by Mike Masnick

Is Banning The Internet From Computer Criminals A Viable Punishment?

from the seems-increasingly-difficult dept

This isn't the first time this question has been raised, but with another case where someone has been banned from using the internet after being found guilty of a computer crime, is it reasonable (or even viable) to ban someone from using the internet? There's no denying that this guy did something wrong in hacking into his school's computers and taking the personal info (including social security numbers) of thousands of people. He should be punished for that. But, part of the punishment is a ban on using the internet except under approval and supervision -- and only for work and school. The reasoning makes sense. He used the internet to commit the crime, so stop him from being able to do that again. However, with the internet becoming a part of so much of our lives is it really reasonable? Will he not be allowed to buy a phone with a data connection? That's increasingly difficult these days. What about using a VoIP phone? Or signing up for an IPTV account as those become available? Lots of new consumer electronics and appliances are going to come with internet access as well. Will he not be able to use those? It just seems like the type of vague ban that sounds good in a courtroom but will be tough to enforce out in the real world.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Dan, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 7:56pm

    I thought this was not allowed

    I thought that this kind of punishment was not deemed cruel and unusual after the whole Mitnik ordeal

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    zcat, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 9:54pm

    Re: I thought this was not allowed

    I don't know that they can stop the guy from using the internet 'as such', I'm not sure he could keep himself from 'using' the internet short of living in a cabin in the mountains somewhere, so much stuff uses the internet these days.. does it count if he uses an internet-connected coke-machine? And it's just too easy to leech wifi or walk into an internet cafe somewhere if he wants to get on.

    But if he does any subsequent crime which involves internet access then they can definately add a charge of violating his probation on top of any other charges that apply. That gives law enforcement and the court just a little more leverage if he ever comes back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 10:14pm

    No Subject Given

    it is nearly impossible to ban anyone from using the internet lol :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    zcat, Sep 7th, 2005 @ 10:31pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    OK Mr Phillips, put your hands where we can see them and step away from the keyboard!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    mhh5, Sep 8th, 2005 @ 12:10am


    Reminds me of a science fiction short story I read a long time ago about a cybercriminal whose punishment was some kind of implant (or psychological training a la Clockwork Orange) that made the criminal nauseated if he even thought about using technological devices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    dorpus, Sep 8th, 2005 @ 1:33am

    How About Banning Cell Phones?

    Police arrested a 42-year-old man who planted fake dynamite sticks on a train toilet. The man put red tape around light bulbs (fluorescent tubes?) and put them in a paper bag.

    The man, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, said he was upset that train conductors did not stop people from using their cell phones on the train, and that he was inspired by the London bombings.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    dustrider, Sep 8th, 2005 @ 2:29am

    No Subject Given

    By this reasoning, banning someone the use of what they used to commit the crime, the old practice of cutting off the hands of thieves makes perfect sense, capital and corporal punishment fit in too.

    As the internet becomes an integral part of our everyday lives banning someone from it is akin to banning someone to speak, write, or read.

    I think access to the internet should be right up there with the right to free speech.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2005 @ 3:10am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Haha. I love it. Throw internet in the Bill of Rights. I do love the net.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Pete Austin, Sep 8th, 2005 @ 7:56am

    That dorpus link in Googlish

    Off-topic as always: Copy leaving of dynamite - in the London terrorist imitation streetcar. I do love Google's attempts to translate Japanese.
    Where else would you find things like: The cow rescue which in typhoon 14 is buried in the earth and sand

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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