REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF REP. KYMBERLY PINE – As of July 10, four 2012 Legislative session bills to curb Hawaii’s growing cyber crime trend have become law.
A measure to combat cyber bullying (HB 2295) was signed by the Governor on June 28 and a measure to prohibit adults from soliciting minors to electronically transmit nude images of a minor(s) (SB 2222) was signed on July 3.
On July 9, the Governor signed a measure to strengthen Hawaii’s existing computer fraud and unauthorized computer access laws (HB 1788). The Governor signed a measure allowing out-of-state records to be subpoenaed in criminal cases (HB 1777) on July 10.
As part of her efforts to protect cyber crime victims and aid law enforcement, Representative Kymberly Marcos Pine worked closely with prosecutors and victims throughout the legislative session.
“One of my major focuses this session was to protect victims from cyber criminals,” said Rep. Pine. “I am delighted that the Legislature passed these important measures and the Governor recognized the seriousness of cyber crime and its devastating effect on the people of Hawaii. These new laws give hope to victims that their perpetrators will be prosecuted.”
Under these laws, prosecutors and law enforcement will have increased ability to investigate, obtain evidence, and bring cyber criminals to justice with new or stiffer penalties.
HB 1777 authorizes judges in Hawaii’s State court system to require that certain records located or held by entities outside Hawaii be released to the prosecution or defense in a criminal case. Prosecutors will now be able to obtain evidence that is often in the hands of mainland corporations, such as cell phone records. The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office advocated for the bill, testifying that it was the most important action Hawaii could take to aid in the prosecution of cybercriminals.
HB 1788, a cybercrime omnibus bill, strengthens existing computer crime laws by making computer fraud laws mirror Hawaii’s identify theft laws; the result is that accessing a computer with the intent to commit theft becomes a more serious offense. The law also imposes harsher penalties by reclassifying the severity of computer fraud and unauthorized computer access offenses. Notably, the bill creates the new offense of Computer Fraud in the Third Degree, a class C felony; this particular crime would involve knowingly accessing a computer, computer system, or computer network with intent to commit theft in the third or fourth degree.
HB 2295 expands the existing offense of Use of a Computer in the Commission of a Separate Crime to include situations where a perpetrator knowingly uses a computer to pursue, conduct surveillance on, contact, harass, annoy, or alarm the victim or intended victim of the crimes of Harassment under HRS 711-1106 or Harassment by Stalking under HRS 711‑1106.5. This law recognizes that using a computer to commit such crimes is an aggravating factor that justifies an additional penalty.
SB 2222 addresses “sexting.” The bill would create two new offenses in HRS chapter 712 that would: Prohibit an adult from intentionally or knowingly soliciting a minor to electronically transmit a nude image (photo or video) of a minor to any person (misdemeanor ); prohibit a minor from knowingly electronically transmitting a nude image of him/herself or any other minor to any person, or intentionally or knowingly soliciting another minor to do so (petty misdemeanor); and prohibit a person of any age from knowingly possessing a nude image transmitted by a minor (but a person charged with this crime would have an affirmative defense that he/she made reasonable efforts to destroy the nude image (petty misdemeanor).
Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine is the Republican Floor Leader in the State House. She represents District 43 (Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Puuloa).