State lawmakers passed three bills to curb the growing cyber crime trend in Hawaii, according to announcement released Tuesday by the House Republican Caucus.
Under these bills, law enforcement and prosecutors will have increased ability to charge cyber criminals with new or increased penalties.
- HB 1777 authorizes District and Circuit Court judges in Hawaii to order the production of records held by entities located outside of the state in all criminal cases. The intent is to help prosecutors to obtain electronic evidence that is often stored by mainland organizations. 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, toughens computer crime laws by modeling language after existing identity theft laws defining computer fraud as an aggravated form of theft. It also imposes harsher penalties by raising each existing crime one grade higher. Most notably, the bill creates a new offense of Computer Fraud in the Third Degree, a class C felony. The 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 perform certain acts against a victim or intended victim of Harassment under HRS 711-1106 or Harassment by Stalking under HRS 711 1106.5. The bill clarifies that the offense is also committed when the perpetrator knowingly uses a computer to pursue, surveil, contact, harass, annoy, or alarm a victim or intended victim.
Rep. Kymberly Marcos Pine was a co-chair of the cyber crime informational briefing, along with George Fontaine.
"The cyber crime package gives new hope to victims that their perpetrators will be prosecuted," said Rep. Pine. "My hope is that Hawaii will soon be one the toughest states in the nation to be a cyber criminal."