Senator Chang's Legislation to Fight Cybercriminals Passes Senate

Friday, May 24, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 239 by Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) with bipartisan support.  SB 239 would make it easier to prosecute serious cybercriminals and computer hackers. The proposal would align the statute of limitations for felony computer hacking with similar forms of crimes by allowing for prosecution three years after the date of discovery, rather than the date of offense.

“Given the devastating trail of destruction that hacking and phishing leave behind, we must help victims get justice,” said Senator Chang. “Billions of user accounts get hacked at a huge cost to our society. The 2020 projected cost for a single hacking event against a company is estimated at $150 million per incident. We must act now. ”

Under existing law, the statute of limitations for computer hacking is three years after discovery, if prosecuted civilly. But, the statute of limitations for computer hacking prosecuted as a felony commences from the date of the offense, not the date of discovery. This bill would allow the same statute of limitations for a felony violation of Penal Code section 502 as a civil prosecution for the same act.

AARP California and Conference of California Bar Associations support this bill.

SB 239 will head next to the State Assembly for consideration.