O’Ban bill cracks down on computer hacking

Laws do not always keep pace with technological advances. Sen. Steve O’Ban introduced Senate Bill 5106 which received a public hearing Monday before the Senate Law and Justice Committee to address growing concerns over privacy in the internet age. O’Ban’ s bill would create a civil action for unauthorized remote access of webcams similar to current federal law.

“We are seeing more instances of people being unknowingly watched through their webcams,” O’Ban, R-Pierce County said. “This is a serious privacy violation and I want to be sure that people have a civil remedy when they are being extorted by a voyeur who has, in some cases, recorded compromising videos without authorization.”

It is already illegal to intentionally access a computer network or database without authorization with criminal offenses ranging from a class C felony to a gross misdemeanor. This law would give victims an additional avenue for restitution.

“This issue is becoming more common especially with the availability of inexpensive commercial software that enables remote use of webcams,” O’Ban said. “I believe that giving victims the option to pursue civil damages will help curb these types of crimes.”