back to article You get a criminal record! And you get a criminal record! Peach state goes bananas with expanded anti-hack law

A proposed anti-hacking law in the US state of Georgia is raising all kinds of alarms – because it could chill security research, and criminalize anyone who breaks a website or ISP's T&Cs. The bill, SB 315, would expand the state's computer crime laws to include penalties for accessing a machine without permission even if no …

  1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Not Surprised

    Given the average Georgia legislator is a barely literate graduate of the UofGA aka the Clarke County Community Cow College aka ThUGA this bill is not surprising. Being barely literate is about the best good old ThUGA produces. I get watch the annual follies up close every year. There usually are a couple of ridiculously stupid bills passed by the legislature every session.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Not Surprised

      So you don't think this will help Georgia Tech's attempt to lure students and researchers away from certain "Institute of Technologies" named after other states ?

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Not Surprised

      Barely literate? Ever hear the old one about people in glass houses?

      > I get watch the annual follies up close every year.

      1. RandomFactor
        Childcatcher

        Re: Not Surprised

        Fair, but that principle in no way indicates your target doesn't deserve a rock to the face.

        I attended sessions of the GA state legislature back when we were pushing to incorporate a city. Fortunately not annually like the GP (*shudder*). Some of the representatives had to have the most basic concepts explained to them over and over again (the -same- concepts, not even different ones) in the same session. One was specifically pointed out to me in advance as 'dumber than a stump' and he didn't disappoint.

        Eventually they passed the bill creating the city. Similar bills had failed in the past, but the reason it passed this time was instructive. As best i can quote it: "If we don't, you'll just be back here in front of us with it again next year. I vote Aye."

        All the plans and planning, all the thought, hours of research and interviewing other cities, statistics, studies - and the reason a CITY was created was simply because it annoyed the legislators to have to listen to the arguments and information related to it and they didn't want to do it again next year.

        > Barely literate? Ever hear the old one about people in glass houses?

        > > I get watch the annual follies up close every year.

    3. Aodhhan

      Re: Not Surprised

      Before you put on your "literacy police" badge again... you may wish to take a second look at your post. Your words aren't exactly a shining example of literacy.

    4. MrGutts

      Re: Not Surprised

      With all the Proxy Floor Voting that goes on in the GA Legislature , this would not surprise me one bit if it got passed. They can't even pass a proper Hands Free Cell phone law, most are corrupt with the lobbyist backed money.

    5. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Not Surprised

      It's Georgia. Has almost as many loopy family trees as West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama & Arkansas.

      It's a law that is a white supremacists wet dream. You can set up a website, have the TOS require that only white people can use the site, and then file criminal charges against any non-white people who access the site.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Not Surprised

        From the article...

        "The bill is so broadly written that a violation of terms of service could possibly be construed as a criminal violation, and that would be improper delegation of powers."

        I suspect there would be very, very few, if any, TOS violations ever brought officially to the attention of this law. It would expose the TOS to examination by the defence lawyers and no companies want those TOS or T&Cs to ever get in front of an actual court.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Not Surprised

          What about TOS saying you can't post a negative review? Those have gone to court. Having the extra negotiating power of it being a criminal conviction should help keep the public in line

  2. Snow Wombat
    Trollface

    Ahh boomers..

    They can't into technology legislation!

    Mind you, I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws.

    /shudder

    1. DNTP

      Re: Ahh boomers..

      Eh I dunno. You're comparing young and stupid people who mostly have their hearts in the right place, to old and stupid people coasting through political careers on family connections and business kickbacks who have no inclination to change/learn/help society.

    2. Jedit Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws"

      So are they.

      The lieutenant governor of Georgia just declared that he would kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta Airlines because in the wake of Parkland they ended their discount program for NRA members. Just the kind of lawmaker America needs!

      1. RandomFactor
        FAIL

        Re: "I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws"

        Georgia is a lot of things, but they like their guns as much as Texans do.

        If it was news to home-town Delta (based in Atlanta, GA) that they would get blowback from GA's public and NRA A+ rated legislators by publicly dissing the NRA, then they need to do some re-hiring.

        The trend in recent years of companies drunkenly recoiling from each new day's target for social outrage has been stupid since the beginning. I have no sympathy.

        >The lieutenant governor of Georgia just declared that he would kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta Airlines because in the wake of Parkland they ended their discount program for NRA members.

      2. Eddy Ito
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws"

        So let me understand. In the three way circle jerk, Delta stopped stroking the NRA. In order to keep being stroked by the NRA the Georgia politician is going to stop stroking Delta. Got it.

        Frankly I have no problem with eliminating corporate tax breaks for any reason so I'm largely ok with it. Personally I think they should all go home to masturbate and save the taxpayers even more money.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws"

          In the three way circle jerk, Delta stopped stroking the NRA. In order to keep being stroked by the NRA the Georgia politician is going to stop stroking Delta.

          Yeah. I'm no fan of the NRA or of the Georgia legislature. And I certainly don't see any reason why NRA membership should get you a discount on airline tickets; obviously it's just a marketing ploy. On the other hand, I also don't see why the Georgia legislature shouldn't withhold favors from Delta for any reason that makes them happy - there's no natural right for a corporation to get special tax treatment from the state.

          Mostly this is Georgia biting a hand that feeds it (how appropriate), but then Delta won't be dismantling their Atlanta hub operations anytime soon. Both of the primary players here have deep vested interests in one another, and they're just using the NRA as a marketing football.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws"

            "there's no natural right for a corporation to get special tax treatment from the state."

            It's called "We pay taxes in your state rather than another state." It's the same threat that maintains Big Oil's tax breaks. Better 10% of something than 100% of nothing, especially considering the business Atlanta gets as an airline hub.

        2. Jedit Silver badge

          Re: "I am so happy will not be around when "Generation Triggered" is writing the laws"

          @Eddy Ito: it's not the scrapping of the tax break that is important. It's that the L-G of Georgia is using his political power in the service of a private body. And not even to support the issue that group lobbies for - he's doing it so they can enjoy a completely unrelated privilege. It's naked corruption and may even be straight up illegal (IANAL).

  3. Donn Bly

    Government Intelligence

    Let's see...

    I visit a web page that pulls an image from a website that doesn't allow third party web sites to display their images as part of their terms and conditions - and now because my browser pulled the image I would be guilty of violating this proposed GA law.

    Or even better, I put a "condition" on a web page that says that it is against policy for someone from Georgia to visit it. Then "someone" sends the Georgia legislators a link to it and tells them that it has dirt on their opponents, and thus when they visit it they become criminals themselves.

    It shouldn't surprise me that the technological ignorance of most elected officials makes it into proposed legislation, but somehow it still does. Every year they seem to repeat their public displays of ignorance and incompetence when it comes to technology issues.

    And just to illustrate the level of common sense and intelligence of Georgia politicians, I remind you of Hank Johnson of Lithonia Georgia. So that I don't get accused of making things up, I will just give you a video record and let you decide for yourselves. https://youtu.be/v7XXVLKWd3Q

    Even worse, after this he was reelected.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Government Intelligence

      Nah, you don't want to ban the legislators - just put in a condition that anyone visiting must make a charity donation to some planned parenthood or LGBT charity

    2. FrozenShamrock

      Re: Government Intelligence

      It's not just their ignorance of modern technology; they are fairly ignorant of any technical field they have to legislate for, and not just in Georgia. It has always been thus and always will be. You can't really expect legislators to be experts in everything they have to deal with: banking, computer technology, finance, education, renewable energy, etc. The problem is when they begin to believe they really are experts at everything the way most lawyers do. Or, as is becoming more common, they turn to large donors to form their expert opinions.

  4. HughGeerection

    Seems that everybody is a criminal............

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      No, but everyone is somebody's criminal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Seems that everybody is a criminal............"

      Don't be silly, those with money are innocent.

  5. JustWondering
    Meh

    I don't see the problem

    So let them find out they have problems the hard way, if they are going to make helping them illegal.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: I don't see the problem

      Until a bank / health insurer / credit agency with your records moves its data processing to Georgia to take advantage of this and is hacked

    2. ds6

      Re: I don't see the problem

      Trial by fire is a technique you use against soldiers, metals, and hardcore gamers, not on companies and law-abiding citizens via state legislature.

      But I guess that's the world we live in now, eh? Everything'll be on fire eventually, so we'll be used to it...

      1. apveening Silver badge

        Re: Trial by fire

        Trial by fire is also a technique you use against criminally stupid legislation. Just make sure those legislators get convicted on a law they passed themselves (shouldn't be too difficult in this case).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Trial by fire

          I wonder how these politicians would feel if it were made illegal to submit laws that were later abused.

          If they turn round and ask how they could possibly know how it could be abused, sack them on the spot as being unfit for purpose.

          I would very much like (proper, old-fashioned) engineers to take over the world please.

          1. LucreLout

            Re: Trial by fire

            I wonder how these politicians would feel if it were made illegal to submit laws that were later abused.

            Just enshrine in law that all further bills must have a 10 year sunset clause. Then we get to see how the law is applied before deciding if we want to allow our legislature to pass a motion extending the sunset for another decade, or if changes to the law are required.

            It'd be almost like making the lazy good for nothing scum work for a living - it might even impinge their time available to harass their assitants.

            1. ds6

              Re: Trial by fire

              With how backed up seemingly every state and national legislative system is, bills would have to be retroactively enforced twenty years after they expire so a guy that defaces twitter.com with "poopy butts lol" gets a month at a juvenile correction center when he's now 35...

  6. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Devil

    Page 17 of my new website Terms of Service give me the worldly goods and firstborn child of all visitors. Can anyone recommend a good hosting company in Georgia?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Georgia?

    Isn't that where they film The Walking Dead?.....

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Georgia?

      And Dance of the Dead, and Zombieland.

      I'm sensing a theme here.

    2. RandomFactor
      Thumb Up

      Re: Georgia?

      What's fun is that sometimes they take over downtown streets and trash them up to film.

      Zombie's hanging out, smoking, chatting, passing the time, then someone yells action and they magically transform into shambling terrors.

      Interestingly they don't care if bystanders are in the background these days. Passing by on the way to lunch you can just stand outside the shot and watch. They just digitally remove you later.

      >Isn't that where they film The Walking Dead?.....

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.

    ergo

    If you outlaw researchers, only criminals will "research" systems for loopholes, attack vectors and the such.

  9. jake Silver badge

    To be fair ...

    ... Most of the rest of the US agrees that Georgia isn't known for it's vast collective intelligence. It has more of a half vast intelligence.

  10. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Murica

    What an embarrassment.

    Mike Judge is just prophetic

    Stupid is as stupid does

  11. Pat Harkin
    Trollface

    But... but... how do I log in?

    I mustn't access the computer until I'm authorised and that dopesn't happen until I enter my password but to get the login screen I have to send a request to the system and read what comes back...

    1. ds6

      I call it "TLS -1.0"

      That's why you send your unencrypted, plaintext username and password before the HTTPS TLS handshake! Then, the server knows you are a friend and doesn't automatically signal the lawyers your IP address :)

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Breaking at least 1 criminal law per hour is the new norm

    Welcome to societies governed by "representatives" and professional civil servants that need not fear the irate mob.

  13. Jay Lenovo
    FAIL

    Inappropriate access

    Georgia will feed their lawyers well with this caveman governing. (Ggrrr..VCR clock blinking... BAND BLINKY CLOCK! )

  14. Milton

    Dumb As Stumps

    I know this is a sensitive topic and rapidly degenerates into name-calling ("intellectual snob!" "eugenicist scum!" etc etc) but once again I wearily raise the question of whether, for the good of all humanity, we should introduce IQ testing for all candidates for public office. I accept IQ ain't perfect but, done properly, it's the least bad method we have now, if tests are sanitised for cultural bias and education, and cover the full cognitive gamut across verbal, math and visuospatial aptitude.

    In the UK we have a bunch of howling cretins in the Tory Party, people like IDS ("Stupid, even for a Guards officer"), Owen Paterson, Liam Fox, Angela Leadsom and the brain donor David Davis, busy turning into shyte every single thing they touch. (And May has been hiding her brain cell rather effectively too.)

    In the US, the presidency is currently infested by someone who was dropped on his head at the age of ten and has not matured a day since. Trump may be the most astoundingly ignorant human being ever to step into the Oval Office and is doing Vlad the Emailer's work in dragging America through the muck.

    If Man-Made Climate Change is the most serious threat faced by humanity, Number Two must surely be Imbecilic Fools In Office.

    Given the evidence of damage done by these hopeless morons, I don't think it would be unreasonable to set 110/115 (a little above average, but not implausibly 'gifted' level) as the required IQ cutoff point, averaged across all aptitudes.

    Further, by running a retroactive qualification process, we get the advantage of kicking out maybe a third of sitting MPs and congresscritters (the "encumbrances" rather than "incumbents") thereby immediately cleansing the stables of some of the worst dross.

    The Defenestrated Ones need not fear that their noble, sefless calling to public service will be wasted, however: we urgently need information on how refugees cope with new environments, so I propose that any wealth they may have accumulated/inherited/stolen is given to refugees' charities, and they themselves are sent to war-torn countries, whose language they do not speak, to experience life as benighted rejects, fleeing from one hostile environment to another. Any who survive can send reports to inform policy which (they can take great comfort in knowing) will be made by people smarter and better qualified than they are.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Dumb As Stumps

      Unfortunately it's those same dickwads that would need to vote for such a marvellous idea, and when have we ever known a politician to vote against their own self interest?

    2. ds6

      Re: Dumb As Stumps

      I like your style of writing and the cut of your swift left hook.

      But, I have a better idea, one that will benefit us all. Let's replace all people of power with gorillas! We can call them "The DK Crew" because they Don't Know how to do their jobs. At least then we have a more obvious reason as to why they continually push unintelligable, barely thought out legal gaff.

      ...

      What?

      They ARE unintelligable gorillas?

      Oh. Carry on then.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Dumb As Stumps

      The problem is that ANY test, regardless of how it started originally, CAN and WILL be corrupted. That's why any test to vote is considered a poll tax (and illegal under Article I, Section 9) in the US.

  15. mutin

    Is stupid as its gets

    Just to add my ten cents to public opinion that the proposed law is completely stupid and the result of incompetence. As CISSP and PhD I can say that people are right. It is stupid law. My POV is that it will not improve security at all. State of Georgia Cyber Security Task Force (I do not think it exists) will not be able to identify who exactly is trying to access a computer residing in this state. FBI will not. They are not stupid to help this state in such useless activity. Needless to say that the most serious penetrations happened came from spams. Wanna try to catch spammers? You'll get a bot probably sitting in one of G-senators' computer. Then jail this guy who actually was voting for this fake law.

  16. Geekpride

    Martial status

    "if the terms of service on a website require you to be truthful about, say, your weight or martial status " - overweight, unarmed and not very dangerous.

  17. cortland
    Facepalm

    No problem; call in the Russians.

    Нет проблем! Каменные горы красиво летом. Stone Mountain is beautiful in the summer.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    from responsibility comes freedom, not the otherway around

    Whew, Georgia, one of three states that don't have legislation !

    I wonder how the legislation is worded in the 49 states that DO have legislation,

    Does Georgia's new legislation have anything about the owners and operators of the website, and if they abuse their obligations, visitors, their data, or break their own TOS ?

    I am in favor of legislation making it illegal for others to access a computer without written permission. but yes, it would cause researches problems, although then there could be laws requiring a level of security that would require due diligence in maintaining the servers, computers, modems or other devices to prevent such abuses.

    I for one think the TOS and TOSsers are a pain in the ass anyway, using Copyright and Patent licenses to manipulate their customers. Many sites are for support for software included in hard products, they get your money and/or data then don't really want to help with anything that doesn't create a new source of income.

    Just as there is a (CC) Creative commons I reckon there should be a (CC-TOS) as a Standard Terms Of Service, that could be applied, more reasonably and fairly across the internet, not just USA.

    In Australia we have "fit for purpose" and "contract of sale" laws, that apply irrespective to other statements regarding supply of pretty much anything. Also in the legal case, 'Gutnic V the New York Times', as a side issue the court found that: Anything being shown on a screen in Australia was deemed to be published in Australia regardless of the location it was served from. This applies to pages as well as TOC and claims, offerings etc. If the site failed security it may not be fit for purpose and have obligations under sale laws.

    And in California it came to light of law regarding copyright abuse invalidate copyright. Perhaps something like it can be argued and to be extended to apply nationally such that bad security invalidates (Georgia's) computer legislation for researchers and bug finders.

    Can Georgia make websites responsible for the data and statements?

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