Asking People To Hit Reload Is A Felony?
from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept
Well, here's yet another story about non-tech savvy folks seriously overreacting to a technology issue. Slashdot points us to the story of a high school kid who set up a blog on his high school's server, and jokingly told visitors to hit "F5" (reload) to see if it would crash the server. It did slow down the server, and the school went to the police who have somehow decided that asking people to reload a webpage repeatedly is a felony. The city prosecutor gets all of the amusing quotes in this story: "Michael said it was a joke. We showed him how we deal with this kind of joke." By charging him with felony charges? Later on in the article, the same guy admits that they had to charge some students with misdemeanors last year for breaking into school computers and changing their grades. Who knew that breaking into a computer and changing grades was a lesser crime than telling people to hit F5? Still, the best quote is: "This new technology has created a whole wave of crimes, and we're just trying to find ways to solve them." Perhaps before "solving" them you should take a step back and figure out if there's really a problem. If the school had set their system up to handle more traffic would there be any crime at all? Still, this could raise some questions about what's the dividing line between asking a lot of people to visit a site and setting off a denial of service attack? However, if you had to draw the line somewhere, it would probably be well beyond asking people to reload the website. As some of the commenters on Slashdot point out, just having Slashdot link to the school's website probably is more likely to slow down the server than whatever this kid did. In other words, by making news with this felony charge, the school is more likely to have their servers go down. So who will they arrest for that mistake?