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More Jail Time For Computer Crime Starting Next Month 419

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the third-arm-of-justice dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Washingtonpost.com is running a detailed story about how new changes to the sentencing guidelines will increase jail time for most computer crime cases, starting November 1. When will the feds learn that raising penalties isn't going to deter this type of crime? The piece ends with a quote from uberhacker Kevin Mitnick saying just that."
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More Jail Time For Computer Crime Starting Next Month

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  • by gfody (514448) * on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:01PM (#7119423)
    the punishment gets worse and worse until they actually catch one of the little bastards
    • Well, it's true and tragically funny.

      I was thinking the same thing and did not realize how funny it was until I saw the moderation.

      Perhaps some actual enforcement of some actual wrongdoing will deter crime, but not much hope of that either.
    • That's actually called a "progressive jackpot" ... where the prize amount increases by a dollar every minute (or by a $Y amount every X seconds, whatever). But yeah, the comparison is great. I bet the frequencies of winning/prosecution are somewhat similar, too. I think someone wins one of those jackpots every couple of months. Many times the machines are on nationwide networks (jackpot is the same in vegas and atlantic city), much like how the federal laws cover the whole nation. The comparisons are q
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:03PM (#7119439)
    Everyone hack as if it's your last month
  • MY exwife (Score:2, Funny)

    by LennyDotCom (26658)
    My ex-wife uses computers to run her company (political polling) and she cheats. So technically she is comitting a crime and using computers. Should she worry about his?

  • by RubberDuckie (53329) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:04PM (#7119448)
    It's about appeasing the masses. "Look", say the politicians, "We're tough on computer crime!" This will keep most people off the law makers backs.
    • And many people who commited crimes no worse than would get them 6 months community service from a city court will get 20 years in federal prison and then be exfelons forever afterward with many of their rights of citizenship permenantly removed.

      The laws will be misapplied, giving harsher and harsher sentences for more and more trivial offenses until everyone has a cousin or sibling who has been cruelly treated under these laws.

      Then a sense of outrage will ensue amongst the populace and these laws will be
    • You are of course right that it is not about deterring computer crime, and partly right when you say it's about politicians being able to say they are tough on such crimes. But IMHO what it is really about is multi-fold. Firstly it is about keeping a slave labour pool of willingnerds who can have their sentances magically communted for 'good service' in the name of national security or whatever - kind of 'la femme nikita' style. The US abolished literal slavery, much to the detriment of its economy, and
  • So if my car has a computer under the hood do I get a life sentence for speeding?

    Kevin....My roof is almost done. Email me.

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:06PM (#7119467)

    Currently, you can get more time for hacking your cablemodem than manslaughter. What's the point anymore?

    To any lawmakers out there who might read this - We Get It Already. Lay Off.

    Weaselmancer

    • by Cat_Byte (621676) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:28PM (#7119646) Journal
      Yeah it's the same with the MADD sponsored DUI laws. It's down to 1 beer makes anyone under 120 lbs legally drunk now and the laws get tougher & tougher. Currently in TX you get in more trouble for 2 beers than you would for being caught with halucinogens. You lose your license for 1 year for a first offense as of Sept 1. For 2 beers I had to pay $2500 bond, $2500 fines, $1500 lawyer fees, and $150 to get my vehicle back. Next phase is my insurance went up over $2000/year. All that was for cutting myself off at 2 beers and going home early.

      I know it sounds off topic, but making more laws does not prevent breaking the law. It is simply another source of income for law enforcement and the court system. You can compare it to the gun laws. There are more than enough laws on the books to enforce what they want (and then some) but it's a lack of enforcement that makes some people think more laws are needed.
    • "We Get It Already. Lay Off"

      Huh..coupled with:

      "When will the feds learn that raising penalties isn't going to deter this type of crime?"

      from the headline... I think there's a spot of point-missing going on. The idea is to make as many laws as possible so that everyone is breaking at least one of them. That way the goverment can get more money from you in fines. Its a sort of tax/protection racket rolled into one. But one which looks good in the papers. "He was a drug dealer"..."He was a hacker"...."He r
    • Statistics.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Genjurosan (601032) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:39PM (#7119724)
      I went out to the US Dept of Justice Statistics and Weaselmancer has a pretty good point.

      From: USOJP [usdoj.gov]

      Mean sentence for murder = 248 months (20.6 years)

      Hackers whose exploits result in injury or death -- if they disable emergency response networks or destroy electronic medical records, for example -- face 20 years to life in prison.

      Now, I note it does say death, and if a person commits a computer crime that results in death, fine 20 years+ is ok with me; however, injury doesn't warrant the minimum 20 years IMHO.

      What worse is that the average for rape is only about 11 years.
  • by downix (84795) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:06PM (#7119473) Homepage
    Next thing you know, prosecutors and corrupt police officers will be planting PalmPilots instead of pistols on folk to get harsher jail sentances.

    "Your honor, not only did this man murder his wife, he has an AOL account!"

    "hang him then fry him"
  • Guidelines (Score:3, Funny)

    by KevinMS (209602) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:08PM (#7119485)

    I think if the guidelines actually included the phrase
    "Federal pound me in the ass prison" it might help.

  • This may sound flippant, but they'll realize that increased penalties don't act as a deterrent around about the same time that that realize that fact for every other type of crime.
  • by JessLeah (625838) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:09PM (#7119495)
    ...regarding the word "hacker". As many of us here know, the term "hacker [catb.org]" does not mean "computer criminal", as the mainstream press continually connote or denote it. I've often heard the defense that "well, once 99% of people start using a given word in a particular sense, that becomes a/the 'correct' meaning." By this logic, the millions of people who point at their computer (the box with the power supply, optical drive(s), floppy drive(s), hard drive(s), PCI/AGP/ISA card(s), etc. in it) and call it a "CPU", or a "processor", or a "hard drive"-- or even a "modem"-- are correct. They're not, nor are the people who think that "hacker" means "cyber-criminal".

    I'd say that perhaps 99% of lay-people would, if shown a computer sans monitor, keyboard and mouse, call it either "a CPU", "a processor" or "a hard drive", and a few will call it "a modem" or "some computer thingy". This does not make these terms correct.

    "Hacker" will never mean "computer criminal", no matter how many ignorant journalists and non-techies take it as such.

    I am most definitely a hacker. I am most definitely not someone who breaks into systems, creates or uses exploits, makes viruses, etc. etc. etc.
    • (who lives in Jefferson City, TN) calls it "emodium"

      Just as with misuse of the term hacker, we eventually learn to deal with such ignorance.

      (My emodium has more cross compilers than your emodium, so there!)
    • Oh please. Get off your high horse. You go around saying that you're a hacker, and argue with the FBI agents once they handcuff you, jackass. I suppose that you could argue that "child molester" actually means a person who makes and sells ice cream, and you could wear a t-shirt that says "I am a child molester". You'd get a good ass pounding for that.
    • Welcome to the wonderful world of linguistics. Languages evolve. Clearly, people shouldn't go around speaking "french" or "spanish", because really, they are just misusing Latin. They are wrong, and they should be stopped, damnit!

      • Welcome to the wonderful world of linguistics. Languages evolve.


        Or, as in this case, devolve. When there used to be two terms for two different things, and now they both refer to the same thing as each other, that is NOT evolution.

        • That is evolution. The purpose of language is not to have a set of words that corresponds one to one with the set of concepts. It is to allow communication. In this case, the term 'hacker' has been adopted by people (including the media) to mean something different than it did originally. Why? Probably because most people don't care enough about the hacker/cracker distinction to keep two different lexicon entries for them. Thus, the natural progression (or evolution) is towards one word.
      • Languages evolve. The usual excuse for degeneration, confusion, and especially the downright intentional erosion of proper English. There is a difference between evolution and corruption, and it is that evolution the gestalt effect is beneficial mutation (and is SLOW!) and corruption is not beneficial.
    • Have it both ways? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sleepingsquirrel (587025) * <Greg.BuchholzNO@SPAMsleepingsquirrel.org> on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:47PM (#7119787) Homepage Journal
      Can't we have it both ways? For instance let's say we see the following headline in the local newspaper...
      Golfer bludgeons caddy with 9-iron
      ...are golfers now going to get their panties in a bunch because they've now be defamed as muderous thugs? Should we invent a new word to describe people who use golfing implements to commit crimes? But wasn't the killer still a golfer? Or do you have to have a certain handicap to really be considered a true golfer? Do we really think that if the local mobster strangled a person with a random USB cable lying around that the headline would describe the murderer as a hacker? Or just maybe when the word "hacker" is popularly used, it denotes at least a minimum of technical expertise, irrespective of whether the perpertrator was a mere script-kiddie (just like you don't have to be Tiger to be considered a golfer).
    • And while we're at it, should force everybody to revert to the old usages of common words from the middle ages? Should people stop using "awful" to mean "bad", and instead revert to using it to mean "inspiring awe"?

      Or should we just accept that languages evolve, and that many terms which started out life as sub-culture jargon may have their meanings broadened or altered as they enter mainstream usage?
    • by Srin Tuar (147269)

      Most of the non-technical people I know refer to their monitors as their "computer". (The box itself is of course just the CPU)

      I wonder, if common usage forces "hacker "to mean "computer criminal", will it force "computer" to mean "monitor".

  • That's odd. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    When will the feds learn that raising penalties isn't going to deter this type of crime? The piece ends with a quote from uberhacker Kevin Mitnick saying just that.

    That's funny. It deterred Kevin Mitnick for quite awhile---particularly when he was behind bars, and when he was prohibited from using a computer.
  • It's about actually punishing the crime. This might filter out a few people who would've committed a crime, but that's only a secondary function of the law. Given the greater damage incurred by attacks (worms and viruses being a key component of that), it seems fit to more severely punish those who take a part in this increased damage.
  • Spammers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erick the Red (684990) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:13PM (#7119529)
    Spammers already do all kinds of computer crimes (hijacking computers, etc.), and get no punishment, even after being reported. Sorry, but %100 more of zero is still zero.
  • Maybe slashdotters will choose to delete their leaked half-life code before they get terminated [slashdot.org] ;x (see the link)
  • Uhhhhh.... (Score:4, Flamebait)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:14PM (#7119537) Journal
    When will the feds learn that raising penalties isn't going to deter this type of crime?

    It won't deter this type of crime? I can assure you, I've seen plenty of situations where I've been tempted to play the line a bit, but when I think about my lovely wife, and 5 children, and the risk of penalties, I change my mind quickly.

    Perhaps we should realize that deterring a crime is not the same as eliminating it?

    A $200 fine for speeding will deter speeding - but it won't eliminate it.

    [ Dictionary.com ]

    v. deterred, deterring, deters v. tr.

    To prevent or discourage from acting, as by means of fear or doubt: "Does negotiated disarmament deter war?" (Edward Teller). See Synonyms at dissuade.

    • "Does negotiated disarmament deter war?" (Edward Teller).

      No, but it may well reduce the incidence of war, as well as reduce the negative effects of those wars that manage to occur.

      KFG
    • The prospect of any meaningful punishment will deter basically honest people (like I'll assume you are), but at the extremes I don't think differences in sentences have anything to do with deterrence. Nobody commits murder because they'll only get life in prison, as opposed to the death penalty.

      But deterrance isn't the only reason for sentencing. Some people just deserve to rot in jail. And perhaps a stiffer sentence will deter their next crime. That I can believe.
    • Re:Uhhhhh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by startled (144833) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @09:36PM (#7120128)
      There are several factors in deterrence. Two are perceived sentence, and perceived chance of getting caught.

      After a point, perceived sentence stops having a significant deterrent effect. Death penalty generally has no statistically measurable effect beyond a life sentence. Similarly for, say, 10 years vs. 5 years. 5 years vs. $200 fine, I haven't seen studies, but I would imagine that yes-- if the penalty for speeding were 5 years, a lot fewer people would speed.

      Perceived chance of getting caught can also make a huge swing. If you've hit the point where increasing the sentence really doesn't do much-- and it doesn't take long to hit that point-- this can be much more effective. If you know there's a 100% chance of getting caught, obviously you won't commit a crime with a significant penalty. If you know most people get caught, you'll look into other types of crime.

      Given that penalties for most serious computer offenses are already extremely high, perhaps they should focus on catching and prosecuting people for reasonable sentences, rather than hitting the occasional jackpot and throwing the guy in jail for life.

      Shit, if we kept on that trend, we might one day actually consider rehabilitation. Imagine, a prison doesn't guarantee a high recidivism rate!
    • Re:Uhhhhh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @09:54PM (#7120240)
      How much are we willing to befoul the constitution to deter crime? Jail time for a speeding ticket would deter speeding even more, but does the penalty fit the damage done? Do we really want a society where everyone falls in line based on fear? Like it or not, the constitution gives us the right to a reasonable punishment for a crime. Jail time is being thrown around far too casually by legislators these days. A suspension of our most basic right, freedom, is something to take very seriously.
  • The problem is that hackers don't make enough money. If hackers were regularly making 'donations' of a few (dozen) thousands of dollars to the campaigns of various politicians (or alternatively, causing the contents of those accounts to mysteriously evaporate), Capitol Hill would be a lot nicer to the hacker community.

    I mean just look at the lot of lying, and cheating stock brokers and corporate executives... If they were as poor as the average hacker, they'd be in a pound-your-ass prison faster than yo

    • campaigns of various politicians (or alternatively, causing the contents of those accounts to mysteriously evaporate),

      As much as I (still) like the idea, I realize that sucking money out of politicians' bank accounts would be a prime candidate if the PTO ever started accepting bad ideas. It's rather like taking a baseball bat to a wasp's nest... Even if you did manage to get away from it unscathed, your neighbours would hate you for the rest of your life.

  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:20PM (#7119585) Journal


    Hey boys...Just keep pumping out more of these "Hackers are Witches" kinda dumbass penalties and you're going to start to find that good computer help won't help your asses anymore.

    Get it?

  • Life? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by heli0 (659560) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:20PM (#7119588)
    I guess the guy(s) responsible for this are going to get a life sentence: Yes, the source code that has been posted is the HL-2 source code.... [homelan.com]

    Here is what we know:

    1) Starting around 9/11 of this year, someone other than me was accessing my email account. This has been determined by looking at traffic on our email server versus my travel schedule.

    2) Shortly afterwards my machine started acting weird (right-clicking on executables would crash explorer). I was unable to find a virus or trojan on my machine, I reformatted my hard drive, and reinstalled.

    3) For the next week, there appears to have been suspicious activity on my webmail account.

    4) Around 9/19 someone made a copy of the HL-2 source tree.

    5) At some point, keystroke recorders got installed on several machines at Valve. Our speculation is that these were done via a buffer overflow in Outlook's preview pane. This recorder is apparently a customized version of RemoteAnywhere created to infect Valve (at least it hasn't been seen anywhere else, and isn't detected by normal virus scanning tools).

    6) Periodically for the last year we've been the subject of a variety of denial of service attacks targetted at our webservers and at Steam. We don't know if these are related or independent.

    Well, this sucks.

    What I'd appreciate is the assistance of the community in tracking this down. I have a special email address for people to send information to, helpvalve@valvesoftware.com. If you have information about the denial of service attacks or the infiltration of our network, please send the details. There are some pretty obvious places to start with the posts and records in IRC, so if you can point us in the right direction, that would be great.

    We at Valve have always thought of ourselves as being part of a community, and I can't imagine a better group of people to help us take care of these problems than this community.

    Gabe Newell


  • Who cares if raising penalties doesn't result in lowering crime? It can't hurt and it looks like they're doing something in the public's eye. It's not like it takes as much effort as studying the problem and coming up with the best solution. Seriously though, do they think someone is sitting at their computer contemplating whether a couple of months of jail time is worth doing for the crime, or if two years might be too much. They don't think that they will get caught, or they are too addicted to (the trill
  • by Meor (711208) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:24PM (#7119613)
    This is why I don't like a lot of Slashdot readers. What options are you giving politicians in order to deter computer crimes? You guys say higher penalties don't deter crime; while that may be true, Slashdot has to be one of the biggest proponents of anonymous computing around. So if you don't want criminals to be named and you don't want them to be sentenced, what do you want to have happen to them? Is computer crime not really a crime?
  • by GojiraDeMonstah (588432) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:26PM (#7119630) Homepage
    ...or "rehabilitate" anybody. The intent is to control a kind of power that is greatly feared.

    Here's an analogy, which I'm sure has flaws but here goes anyway.

    This is like burning witches at the stake. Witches were thought to have control over nature and man via black magic, special knowledge of the occult, etc. We've all heard the saying that advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic to those who don't understand it.

    When I hear things like the giant brou-hahas made over websites using "cookies" (gasp!), I realize how mysterious computers must seem to ordinary non-tech people. When bad things (virii, DDOS attacks) start happening to computers and web sites, it must be especially scary to these folks because they didn't really understand what was going on in the first place, and now it's all gone to crap for no easily explainable reason.

    All of this fear and ignorance eventually bubbles over into rage, and an urge to lash out towards those perceived to be responsible.

    Yes, I realize that a cracker is not a perfect analogy to a witch because the cracker is actually performing malicious actions. But there seem to be many examples of white-hats getting snagged in this over-zealous dragnet (the Adrian Lamo case for instance).

    The extent to which The Gubment has started prosecuting these crimes smacks of fear and ignorance, just like the Red Scare, and the original witch hunts. The idea that Kevin Mitnick could actually call in a nuke strike from a payphone... idiots!
  • Rereading (Score:4, Funny)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:27PM (#7119633) Homepage
    More Jail Time For Computer Crime Starting Next Month

    Anyone else read that as someone getting jailed for a computer crime that will happen in the future?
  • Aren't the sentences for themes crimes overblown as it is? Why don't they just declare the death penalty for all "hacking" crimes and get it over with? This way we at least don't have to spend money on pushing the legislation through.
  • by puzzled (12525) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:34PM (#7119691) Journal
    Its politically beneficial for politicians to appear tough on crime. This move does get the political points but it leaves a long term mess for a prison system already over burdened by mandatory minimum sentences and it makes judges into clerks, rather than intelligent wielders of the law.

    Look at California; direct democracy there lets the voters feel good for one election and saddles the politicians(managers, lets remember) with situations that just can't be made to work - you *must* provide more services, but not raise taxes.

    Disaster ensues when you decouple responsbility and authority to discharge the duties. Judges are being hamstrung, reform has become impossible for nonviolent offenders in many areas, and it is only going to get worse.

    I'll tell a personal story about what a joke mandatory minimum sentences are.

    I have a friend who has a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart mounted in a little wooden box. He operates on one lung, shrapnel from the booby trap he set off while on patrol in the Mekong delta still comes to the surface in his back, but he kept his M60 lit up covering the LZ while the rest of the platoon retreated to the choppers.

    He was involved in agricultural research and he ran a computer shop. One of his computer shop customers laid hands on his ag business information, ordered methamphetamine precursors, and then implicated my war hero friend to cover himself when he got busted.

    Because of the manner in which the prosecutor handled the case the judge had to sentence this guy for something. He said he wanted to have him do forty hours of public service to remind him to keep his business records locked. He served six years in a federal camp.

  • Anyone else notice this?

    The new guidelines let victims tally financial loss based on the costs of restoring data, fixing security holes, conducting damage assessments and lost revenue.

    Now, I don't know about you, but fixing security holes is one of my jobs for systems I am involved with, not something I do just to rack up penalties in a trial.
  • If you are going to get life in prison, why wouldnt you kill to stay out? Most people would rather die than spend life in prison.

    I hope all you slashdot readers are teaching your kids about these injustices, so when they grow up, and become the majority, they can vote these laws down. Cant change them now, too many people who vote, who dont understand computers and buy this "Hacker Hype" laws.

    Just like you cant get a law passed without the "Blue Hair" votes, when we are the "Blue Hair" people, maybe times
  • by Excen (686416) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @08:46PM (#7119775) Homepage Journal
    Higher sentences for hackers while Ken Lay et al are still sitting in their multimillion dollar mansions? Does anybody out there sense severe, disgusting irony?
  • It's a tool. Bad analogy time: one person breaks into a house with a baseball bat, and another using a hammer. Why would we need a law that said using one over the other should lead to a different sentence?

    Better analogy time. One person destroys data by hacking into the system and deleting the data, the other physically walks to where the data is kept and pulls out a magnet. Why should that be a different sentence?
  • When will the feds learn that raising penalties isn't going to deter this type of crime?

    Increasing penalties will NOT deter script kiddies. If the Feds arrested some teenager, the juvi courts wouldn't have a CLUE what to do with him. He wasn't shooting up, spraypainting a bridge, shoplifting or commiting murder - where's the crime? Case Dismissed, NEXT!

    This law is geared towards ADULTS that know better. Adults that write worms, viruses and launch malicious attacks that target a specific company.

    More

  • by pknut (571294) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @09:01PM (#7119888) Homepage

    The UK already has fairly severe (IMO) penalties for computer crime. The Computer Misuse Act of 1990 [hmso.gov.uk] makes unauthorized access of a computer system a crime with a maximum sentence of 6 months or a fine of 2000. If there is an intent to commit a crime, then maximum sentence increases to 5 years. The unauthorized alteration of computer data also carries a maximum sentence of 5 years.

    The Act covers any crime with a significant link in the UK. Additionally, it also includes conspiracy and incitement. Personally, I believe that the Act was a knee jerk reaction to the thought of criminals running round a wired nation. However, it is rare for somebody to be prosecuted under the Act.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @09:12PM (#7119957)

    Drew: Damn that Nigel! I swear - he's stealing money from the company children's softball fund we started last week. I just wish there was a way we could get a look at his computer, and maybe stick it to him!

    Lewis: You know - I found this program last night while looking for... stuff... online, and I think it could let you know what's on his system!

    Drew: Really? Let's get to it then! [random typing-motions on the keyboard]

    Drew: It's true - he DID steal those funds! Wait until everyone sees this!

    [The Next Day, drew shows up to work with the local softball team.]

    Drew: Nigel - we're onto you! I want you to fess up and appologize to these children.

    Nigel: Ah, Mr. Carey. Hi kids. Yes - I'd like to appologise for what you're about to see. Allright boys - take him away!

    [Police swarm in, grabbing Drew Carry violently. ]

    Drew: What? What's all this - he's the one that's stealing from these kids!

    Police officer: Yeah - just the kind of slander I'd expect to hear from a dirty HACKER!

    Announcer: Next episode on the Drew Carry show - Day one of Drew's 25 year prison sentence. Remember kids - don't use computers!

    Ryan Fenton
  • Bah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ikn (712788)
    Glad to see the Justice system taking on important matters. I mean, since we started throwing the death penalty around as a deterrent, look how little murder occurs!
    Oh wait...
  • Do you really think Mitnick will start hacking again or was his previous time spent as Bruno's bitch a deterrent?

    Remember, the younger you are, the cuter you look. :)

  • What I find funny is that so far we have prosecuted 1 person for enron, with a small sentence. Yet we spend millions going after grey hats and then keep them in prison for eons.
  • by eniu!uine (317250) on Thursday October 02, 2003 @09:48PM (#7120215)
    Why do we need harsher penalties for 'hackers'? It's because there doesn't seem to be an end to computer crime. Unfortunately, this is not the answer. I wouldn't hesitate to say that most computer criminals aren't even aware of the penalties until they get caught. They are concerned with only one thing: the chances of getting caught. The answer should be to take some of the money spent incarcerating people and make security a priority. Offer some tools and education. All this is going to do is put more troubled kids in jail for longer. I don't know about the rest of you, but if I was tried under current law for everything I did when I was a teen, I'd still be in jail right now. Give them a chance to become productive citizens.

    • Why do we need harsher penalties for 'hackers'? It's because there doesn't seem to be an end to computer crime. Unfortunately, this is not the answer."

      What is the answer? Coddling them? Blaming their parents?

      "I wouldn't hesitate to say that most computer criminals aren't even aware of the penalties until they get caught."

      Ignorance of the consequences is no excuse.

      "They are concerned with only one thing: the chances of getting caught."

      Because the chances are low.

      "The answer should be to take some of
  • In other news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by coolmacdude (640605) on Friday October 03, 2003 @01:08AM (#7121308) Homepage Journal
    Murderers continue to get 5 to 10 in some states.
  • by Syberghost (10557) <syberghost@sybe[ ]ost.com ['rgh' in gap]> on Friday October 03, 2003 @12:28PM (#7124858) Homepage
    When will the feds learn that raising penalties isn't going to deter this type of crime?

    When/if somebody demonstrates that to be true?

    Or are you making the classic "less than 100% deterrence == 0% deterrence" mistake?

    The piece ends with a quote from uberhacker Kevin Mitnick saying just that.

    It's deterring him pretty well.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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