Do Grade Changing Hackers Deserve 20 Years In Jail?

from the seems-a-bit-extreme dept

Over the years, we've had numerous stories of kids caught changing their grades by hacking into school computer systems. However, is it worth a $250,000 fine and 20 years in jail? That's apparently what two men face after hacking into California State University's computer system and changing their grades. The guys have been charged with "unauthorized computer access, identity theft, conspiracy, and wire fraud." Obviously, these guys did a bad thing, but it's hard to see how the possible sentence matches with the crime. Of course, it seems unlikely that any judge would give them the maximum sentence, but even hearing that it's possible just for changing your grades seems ridiculous.

Filed Under: grade changing, hackers, identity theft


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  1. identicon
    Ix, 6 Nov 2007 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Deep breaths and calm rational thinking

    Yeah, I kinda did lose my cool on that last paragraph, but after dealing with too many people like him at school I lost respect for that personality type. At my school at least the only people who cared about it's rank were the ones with GPAs within 0.3 points of failing out and were the same people who screamed bloody murder when someone smarted aced a test (getting yelled at for being too smart by people failing the same classes I'm taking is one of the few ways to tick me off fast).

    As for intelligent discussion. Extremes give us a nice black and white look though, which makes people comfortable when dealing with the law since we can then say you do action ABC you get the punishment that goes along with it. No mercy, no quarter, plain simple punishment that is harsh.

    The simple fact is while people are caught up in themselves even educating people about how some crimes are punished to an inappropriate level won't fix anything, especially if we must move people out of their comfortable black and white zone. As a society we must change our entire culture to look out for each other always, and then we must look at crimes and their full effects to determine proper punishments. We also have a strong need for people who actually know what they're talking about to advise judges and the jury about technical crimes, but sadly most court experts don't have a clue what a computer is much less what it does (ok, slight exaggeration, but some experts really are close to this bad). All too often experts wind up doing things that spoil the evidence in computer based cases, forgetting to make a back up of a hard drive before investigating it for illegal materials for example.

    With the RIAA we have so many examples of threat of large fines for something far too minor to justify those fines. Several thousand dollars in damages per song is way out of line, and the possibility of 20 years plus a quarter mil fine for changing grades is obscene, even if it doesn't get used.

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