1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Unannotated
Updated through the end of the 2000 Session

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Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses

CHAPTER 16.

COMPUTER CRIME ACT

SECTION 16-16-10. Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter:

(a) "Computer" means an electronic device that performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulating electronic or magnetic impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software, and communication facilities that are connected or related to a computer in a computer system or computer network but does not include any computer or other electronic device designed and manufactured for, and which is used exclusively for routine personal, family, or household purposes and which is not used to access, to communicate with, or to manipulate any other computer.

(b) "Computer network" means the interconnection of communications lines, or any other communications facilities, with a computer through remote terminals, or a system consisting of two or more interconnected computers.

(c) "Computer program" means a series of instructions or statements executable on a computer which directs the computer system in a manner to process data or perform other specified functions.

(d) "Computer software" means a set of computer programs, data, procedures, or associated documentation concerned with the operation of a computer system.

(e) "Computer system" means a set of related, connected or unconnected, computer equipment, devices, or software.

(f) "Property" means and includes, but is not limited to, financial instruments, data, computer software, documents associated with computer systems, and computer software, or copies thereof, whether tangible or intangible, including both human and computer system readable data, and data while in transit.

(g) "Services" means and includes, but is not limited to, the use of the computer system, computer network, computer programs, or data prepared for computer use, or data obtained within a computer system, or data contained within a computer network.

(h) "Data" means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts, or instructions that has been prepared or is being prepared in a formalized manner and has been processed, is being processed, or is intended to be processed in a computer, computer system, or computer network. Data may be in any form including, but not limited to, computer printouts, magnetic storage media, punched cards, or as stored in the memory of the computer or in transit or displayed on a video device.

(i) "Access" means to instruct, communicate with, attempt to communicate with, store data in, retrieve data from, or otherwise make use of or attempt to make use of any resources of a computer, computer system, or computer network.

(j) "Computer hacking" means accessing all or part of a computer, computer system, or a computer network for the purpose of establishing contact only without the intent to defraud or commit any other crime after such contact is established and without the use of computer-related services except such services as may be incidental to establishing contact.

SECTION 16-16-20. Offenses; penalties.

(1) It is unlawful for a person to wilfully, knowingly, maliciously, and without authorization or for an unauthorized purpose to do any of the following:

(a) directly or indirectly access or cause to be accessed a computer, computer system, or computer network for the purpose of:

(i) devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud;

(ii) obtaining money, property, or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises; or

(iii) committing any other crime.

(b) alter, damage, destroy, or modify a computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, computer program, or data contained in such computer, computer system, computer program, or computer network.

(2) A person is guilty of computer crime in the first degree if the amount of gain directly or indirectly derived from the offense made unlawful by subsection (1) or the loss directly or indirectly suffered by the victim exceeds twenty-five thousand dollars. Computer crime in the first degree is a felony and, upon conviction, a person must be fined not more than one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(3)(a) A person is guilty of computer crime in the second degree if the amount of gain directly or indirectly derived from the offense made unlawful by subsection (1) or the loss directly or indirectly suffered by the victim is greater than one thousand dollars but not more than twenty-five thousand dollars.

(b) A person is also guilty of computer crime in the second degree where:

(i) he interferes with, causes to be interfered with, denies or causes to be denied any computer service to an authorized user of the computer service for the purpose of devising or executing any scheme or artifice to defraud, or obtaining money, property, or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, or committing any other felony;

(ii) he deprives the owner of possession of, or takes, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of any computer, data, computer property, or computer-related property, including all parts of a computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, computer services, or information associated with a computer, whether in a tangible or intangible form; or

(iii) the gain derived from the offense made unlawful by subsection (1) or loss suffered by the victim cannot reasonably be ascertained.

(c) Computer crime in the second degree is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, for a first offense, a person must be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than three years, or both. Upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense, a person is guilty of a felony and must be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(4) A person is guilty of computer crime in the third degree if the amount of gain directly or indirectly derived from the offense made unlawful by subsection (1) or the loss directly or indirectly suffered by the victim is not more than one thousand dollars. A person is also guilty of computer crime in the third degree if he wilfully, knowingly, and without authorization or for an unauthorized purpose engages in computer hacking. Computer crime in the third degree is a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, for a first offense, a person must be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days. Upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense, a person must be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

SECTION 16-16-30. Venue.

For the purpose of venue under this chapter, any violation of this chapter shall be considered to have been committed in the county in which the violation took place; provided, that upon proper motion and the proper showing before a judge, venue may be transferred if justice would be better served by such transfer, to one of the following:

(1) In any county in which any act was performed in furtherance of any transaction which violated this chapter;

(2) In the county of the principal place of business in this State of the owner or lessee of a computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof which has been subject to the violation; or

(3) Any county in which any violator had control or possession of any proceeds of the violation or of any books, records, documents, property, financial instrument, computer software, computer program, or other material or objects which were used in the furtherance of the violation.

SECTION 16-16-40. Applicability of other criminal law provisions.

The provisions of this chapter must not be construed to preclude the applicability of any other provision of the criminal law of this State, which presently applies or may in the future apply, to any transaction which violates this chapter.





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