Increasing Jailtime For Illegal Hacking

from the yeah,-like-that'll-teach-them dept

Apparently, even stricter sentencing guidelines are going into effect for people caught doing computer crimes. We’ve had discussions on this topic before, and most folks around here agree that, already, the punishment rarely fits the crime. Malicious hacking is illegal and does cause all sorts of problems. No one is denying that. But, it’s unclear that the hacker who does so deserves to be locked up for ten years, while the drug pusher is in jail just briefly. Worse, the sentencing is based on the amount of losses that the victim determines – including the cost to fix any security hole. In other words, the worse your security is, and the easier it is for a hacker to get in – the more time you can put him in jail. Furthermore, for hackers who break into bank accounts, the sentencing is based on how much was in the bank account – not how much was actually stolen. That doesn’t seem fair. Why should you get a longer sentence just because you happened to pick on someone who was wealthier? I’m certainly not defending most of these actions, but it seems counterproductive to throw a lot of these folks in jail for extended periods of time. There are some really bad seeds, no doubt, who deserve punishment – but these sentencing guidelines are going to lead to problems.

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Comments on “Increasing Jailtime For Illegal Hacking”

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Tony Lawrence (user link) says:

Sentencing guidelines

Sentencing guidelines are “guidelines” – no judge is going to put someone in jail for years for minor damage. But lets say a terrorist group used viruses in conjunction with other activities designed to do serious damage – or even that the software alone targeted hospitals or transportation and caused injury or loss of life: you’d want to be able to impose the maximum penaties then, especially if the rest of the case was weak: if you could prove that they created and spread the virus, and knew they were up to other stuff but couldn’t prove it, you’d be glad to have the possibility of very stiff sentences.

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