (C.2C:20-25) (section 3 of the bill) and may not correspond to the gradation of theft offenses as it does under existing law. The bill provides that a juvenile who is charged with first or second degree computer criminal activity may be referred to another court without the juvenile's consent by amending section 7 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-26) (section 8 of the bill).

      As reported, this bill is identical to Assembly Bill No. 1728, as amended by the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.