SB 1477

85(R) - 2017
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice
Criminal Procedure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Royce West

Bill Caption

Relating to ransomware; creating a criminal offense. 

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

The bill would define Ransomware as software installed onto a computer, computer network, or computer system that prevents the owner from accessing information on that system. A person would commit an offense if they installed the software and demanded payment in exchange for allowing the person to have access to the information. If the value of the payment, or other consideration, were less than $100 the crime would be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. This bill establishes penalties scaling up to a first-degree felony if the value of the extortion payment is above $300,000. 

If the information that is being held ransom is considered privileged information, then an offense would be punishable as a state jail felony if the value being demanded is less than $2,500. If the value being extorted is between $2,500 and $30,000, or if the client or patient of a victim suffers harm attributable to the offense, it would be punishable as a third-degree felony. The penalties in this bill scale up to a first degree felony if the value is $150,000 or more, or if the ransom resulted in serious bodily injury to a patient or client of the victim. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

On one hand this bill is an expansion of government since these offenses are currently punishable in other parts of the code. On the other hand, the rate at which the market drives social change is much greater than the rate at which governments can regulate the use of technology. Due to how slow government responds to currents in the private sector, there is an argument for laws that keep up with technology. We will remain neutral on SB 1477 because it has an equal and opposite effect on our liberty principles.  

Organizations Supporting

Sheriffs' Association of Texas