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Georgia Governor Vetoes Cybercrime Legislation

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Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has vetoed a bill criminalizing unauthorized computer access after receiving blowback from the state's booming cybersecurity industry.

The bill passed in March amid the final chaotic hours of the legislative session. It would have made it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail to intentionally access a computer or network without authorization.

It was designed to give law enforcement the ability to prosecute "online snoopers" — hackers who probe computer systems for vulnerabilities but don't disrupt or steal data.

But critics, including Google and Microsoft, urged Deal to veto the bill. They said the bill would have created new criminal liabilities for researchers who disclose weaknesses to improve cybersecurity.

Deal said the legislation could have inadvertently hindered organizations from protecting themselves against hacks.

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