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The Courts Communications Crime Your Rights Online

Man Gets 10 Years For VoIP Hacking 149

angry tapir writes "A US court has sentenced a Venezuelan man to 10 years in prison for stealing and then reselling more than 10 million minutes of Internet phone service. Edwin Pena, 27, was convicted in February of masterminding a scheme to hack into more than 15 telecommunications companies and then reroute calls to their networks at no charge. He must also pay more than US$1 million in restitution, and will be deported once his sentence is served."
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Man Gets 10 Years For VoIP Hacking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:13AM (#33709708)
    Spend money 'punishing' him and then immediately deport him. Rehabilitation seems to have no meaning there.
  • by danking ( 1201931 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:15AM (#33709718)
    The one thing I don't understand is why have him actually serve his sentence? Doesn't this just cost people more money in the end. It may be worth while to have him stay until he has re-payed the $1 million, assuming he even has the ability to re-pay the money but why not just deport him right away.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:17AM (#33709726)
    It's serious crime. Just because murderers get the same sentence doesn't mean it's a bad sentence. The murderers should get more, not him less.
  • Headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jra ( 5600 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:18AM (#33709732)

    "Man gets 10 years for felony commercial theft of service".

    There. FTFY.

    No hacking involved here; nothing to see; move along.

  • by ProdigyPuNk ( 614140 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:19AM (#33709740) Journal
    There's millions of people that WANT to be in this country. Why would we want to keep those whom have already shown themselves to be criminals?
  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:27AM (#33709768)
    Well jail time is theoretically about rehabilitation, but in practice it's about deterrence. It wouldn't deter anyone from following in his footsteps if he was sent home without serving jail time (I think the $1m repayment part is just wishful thinking). Mind you, how do you rehabilitate someone whose crime is purely financial in a society that's largely focused on the pursuit of money, or prevent others copying him? In that case his "crime" was merely being caught, and every criminal assumes he's smarter than the last guy and won't get caught, so the effectiveness of such a sentence even as a deterent is doubtful.
  • by CrashandDie ( 1114135 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:31AM (#33709782)

    Then why bother spending some $800k on him in the first place if he's not wanted? So the next country gets a nice guy? Yeah. Right.

    Either give him a few years and make a good citizen out of him, or kick him out of the country. Doing both is just plain stupid.

  • by CrashandDie ( 1114135 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:34AM (#33709800)

    Except for the fact that the US judiciary system fails, once again? Not only are they spending a few hundred thousand dollars on making him pay in prison, his sentence his heftier than what a good bunch of rapists and cold blooded murderers would get, but after the supposed rehabilitation process, they're kicking him out of the country.

    Being blind doesn't mean there's nothing to see, it just means there's something wrong with the way you see things.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:46AM (#33709876) Journal

    Do you think the EU would have handled it any differently? I don't. They deport people all the time.

    I think the sentence is okay but excessive. 10 million minutes times 0.01 per minute (wholsesale) == $100,000 damage to the company. Ten years for stealing such a small amount of money is ridiculous, as is the extra 1 million fine on top of it. The CEOs stole 1,000,000 times that amount from US taxpayers and get no punishment.

  • by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:51AM (#33709920)
    Maybe because "Come to our country, commit crimes, and simply get asked nicely to leave" isn't a sign we're interested in putting up? It's called a penal system for a reason. Rehabilitation has always been a tertiary goal behind punishment and deterrence. That doesn't mean it's not important, but you're acting like it's the entire point of a prison sentence, which it absolutely is not.
  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:56AM (#33709950)

    If you just kick him out then you've created a whole army of criminals.

    Someone needs killin', get a Mexican or Canadian across the border and have them kill them. If they gets caught they just gets sent home anyway - to sneak back across next time you need someone offed.

    Foreigners should get a free try at robbing Americans blind, if they get away with it then they are rich. If they get caught they just get sent home just as if they never tried in the first place.

    The prison system is not all about rehabilitation - there are at least three other components:

    1. Keeping dangerous people away from society at large - clearly not an issue here since deporting does the same thing.

    2. Deterring other people from doing the same thing by showing them the potential consequences - this clearly does apply here.

    3. Retribution - just plain punishing the criminal for the sake of punishing them.

    Different places have different emphasises on each element. Some leave some out entirely.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:14AM (#33710122) Homepage

    Why does US society owe this crook any damn thing?

    It's not about owing him anything. It's about releasing a someone who will repeat he's crimes or someone who won't. I know what I prefer.

    YOU want "rehabilitation"? Let's see what you say when a convicted but "rehabilitated" pedophile moves in next to you and your 4-year-old daughter.

    The pedophile will be released anyway. But I sure would prefer one that had psychological help and treatments to help prevent relapses than one who didn't.

    Besides, we're talking about someone who "hacked" a VoIP system, it's not exactly a violent criminal. Keeping him among violent criminals for 10 years will certainly make him so, though.

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:15AM (#33710146) Journal

    The man is obviously very capable and smart and for that he is getting punished instead of the telecom companies who let this happen in the first place.

    He is being punished because he committed a crime, not because he's a clever geek.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:23AM (#33710214)
    Also, rehabilitation is not a goal of the social system in place anyway. It might be a goal of the penal system, but not the system at large. Just try to get a job if you check that box on the form that says you have been in prison for a felony. That job application goes in the circular file. The end result for anyone who tried to get rehabilitated is that they can't get any work except for being a criminal when they get out. It kind of feeds the recidivism problem.
  • by nicolas.kassis ( 875270 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:25AM (#33710226)
    So what you are saying is that the prison system is a failure. I agree with that. The idea of rehabilitate people isn't bad it's how the system attempts (well they don't even try) to do it that is the issue.
  • by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:14AM (#33710712)

    A tertiary goal is still a goal. Like I said, it not that rehabilitation isn't important it's just not the entire point of a prison sentence. The GP I'm arguing with says we should just let the criminal go free since we're not going to keep him in our society. If the only point of prison was rehabilitation this would make sense. But punishment and deterrence have always been a factor is sentencing and as far as I'm concerned it should be.

    The fact that you don't want jail to be an "easy ride" makes me think that you agree, but maybe you're not comfortable admitting that we're punishing fellow human beings by taking their freedoms away and locking them in a little room. "Rehabilitation" sounds a lot more pleasant, you can sentence someone to a lot of years of that without even feeling guilty and that's why it's dangerous to think that's the central tenant of what we're doing now cause it ain't even close and never has been. Jail is serious punishment, and should not be taken lightly.

  • by giorgist ( 1208992 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:16AM (#33710736)
    What about ... let that be a lesson to all you from overseas. Otherwise ... why woudl you not cross the border and comit a crime ?
    You have nothing to worry about, they will just deport you
  • by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <.plugwash. .at.> on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:16AM (#33710744) Homepage

    We have had prisons for many years, yet people still commit crimes
    True enough but the real and largely unanswerable questions are

    1:How many more would commit crimes if there were no consequences to doing so?
    2:Is locking people up the best type of consequence to use for deterrance purposes?

  • by PoissonPilote ( 1274002 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:41AM (#33711050)
    This man is the true gentleman of our modern times.
  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:48AM (#33711158) Homepage Journal
    Careful with those "we all know about" stories. I notice that your source doesn't name names or anything.
  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:57AM (#33711280) Journal

    I think the general public considers port scanning and brute force attacks to be hacking. At least the news reports it as such.

    You wouldn't?

    I mean it's the most surefire way to get into a system. May take a while but if you can set up an attack that no one notices, you've got all the time in the world to go work your job, spend time with the wife, work up that Alabi, etc etc.

    People have considered much less to be hacking. Some think that when you use social engineering to discover the answer to someone's secret question to access their twitter account that it's hacking... At least a port scan is something you wouldn't know about if you didn't at least have a basic understanding of how computer networks work.

  • by SethJohnson ( 112166 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:21AM (#33711734) Homepage Journal
    Prison has many purposes in our society.

    1) retribution: basically, punishment. The prisoner is paying his debt to society. This also acts as a catharsis for the prisoner himself.
    2) specific deterrence: The prisoner will think twice about committing another crime.
    3) general deterrence: others will think twice about committing crime when they see others being jailed for it.
    4) rehabilitation: so the prisoner can change his ways. Maybe he will learn skill for the outside world so that he need not turn to crime again.
    5) utilitarian: somply to keep the prisoner from committing more crimes.

    In this case, 2,3, and to some extent, 5 applies.

  • by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:39AM (#33712046)
    Better to be married, having regular sex and be happy then to be single and happy. :)

    My wife is very good to me for the most part. Sometimes she does get on my nerves when she pesters me to get things done and I wish she'd spend more time doing whatever it is she's spending the time insisting I need to do, but for the most part she gives me time to do my own thing, and really is only asking/reminding me to do my part. I get distracted and often put off doing chores so I can program, draw, work on a 3D model, do some word working, etc...

    My wife is my best friend, she's hot, I enjoy her company and the sex is great... And she's a massage therapist so it's not hard to forgive her when she's being a "Mother Hen". Besides pretty soon we'll have kids and she can use all that time, energy and training she spent on me to pester them instead.
  • by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:06PM (#33713546)

    More proof men are turning into submissive women.

    And by that you really mean your bitter that your Mother/girl friend/wife/female boss/little sister orders you around and instead of seeing an successful/assertive women, you'd prefer to do what you're told and bitch about them behind their backs?

    My wife does what I ask her because I respect her and do what she asks. Relationships are a two way street. Good luck getting in one.

I've got a bad feeling about this.