Senator Bruce Thompson presents the amendment to a bill on March 14, 2016. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia bill would make it illegal to use a computer without permission

It might soon be illegal in Georgia to hack or log into a computer without permission, even if no information is disrupted or stolen.

Senate Bill 315, introduced this week by Sen. Bruce Thompson, R-White, would create the crime of unauthorized computer access, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $5,000 and up to 12 months in jail.

Attorney General Chris Carr said Georgia is one of only three states in the nation where it’s not illegal to access a computer as long as nothing is disrupted or stolen.

“This doesn’t make any sense. Unlawfully accessing any computer in Georgia should be a crime, and we must fix this loophole,” Carr said in a statement. “This bill will help us more effectively fight cybercrime in our state.”

Any equipment used to access a computer without permission would be considered contraband, subject to forfeiture to the state, according to the legislation.

The bill was referred to the Senate Public Safety Committee for consideration.