HB 1714 Virginia Computer Crimes Act; electronic mail.
John H. Rust, Jr. | all patrons    ...    notes
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Summary as passed:
Virginia Computer Crimes Act; electronic mail. Amends Virginia’s long-arm statute to provide that using a computer or computer network located in Virginia constitutes an act in Virginia. The bill also (i) expands the definitions of “computer services” and “without authority” and provides a new definition for “electronic mail service provider” in the Virginia Computer Crimes Act; (ii) makes it the crime of computer trespass to (a) falsify or forge e-mail message transmission information in connection with unsolicited bulk e-mail and (b) knowingly sell, give, distribute, or possess software whose principal purpose is to facilitate unsolicited bulk e-mail; (iii) provides that electronic mail service providers shall not be liable for actions they take to prevent unsolicited bulk email; (iv) provides civil relief to an injured person, other than an electronic mail service provider, for actual damages or the lesser of $10 for each unsolicited bulk e-mail message or $25,000 per day and states that the injured person shall not have a cause of action against an electronic mail service provider which merely transmits the e-mail message; (v) provides civil relief to an injured electronic mail service provider for actual damages or the greater of $10 for each unsolicited bulk e-mail message or $25,000 per day; and (vi) cross-references the Virginia long-arm statute in the Virginia Computer Crimes Act to ensure the establishment of personal jurisdiction in Virginia’s courts. The purpose of the bill is curb a practice known as “spamming,” the sending of unsolicited electronic mail to unsuspecting recipients. The bill is a recommendation of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science and is identical to HB 1668 and SB 881.


Summary as passed House:
Virginia Computer Crimes Act; electronic mail. Amends Virginia’s long-arm statute to establish personal jurisdiction over any “person” who transmits or causes the transmission of unsolicited bulk electronic mail to or through an “electronic mail service provider’s” “computer network” located in Virginia, as those terms are defined in the bill. The bill also (i) expands the definitions of “computer services” and “without authority” and provides a new definition for “electronic mail service provider” in the Virginia Computer Crimes Act; (ii) makes it the crime of computer trespass to (a) falsify or forge e-mail message transmission information in connection with unsolicited bulk e-mail and (b) sell, give, distribute, or possess software whose principal purpose is to facilitate unsolicited bulk e-mail; (iii) provides that electronic mail service providers shall not be liable for action they take to prevent unsolicited bulk email; (iv) provides civil relief to an injured person, other than an electronic mail service provider, for actual damages or the lesser of $10 for each unsolicited bulk e-mail message or $25,000 per day and states that the injured person shall not have a cause of action against an electronic mail service provider which merely transmits the e-mail message; (v) provides civil relief to an injured electronic mail service provider for actual damages or the greater of $10 for each unsolicited bulk e-mail message or $25,000 per day; and (vi) cross-references the Virginia long-arm statute in the Virginia Computer Crimes Act to ensure the establishment of personal jurisdiction in Virginia’s courts.


Summary as introduced:
Virginia Computer Crimes Act; electronic mail. Redefines "computer services" for the purposes of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act to include Internet service providers’ networks and facilities located in the Commonwealth. The bill also adds the following to the list of those acts constituting use without authority or computer trespass: (i) using an Internet service e-mail system offered by a Virginia-based Internet service provider in contravention of the authority granted by or in violation of the policies set by the Internet service provider; (ii) falsifying e-mail header information in connection with, or becoming a subscriber of an Internet service provider in order to obtain e-mail addresses for the purpose of, the transmission of unsolicited bulk e-mail; and (iii) selling or distributing software which makes possible the transmission of false e-mail with the intent to facilitate the transmission of false e-mail. The bill provides for statutory civil damages of at least $500 per violation or actual damages, whichever is greater.