State v. Anthony A. Allen

917 P.2d 848 (1996)

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State v. Anthony A. Allen

Kansas Supreme Court
917 P.2d 848 (1996)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Anthony Allen (defendant) used his computer, which was equipped with a modem, to call Southwestern Bell computer modems. The unlisted numbers for the modems were obtained by random dialing. The calls were of short duration. Allen called telephone numbers for two Southwestern Bell systems, both of which required a password for access. Allen did not attempt to enter a password for either system, nor did he damage, modify, destroy, or copy any data, or damage any computer equipment or software. Southwestern Bell decided it would be prudent to upgrade its password security system and did so at a cost of nearly $24,000. Allen was charged with violating Kansas Statutes Annotated (K.S.A.) 21-3755 for intentionally and without authorization gaining access to and damaging a computer system that caused a loss of between $500 and $25,000. The trial court found that Allen had simply used his computer to call unlisted telephone numbers and did nothing more than establish a telephone connection; he did not gain access because he did not produce the password that would have permitted him to interact with data in the computer systems. The trial court dismissed the complaint, finding there was no probable cause to believe Allen had committed a crime. On appeal, the state (plaintiff) argued that Allen’s conduct in acquiring and calling the unlisted numbers was an “approach” that constituted gaining access to a computer system under the statute.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Larson, J.)

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