Texas Computer Crime Law
as passed by the Texas Legislature in 1994 . . .
TEXAS PENAL CODE
TITLE 7. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY
CHAPTER 33. COMPUTER CRIMES
In this chapter:
(1) "Access" means to approach, instruct, communicate with, store
data in, retrieve or intercept data from, alter data or computer
software in, or otherwise make use of any resource of a computer,
computer system, or computer network.
(2) "Communications common carrier" means a person who owns or
operates a telephone system in this state that includes equipment
or facilities for the conveyance, transmission, or reception of
communications and who receives compensation from persons who use
(3) "Computer" means an electronic, magnetic, optical,
electrochemical, or other high-speed data processing device that
performs logical, arithmetic, or memory functions by the
manipulations of electronic or magnetic impulses and includes all
input, output, processing, storage, or communication facilities
that are connected or related to the device.
(4) "Computer network" means the interconnection of two or more
computers or computer systems by satellite, microwave, line, or
other communication medium with the capability to transmit
information among the computers.
(5) "Computer program" means an ordered set of data representing coded
instructions or statements that when executed by a computer cause
the computer to process data or perform specific functions.
(6) "Computer security system" means the design, procedures, or other
measures that the person responsible for the operation and use of
a computer employs to restrict the use of the computer to
particular persons or uses or that the owner or licensee of data
stored or maintained by a computer in which the owner or licensee
is entitled to store or maintain the data employs to restrict
access to the data.
(7) "Computer services" means the product of the use of a computer,
the information stored in the computer, or the personnel
supporting the computer, including computer time, data processing,
and storage functions.
(8) "Computer system" means any combination of a computer or computer
network with the documentation, computer software, or physical
facilities supporting the computer or computer network.
(9) "Computer software" means a set of computer programs, procedures,
and associated documentation related to the operation of a
computer, computer system, or computer network.
(10) "Computer virus" means an unwanted computer program or other set
of instructions inserted into a computer's memory, operating
system, or program that is specifically constructed with the
ability to replicate itself or to affect the other programs or
files in the computer by attaching a copy of the unwanted program
or other set of instructions to one or more computer programs or
(11) "Data" means a representation of information, knowledge, facts,
concepts, or instructions that is being prepared or has been
prepared in a formalized manner and is intended to be stored or
processed, is being stored or processed, or has been stored or
processed in a computer. Data may be embodied in any form,
including but not limited to computer printouts, magnetic storage
media, laser storage media, and punchcards, or may be stored
internally in the memory of the computer.
(12) "Effective consent" includes consent by a person legally
authorized to act for the owner. Consent is not effective if:
(A) induced by deception, as defined by Section 31.01, or induced
(B) given by a person the actor knows is not legally authorized to
act for the owner;
(C) given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or
defect, or intoxication is known by the actor to be unable to
make reasonable property dispositions;
(D) given solely to detect the commission of an offense; or
(E) used for a purpose other than that for which the consent was
(13) "Electric utility" has the meaning assigned by Subsection (c),
Section 3, Public Utility Regulatory Act (Article 1446c, Vernon's
Texas Civil Statutes).
(14) "Harm" includes partial or total alteration, damage, or erasure
of stored data, interruption of computer services, introduction of
a computer virus, or any other loss, disadvantage, or injury that
might reasonably be suffered as a result of the actor's conduct.
(15) "Owner" means a person who:
(A) has title to the property, possession of the property, whether
lawful or not, or a greater right to possession of the
property than the actor;
(B) has the right to restrict access to the property; or
(C) is the licensee of data or computer software.
(16) "Property" means:
(A) tangible or intangible personal property including a computer,
computer system, computer network, computer software, or data;
(B) the use of a computer, computer system, computer network,
computer software, or data.
33.02. Breach of Computer Security
(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly accesses a
computer, computer network, or computer system without the
effective consent of the owner.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or
knowingly gives a password, identifying code, personal
identification number, debit card number, bank account number, or
other confidential information about a computer security system to
another person without the effective consent of the person
employing the computer security system to restrict access to a
computer, computer network, computer system, or data.
(c) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the
actor's intent is to obtain a benefit or defraud or harm another,
in which event the offense is:
(1) a state jail felony if the value of the benefit or the amount
of the loss or harm is less than $20,000; or
(2) a felony of the third degree if the value of the benefit or
the amount of the loss or harm is $20,000 or more.
(d) A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and any
other section of this code may be prosecuted under either or both
It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 33.02 that
the actor was an officer, employee, or agent of a communications
common carrier or electric utility and committed the proscribed act or
acts in the course of employment while engaged in an activity that is
a necessary incident to the rendition of service or to the protection
of the rights or property of the communications common carrier or
33.04. Assistance by Attorney General
The attorney general, if requested to do so by a prosecuting attorney,
may assist the prosecuting attorney in the investigation or
prosecution of an offense under this chapter or of any other offense
involving the use of a computer.
Steve Jackson Games | SJ Games vs. the Secret Service