California Penal Code § 530.5 (a) Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
Theft is not limited to personal property like vehicles, jewelry, and money. A defendant may also be charged with stealing or taking the identity of another. Identity theft is a felony that has gained the attention ion of the public. Technological and digital advances have made it easier for defendants to use an identity in an unlawful manner.
Even a simple “hack” of someone’s twitter account could lead to possible criminal liability under this statute. If a defendant used someone’s personal information to access a twitter account and post explicit information, without the consent of the accountholder, the defendant could be charged for identity theft because he committed an unlawful act. It does not have to be a criminal unlawful act; it could also be a civil tort.