The 85th Texas Legislature created a new law in 2017 called Electronic Access Interference, which makes it illegal in Texas to suspend access to a computer or network without a legitimate business purpose.
ELECTRONIC ACCESS INTERFERENCE ATTORNEY FAQs
This law was created by Section 3 of House Bill 91 and is to be codified at Section 33.022 in the Texas Penal Code.
Have you been charged with Electronic Access Interference in Texas? Call criminal defense lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.
Effective September 1, 20172, the new law is a response to the growing cybersecurity threat that hackers pose to people and institutions with DDOS attacks, worms and other malware and ransomware. The law is one of three laws created by the same bill in 2017, with the others being Electronic Data Tampering and Unlawful Decryption.
Effective September 1, 2017, Section 33.022 of the Texas Penal Code describes the Electronic Access Interference law at subsection (a) as follows:3
(a) A person, other than a network provider or online service provider acting for a legitimate business purpose, commits an offense if the person intentionally interrupts or suspends access to a computer system or computer network without the effective consent of the owner.
The law will be penalized as a third degree felony,4 punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
2House Bill 9 at Section 5-6:
SECTION 5. The change in law made by this Act applies only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act. An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section, an offense was committed before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurred before that date.
SECTION 6. This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
3Penal Code Section 33.022(a), as created by House Bill 9, Section 3, effective September 1, 2017
4Penal Code Section 33.022(b), as created by House Bill 9, Section 3, effective September 1, 2017