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Obama Admin Wants Hackers Charged As Mobsters 568

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-punishment-fit-the-crime dept.
GovTechGuy writes "The Obama administration wants hackers to be prosecuted under the same laws used to target organized crime syndicates, according to two officials appearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning. From the article: 'Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker and Secret Service Deputy Special Agent in Charge Pablo Martinez said the maximum sentences for cyber crimes have failed to keep pace with the severity of the threats. Martinez said hackers are often members of sophisticated criminal networks. "Secret Service investigations have shown that complex and sophisticated electronic crimes are rarely perpetrated by a lone individual," Martinez said.'"
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Obama Admin Wants Hackers Charged As Mobsters

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  • Too bad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @09:51PM (#37335300)

    Obama doesn't apply the same standard to the Teamsters and Jimmy Hoffa Jr.

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @09:51PM (#37335304)

    How about charging their fellow sociopaths - in the Administration & Congress - as mobsters?

  • by jgreco (1542031) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @09:56PM (#37335340)

    Seems like when they find that the electronic crimes are not perpetrated by a lone individual, then they ought to be able to target them appropriately.

    I worry, however, that this sort of thing would be used to justify ruining the life of some poor dumb kid whose knowledge was larger than his wisdom.

  • by timlyg (266415) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:02PM (#37335374) Homepage

    How is printing money from thin air not the same as mobster?

  • by santax (1541065) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:04PM (#37335386)
    That is what this is about, make no mistake. Here most people now that 'anonymous' are mostly kids from 4chan, doing what kids and teens in general do... get pissed about injustice and morally wrong things. Hell I have one trick I have been using for years now and it is working great. If you want to know if something is fair or doing justice? Ask a child! They know! In the news, the public that doesn't know 4chan and the truth behind this non-organization, is being told that this is a group of people that know each other, that make plans, that gather together... For evil and to monetize on it... We all know that is bull. But the general public doesn't. This is just another step in that direction. Let's call them mobsters.... In the meantime however, on the background there are still the wikileaks cables burning. If these guys are so upset about crimes, they would have resigned a long time ago since well... their own jobs consists mostly out of committing crimes on a global scale. They know it, I know it and I'm pretty sure that deep in your heart, you know it too.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:07PM (#37335416)

    There are laws against belonging to a criminal organization, under the RICO Act. Those laws were introduced in the 1970s, long after Capone's time, precisely because going after mob leaders for tax evasion isn't a good strategy (after Capone, they started paying their taxes), and neither is letting the leader get away simply because he didn't get his hands dirty.

    The RICO Act requires an organization to commit a pattern of certain crimes before it can be charged with racketeering. Among those crimes are theft, fraud, and money laundering, all of which can be applied to organized groups of hackers. It seems completely reasonable to apply the law in this way. Of course the Slashdot anarchists will decry any law enforcement whatsoever.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:24PM (#37335524)

    Rather than the maximum sentences for cyber crimes have failed to keep pace with the severity of the threats, it seems that in many cases the problem is that hacked party's network security has failed to keep pace with the value of the data.

    If a thief breaks a company's car window (where there's a sign that says "Credit card numbers stored here!") and steals a printout with a million credit card numbers, everyone will say the company was stupid for leaving the printout sitting on the car seat.

    Yet when a hacker exploits a well known (and easily eliminated) SQL injection vulnerability to do the same thing, suddenly the hacker is escalated to "organized crime" level?

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:26PM (#37335536)

    Don't be so hard on yourself. I only saw one now/know error in your whole post, despite lots of nows and knows. Your English seems perfectly fine. One error is easily attributable to a simple typo; maybe you didn't hit the 'k' key hard enough. It's only when you make the same dumb mistake over and over and over that you look like you're illiterate. This isn't a college English essay here, so perfection isn't necessary (though this shouldn't be construed to say that totally sloppy writing is OK either).

    You remind me of non-native English writers who ask forgiveness for their English writing, when their writing is frequently 10x better than the crap that our (America's) younger generation is putting out.

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:28PM (#37335548)

    I only wish they would run the country like mobsters running their day to day operations. Mobsters usually deliver the paid-for product. Mobsters don't pretend they're doing God's work. Mobsters don't go out of their way to start gunfights with uninvolved parties, and they don't irradiate their own customers in the name of "security." Mobsters keep two sets of books like the government does, but unlike the government's, one of them reflects reality. Someone who loses 22 C-130 cargo planes full of Mob cash can expect to be held to account for it.

    We aren't run by mobsters, we're run by idiots. This is why I have no patience for people like Warren Buffett who prattle on about how taxes need to be raised on "the rich." Why? So the government can lose 23 C-130s full of $100 bills next time?

  • by hrvatska (790627) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:29PM (#37335560)
    Whenever someone is promoting a law that is overly broad they always assure the public that it will only be used to go after the meanest, most terrible, and reprehensible people. Next thing you know the law is being used to prosecute small fry. My favorite example is teenage girls being charged with distributing child porn for sending pictures of themselves to friends.
  • by adewolf (524919) <adewolf@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:41PM (#37335624) Journal
    I have not patience for tea partiers who want to destroy this country by dismantling the federal government and putting into law Christian theocratic policies. NO THANK YOU.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:43PM (#37335632) Homepage Journal
    the 'organized syndicates' you talk about operate out of china, russia, and there is nothing in hell's depths you can do to them. unless you start third world war.
  • by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:44PM (#37335642)

    We do need to raise taxes on the rich, among other things. The fact that the government isn't efficient doesn't mean we should reduce our revenues. That would just make us inefficient and broke. This isn't a company where it can go out of business and be replaced by a new one, at least not without massive suffering and bloodshed.

    We should try to get the government to run more efficiently, but we should also pay our bills in the meantime.

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:46PM (#37335652) Homepage
    Defacing a website: Trivial

    Stealing money from people over the internet: Serious

    But can our government tell the difference?  I don't think so, yet.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:47PM (#37335662) Journal
    while bankers that have stolen BILLIONS, are friends? Hmmm. You crackers need to hire a lobbyist.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:54PM (#37335710) Homepage Journal

    You voted for Bush and Cheney twice, Teabagger. And your local Republican who voted for all their lies and crimes.

    We're just living with the consequences of your insanity.

  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:54PM (#37335712)

    I only wish they would run the country like mobsters running their day to day operations. Mobsters usually deliver the paid-for product.

    So does Congress. We just happen not to be their customer, except once every two to six years.

  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @10:55PM (#37335714)

    Sorry Tea Partiers are more like terrorists.

    For what? For peacefully working within the political process to support leaders whom they believe represent their interests? That makes them terrorists? Oh right, they don't agree with you.

    It's already becoming a trend in the media to label as "terrorist" anyone who disagrees with you. It's the new "racist" just as "racist" was the new "communist", "communist" was the new "uppity dark-skinned person" and that was the new "witch".

    Congratulations. You are a useful idiot who is taking his place as a part of a system of oppression. I know you didn't arrive at the conclusion that "Tea Partiers are terrorists" by your own independent examination of the actions of Tea Party supporters. I know that because it isn't possible. Their peaceful participation in the political process is the exact opposite of blowing things up and murdering civilians in order to advance a political agenda. That means you are the recipient of some carefully crafted brainwashing, propaganda, whatever you want to call it. Like all such recipients, you will excuse and defend what you now consider your own original idea. Again, congratulations.

    You really have no idea the forces that are behind your passionate beliefs or just how dangerous this really is. Once the label of "terrorist" is applied so carelessly, you are now in a world where anyone can be considered a terrorist. Once that happens, you're only a baby step away from suspending their civil liberties at will. As long as you get the childish satisfaction of making someone look bad because you disagree with them it'll all be worth it, right? At least until you become the next terrorist. But don't worry, whoever calls you that will enjoy it as much as you did when you imagined the tables could never be turned on yourself.

    That saying "first they came for the Jews, but since I was not a Jew I did not stand up .. .. .. then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me" was written for people like you. It was intended for the early stages of this kind of monstrosity, when it looks innocent enough, when you can still comfortably call "tin-foil hatter" instead of "prophet" anyone who can see what's coming, when it's embryonic and could still be easily stopped. After that time, it's too late and must run its course. Not that this means anything to you, I'm sure.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @11:00PM (#37335754) Homepage Journal

    Mobsters don't usually deliver the paid-for product, except when the customer is another mobster, backing up their orders with a gun. Mobsters do go out of their way to start gunfights with uninvolved parties. Because mobsters are assholes.

    You've got to stop thinking mobsters are Al Pacino and Marlon Brando. They're the thugs downtown and behind the gate in the suburb who rob and kill for business, and who also rob and kill on their way up for fun. Living in and around NYC and New Orleans, I've seen the real thing. You evidently haven't.

    As for raising taxes on the rich, the government's failure to tax the rich isn't cutting into the C-130s the Bush/Cheney government "lost" (to some mobster). Those flights will continue forever, so long as Republicans like you keep voting for Republicans like them. But without raising taxes on the rich what gets cut off is education of everyone but the rich, investments in science that keep the US ahead of our competitors and worth believing in, and enforcing laws that put some limits on how the rich abuse you. How surprising that Warren Buffet knows this, but you - some random Slashdotter - don't.

    We are run by the people you Republicans keep electing. Yes, idiots. But not the kind you see on Fox. The kind you see in the mirror.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @11:04PM (#37335796) Homepage Journal

    No, it's been proven over and again that group crimes are different, and usually worse, than crimes by an individual. It's been proven for a long time that when groups attack people and our rights, the law must attack the group - not just members of the group. It's necessary.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @11:17PM (#37335872) Homepage Journal

    As somebody else pointed out, look up RICO. What I'd like to do take issue with your implicit assumption that *being* a mobster does not do the kind of harm that is obviously criminal.

    Suppose you join the mob as their computer geek. You help them encrypt their records and all kinds of other things people in general have a right to do, but you do it with the full and explicit understanding that you're helping the mob kill and rob people. None of the things you do all day long like check the mail server logs for hackers or generating crypto keys for the hitmen is illegal in itself. And because you're a consummate professional, you fix things that the really sensitive information is safe even from you. If one of those hitmen murders somebody, you had no specific knowledge that specific murder was going to take place, so you can't be prosecuted for the murder. You *did* intentionally participate in the murder by helping the hitman do his job. It's possible the murder might not have taken place without your help (e.g., that the cops would have found the unencrypted contract on a laptop). But your criminal intent is effectively "laundered" so it can't be attached to any single crime.

    I think that kind intentional contribution to many crimes without specific knowledge of any would be the point of applying something like RICO to black hat hackers. Let's say you're part of a hacker gang that steals identities. You don't necessarily participate directly, but play a supporting role knowing that this is what's going on. Although you knowingly play a critical role in stealing thousands of identities, you don't can't be implicated in any single instance of theft because you didn't know that individual theft was going to happen. So you acted with criminal intent, participating in thousands of thefts, but because that theft can't be tied to any one of those thefts you can't be charged with identity theft. That's because you're not an identity thief, you're an identity theft *racketeer*.

    That's what's going on here. They're going to go after criminal hackers using racketeering laws that were designed for just that purpose. How many years have we been saying that putting "cyber-" in front of something doesn't make it a new kind of crime? Same goes here. Bringing up Capone here is quite apropos. Saying anyone charged with tax evasion is being charged as a "Mobster" would be logically equivalent to saying that anyone charged for racketeering is being charged as a "Mobster".

  • Re:Too bad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by alexborges (313924) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @11:25PM (#37335932)

    Ah but if he's in your ignore list, how did you see his post?

  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:08AM (#37336156) Homepage

    Once the label of "terrorist" is applied so carelessly, you are now in a world where anyone can be considered a terrorist. Once that happens, you're only a baby step away from suspending their civil liberties at will. As long as you get the childish satisfaction of making someone look bad because you disagree with them it'll all be worth it, right?

    Why do I get that feeling you sit perfectly quietly as the right wing labels civil rights activists as terrorists, liberals as socialists, atheists as heathens, and women who get abortions as murderers?

    People like you may like to ignore it, but the right has brought on being labeled by their own labeling of everything they disagree with, since the colonization of North America. The Tea Party and their supporters advocate terrorizing those they disagree with, and mass scale slander against those they dislike, yet there are always plenty to defend when those people- when those terrorists- are called what they are. Tell me why is that.

    Why can the right go unscathed in labeling huge swaths of people as "unamerican" and worse for centuries, and yet it is the liberals who are constantly attacked for calling a tiny group managing to control national politics through propaganda and force terrorists? How many times are Republicans called terrorists on total - and how many times is Obama alone called a socialist?

    I'll tell you why I think it is. Because just like fiscal conservatism, just like rhetoric about personal rights, and just like patriotism, political correctness is a tool that fascists learned artful use of. They obey it exactly when it suits them, and decry it whenever it does not.

    You betray your own biases too obviously, and yet already many here in comments have jumped upon your bandwagon to defend the indefensible. How easily people are taken in by appeals to their own values, even when the goal of the appeal is against their own interests.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:20AM (#37336230)

    We do need to raise taxes on the rich, among other things.

    They've been raised. Taking more away from "the rich" (the definition of which BTW will eventually encompass you if left alone) will mean that they will just leave, taking all the money they have with them. Why wouldn't they? If we simply shoot "The Rich" and take all the money they have, it does jack and squat to reduce the debt we have going. That should tell you a little something about how important taxing "The Rich" is vs. addressing the actual problem: spending.

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @12:39AM (#37336332) Journal

    Let's be clear here: Obama is not, and will not be remembered as the worst president ever - nor as the worst in recent history.

    But dammit, he's probably the most _dissappointing_ president in recent history. Nobody expected Bush jr. to be anything but the incompetent warmongering buffoon he proved himself. Nobody expected great things of Clinton, but he wasn't really any worse than expected either. Hell, Bush Sr. was actually a pleasant surprise.

    But Obama was the last great hope for the US, and he has turned into the worst sort of lying, deceitful, two-faced power monger. It's not that he's a dirtbag, it's that he actually came across as someone who gave a shit--until he got elected.

    My US friends, I'm sorry for you. Really.

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @01:22AM (#37336510)

    Because printing money doesn't kill people.

    The hell it doesn't....

    Printing money has literally lead to a WORLD WAR.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @08:18AM (#37338532) Homepage Journal

    Education is a good, just like bread or living accommodations. In absence of government intervention, the cost of education is set in the market by the individuals, it's basically about how many dollars are chasing the same goods. Once government got involved it became impossible for a person of limited means just to work part time and in the summer to afford full prices of tuition, but don't worry, the government was there to give out student loans.

    Well that's exactly the problem - now the amount of dollars that was chasing education (or health care/insurance) has gone up dramatically from what was available to students, who were willing to work part time/summers and from just people who could afford education costs independently, to amount of dollars that could be transfered from government to the education institutions and the students were used as collateral in this money transfer.

    This stopped being about students the moment government got involved with money and regulations. This became about the education providers, who now could secure their income via government programs and lobbying of government officials say to increase education loans. Same with health insurance, etc. Any time government money and regulations get involved, prices go up and quality suffers, because there is no competition for quality of students. In fact with the guaranteed student loans, there is a perverse incentive to pass as many students as possible without failing them, so the quality of education went down dramatically (marking on a curve, teaching to a test, etc.)

    The new money chasing the same amount of education made it possible to bring prices up dramatically, pricing out anybody who didn't want to take on all those loans. But this also created a bubble in education - now you have to get more and more of it, because people are coming into the system, who are told they can't go on without higher education, they are told they won't find ANY jobs now without a bachelor in something. This creates another perverse effect of having students in the system, who shouldn't be there.

    Simultaneously the minimum wage laws made it basically impossible to hire people as apprentices, this destroyed ability of people to learn by getting hired for very little money.

    How great would it have been for tens of thousands of people not to go to universities, but to go train on a job, earning little but NOT getting into all sorts of debt, and then spending 4 years making almost no money, but learning what they need to do work?

  • by Quila (201335) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @08:38AM (#37338734)

    It's about taxes, government finances.

    In fact, they've been criticized by religious conservatives for not using their high profile status to push a religious agenda.

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