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Botnet Spammer Gets Just 18 Months For Being Odd

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the people-are-strange dept.

Crime 83

itwbennett writes "Thirty-three-year old Scottsman Matthew Anderson was sentenced this week to 18 months in prison for orchestrating a malicious Trojan campaign in 2006. The reason for his relatively light sentence? He apparently wasn't seeking to maximize profit like any normal, red-blooded hacker. Also, his timing was good. His arrest in June 2006 predated by a matter of months the Police and Justice Act, which would likely have resulted in a harsher sentence. By comparison, David Kernell, who snooped in Sarah Palin's email, got a year in prison."

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83 comments

Aye, tis true (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34336976)

There's nary a court in the world that can outsmart a greased Scotsman!

Jeepers! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337314)

Spammer Gets Just 18 Months For Being Odd

In Scotland, you can go to jail for being odd?

I guess an odd Scotsman would be one who doesn't wear a skirt, throw telephone poles for no particular reason, pick drunken fights with cows and trees or eat stuff that most people would rather throw away.

Not quite. (4, Funny)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337626)

What you've described is a normal Scotsman. An odd Scotsman wouldn't wear anything below the waist at all-not even trousers, be on the receiving end of a tossed telephone pole for no particular reason, deliver Glaswegian kisses to cows and trees while sober, and not only would refuse to eat anything that didn't already have sheep, potatoes, turnips, or sod in it, he'd also refrain from alcohol in all its forms. Nor would he know how to play golf.

In retrospect, it's probably the total abstainment from alcohol that would mark a Scotsman as being 'odd'. Everything else would probably get overlooked or forgiven.

Re:Not quite. (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338028)

and not only would refuse to eat anything that didn't already have sheep, potatoes, turnips, or sod in it,

Cooks Source has now declared your recipe for Haggis to be "public domain," since you posted it on the Internet tubes.

he'd also refrain from alcohol in all its forms.

Alcohol is the most important ingredient in Scottish cooking. If you get enough of that before dinner; preferably from Islay, like Laguvalin or Bowmore, you won't give a damn how the food tastes.

DISCLAIMER: On my mother's side, both grandparents were from Scotland. Grandma (Nana) from Aberdeen, and Grandpa from Dundee. Relatives in Scotland sent me comics from Oor Wullie, The Broons and other UK schoolboy comic stuff. It enables me to appreciate the satire in Viz better. When my grandparents came down from Canada (where they emigrated to) to visit, they always brought a big bottle of Canadian Club with them. I think the bottle was always empty when they left.

Re:Aye, tis true (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338346)

There's nary a court in the world that can outsmart a greased Scotsman!

Did he put hot stuff on the Trojan?

18 months light "by comparison?" (4, Insightful)

Rashkae (59673) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337024)

How long does a year last in your world?

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337156)

Exaxtly...isn't "18 months" a tad bit longer than a year??

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (4, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337260)

18 months as punishment for creating and operating a botnet for profit? Taking control of thousands of other peoples property.

VS

1 year for guessing a publicly available password reset question/answer on a published email address and then publishing the password and doing no real damage except to expose a politicians improper use of private email channels for to violate public transparency laws.

Yes, the first is a very light sentence in comparison to the second considering the crime involved.

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337562)

Would the second one be legal for a journalist ?

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34342984)

Not according to the news of the world trial so far. (where they guessed the p/w on voicemail accounts).

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337564)

It's actually a bit of a shame that the laws did change in the mean time; if they hadn't, we would've had a more direct comparison to point out the disparity between the "single 'important' person" and "thousands of normal people" sentencing multipliers.

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338776)

Yes, but one was in the US where more of the planet are imprisoned than anywhere else.
You can't compare authoritarian regimes like the US with countries that still have some compassion for their people.
Having said that, I actually thought that the penalty was a bit stiff.
About 6 months would have been more appropriate - a message but not a draconian one.

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34339022)

doing no real damage except to expose a politicians improper use of private email channels for to violate public transparency laws.

Nice revisionist history there. Palin didn't use this e-mail for state business. The hacker was the son of a Democrat congressman, so he had an incentive to find anything possibly incriminating, and there wasn't anything. Others have speculated that she used a different e-mail, but that was only after they didn't find any dirt in this one. But thanks for spreading the lie.

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (2, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341190)

"1 year for guessing a publicly available password reset question/answer on a published email address and then publishing the password and doing no real damage except to expose a politicians improper use of private email channels for to violate public transparency laws."

Oh please.

No, it's 1 year for breaking into the potential vice president's account then trying to get rid of the evidence that he'd done so. Don't try and dress it up as a Noble crusader who loved his country being harshly imprisoned for something that anyone could've done by accident!

He was so noble he posted the information on 4chan! Clearly the most trusted, respected news outlet in the land! Improper use of email? Among the hundreds of emails there were one or two from work contacts talking about private matters. Technically improper usage but it would be unbelievably petty to go after a politician for other people's incredibly minor breach of protocol, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and at worst, she'd get a low key warning. All the evidence pointed to he not using her private email for public office matters in any deliberate manner.

It would take any half decent locksmith less time to pick the lock of your front door (assuming you use one of the most common locks) than to break into someone's email. This information is publically available on the internet. I guess if anyone breaks into your house, we shouldn't arrest them because of how easy it was for them. Heck they may even discover some illegal software or porn of questionable taste! They would be doing the world a favour by breaking into your house and revealing your porn tastes for everyone to see! Oh noble burglar, how misaligned by society you are!

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (5, Insightful)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337276)

From TFA: "Anderson will be up for parole after half his sentence has been served and faces punishment other than a £5,000 ($8,000) fine. By comparison, the US youth who hacked the email account of Sarah Palin in 2008 recently received a year in an open prison for much less serious hacking of a small amount of private data from one person." They're not simply comparing the time, but the punishment based on severity of said crime. One figures out Sarah Palins email using simple methods and gets a full year. The other orchestrates a malicious botnet attack and only gets a little longer at a year and a half. In that sense, he is being punished quite lightly.

Re:18 months light "by comparison?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341632)

For crying out loud, there is no comparison in these cases.

Kernell got a slap on the wrist for the hacking, which was a misdemeanor. He got a year in prison for tampering with evidence, which is a felony.

But as a wise man said once, "never let the facts get in the way of a good grudge".

Kernell didn't get a year in PRISON (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337036)

Who says the media isn't biased.

I'd hardly call a year + 1 day in a halfway house PRISON.

In fact, if Kernell had 6 months, he'd have to serve it in Jail, which (by all accounts) is worse than a year in Prison, and a hell of a lot worse than a year & a day in a halfway house.

Puhleeze!

Only 18 months? (0, Flamebait)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337054)

Sounds like a way too harsh sentence to me. Anyway, I personally like spam (and get lots of it). My email program filters out all of it, but sometimes I read it for entertainment. I don't know what's wrong with those annoying anti-spam fascists, perhaps they need to get laid more often.

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337690)

I know it's bad manners to reply to your own post, but since my original post is rated flamebait even though it was meant completely seriously I'd really like to know now from someone here why people hate spam so much. I'm getting perhaps 20-100 spam mails a day and never had any problems with them, they are filtered out very neatly by my spam filter. Some of these mails are even funny and the viruses they contain never work on my old Mac or on my linux box. That people can go to prison for sending spam is beyond my comprehension ever since the corresponding laws were invented.

What's so wrong with spam? Bandwith usage? By that token, anyone who ever used bittorrent would need to go to prison for 180 years. Oh well, there goes my karma... ;-)

Re:Only 18 months? (2, Insightful)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337824)

As a practical, personal matter, I'm not particularly bothered by spam either. But try to estimate the total amount of resources that go into creating, transmitting, filtering and storing all the spam that has ever been sent. I have no idea what the answer is, but surely those resources would have been put to better use solving other problems?

Does it bother you when a stoplight is red for 30 seconds longer than it should be? It only costs you a few seconds of time, and a few drops of gas, each commute... I think it's equally reasonable to be bothered by both of these things.

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338546)

I've seen lot's of your post's before. Seems to me your smarter than that AND you've never been responsible for a mail server. Rather than Bittorrent, in which I pay my provider for access and bandwidth AND voluntarily access at my choosing. It is almost, but not quite entirely unlike junk snail mail. At least the carrier is getting paid by the spammer in that case.
On the main theme, what puzzles me is that lot's of people still don't get two things: 1. 8 out of 10 people you meet are smarter than you. 2. Computer "crimes" are very costly and not really worth it. My router is open, if you access my stuff unlawfully and my honeypot catches you AND I am in a bad mood that day, YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL. So I have to ask all those uber-hackers out there do you feel lucky, punk?

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34339450)

I think in this case the issue is people are upset he illegally gained control over other people's computers and used them to send the SPAM. It's the hacking / cracking / botnet component of this case that got him jail time, not the actual contents of the emails sent.

So with that in mind, spammers do actually do a fair amount of damage. It's not just bandwidth being chewed - it's the theft of other people's property to send their spam, which in turn gets other people's mail servers blacklisted (like ISPs for example) by SPAMHAUS and the like, which causes completely other people still, who are unrelated, to not be able to do business (just because they used the same ISP to send email) and so on and so on...

Of course spam and other computer crimes are "no big deal" if you view every computer network in the same way you view a home PC... but they're not all home PCs.

Re:Only 18 months? (1)

HuguesT (84078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340562)

Only about 3-5% of email worldwide traffic is not spam. This is a huge waste of resources.

Anderson's not weird. He's you (4, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337062)

Take a look at his crimes without the veil of judgment. He did some pretty neato stuff.

He found a way to run his code on a huge number of computers without the owners knowing at all.
He learned how to control the PC cameras of those computers and had "eyes" everywhere.
He ran this all from his mom's tiny little living room.

He's a modern-day phracker. He's doing stuff that is way out there, taking over peoples' PCs, controlling their systems, and he did it all for the love of technology. If he was alive 30 years ago, he'd have been whistling into the handset receivers of payphones to get free long distance from Ma Bell.

Yes, we need to condemn him because he crossed the line. Genius should be tempered with good sense, and it looks like he got carried away with what he *could* do and didn't contemplate hard enough on what he *shouldn't* do. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. His heart is in the right place. What he needs is better guidance.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit211 (1946194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337202)

what the developers of the system he exploited need is better culpability. put them all in jail.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337284)

So nobody will design new systems out of fear of being sued. Great idea.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337654)

not sued. JAIL.

Jail lasts 6 months and is over.

Bankruptcy lats a decade.....

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (-1, Flamebait)

MichaelKristopeit209 (1946190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337712)

can you read, moron? i didn't say sued. they can already be sued. you're an idiot.

what if you sold door locks that allowed entrance if the doorknob was tapped up and down a few times? would you not expect consequences from dissatisfied customers who put their trust in your products and enabled exploitation for doing so? what if it was found that those doing the exploitation were your biggest customer or source of income?

great hypocrisy.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340728)

Well, they do advise to use a firewall and virus scanner. The largest botnets are created by taking over unprotected systems, so the largest botnets are created from people who didn't follow their advise.
Imagine a person building a barn without locks, someone sneaks in and starts a terrorist group there. Are the people that provided him with the material to build a barn responsible for the terrorist group?

Don't get me wrong I do think M$ should do something about it, but the spammer is the largest culprit here. The owners of the system are the next. The OS developers do carry some blame, but only a little. They just have the best opportunity to fix it. By not only advising M$ security essentials but downloading and installing it at first boot they could fix it. However if they did they would be sued for abusing a monopoly position. Mcafee and Norton may provide with worthless software(to the extent they should be sued for malpractice), but they do gather money with it.

Disclaimer: I use linux to great pleasure. I have protected systems (my parent's system for example) from the occasion hacker. I have educated them not to install shit without my advise. I have splitted up admin and user rights on Windows.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

MichaelKristopeit205 (1946180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34340838)

so it's not on purpose or an accident or the worst kind... it's simply bait and switch... if you don't buy something else on top of the systems you've purchased, everything you do or access using your personal computer could be available to anyone.

don't get me wrong, i believe everyone reads every license placed in front of them while turning on the computer they just purchased for the first time.

disclaimer: no one cares how or why you utilize technology.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341500)

No it's not a bait and switch. M$ doesn't claim they incorporate a firewall. They advise you to use one. Due to monopoly abuse laws the may not be allowed to incorporate one, which is sad to say the least. Ad to that the problem that vendors like Dell and Asus are persuaded to stick cripleware like Norton on their systems instead of just enabling M$ Security Essentials.
I do not assume most people read any license txt. In fact the "Immortal Soul clause" [bit-tech.net]indicated most people don't.
I am talking about the check they built into the Security Center: If you do not have an up to date virus scanner it will nag you sensless until you either enable one or tell it you will monitor it yourself

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

MichaelKristopeit205 (1946180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34370260)

you're an idiot. M$ doesn't exist. your insistence on referring to such an entity is very telling.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you're completely pathetic.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34341514)

It's kind of surreal to be talking about one "Mr. Anderson", a hacker, and see several of the many Michael Kristopeit clones come out in force.

From now on I'm going to interpret "you're completely pathetic" as shorthand for the "human beings are a disease" soliloquy.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

MichaelKristopeit206 (1946182) | more than 3 years ago | (#34370290)

i guess you are "the one" anonymous coward who sustains their ignorance through hypocrisy... just like every "the one" before you.

you're an idiot.

why do you cower? what are you afraid of?

you are less than pathetic. you are NOTHING.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337246)

However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. His heart is in the right place. What he needs is better guidance.

And a job in the anti-hacker department in the UK Police. And they need him too.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (5, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337292)

I suppose we all forget how many people went to jail even back then. I knew at least a half-dozen, personally. PS did people use the word 'phracker'? I don't seem to remember that one. You sure you didn't just invent it?

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337410)

Yeah, it's a word.

Phrackers even have their own publication [phrack.org]. Nice to see Phrack is still going strong just like 2600.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338152)

It was "Phreak" originally. I knew a guy that was a reader for the Whistler (who was blind).

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337450)

However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. His heart is in the right place. What he needs is better guidance.

Shweet jumped up jebus.
His heart was not in the right place. He ran a botnet distributing malware. Malware for data theft. Surveillance on people using infected PCs. Infected by him. He knew precisely what he was doing.
But yes...lets glorify the poor, misunderstood dude working in his mom's living room.
'neato stuff' indeed. YGBSM. You know...there are ways to learn how to do that without abusing innocent civilians.

"Crossed the line" is an understatement. And this gets modded up, or recommended for a job.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337658)

Now there you go being all judgmental.

If your heart was in the right place, you wouldn't so rudely intrude with reality.

That's because many on Slashdot are strange (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34339224)

They have this view that, when it comes to computers, if they CAN do something, as in it is technically possible for them to do it, that makes it ok to do and means it ought to be legal. Breaking in to a system that has a weak password or lacks a security fix is fine in their view because that person is "stupid" and "deserves it". Of course none of them would be ok with someone breaking in to their house, even though like basically everyone they live in houses with known security vulnerabilities.

Hence why they are ok with a guy like this. They are ok with someone who breaks in to others' systems and abuses them because their ego says that only stupid people can be victims and the victims deserve it.

It is a sadly common view on this site.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337452)

Take a look at his crimes without the veil of judgment. He did some pretty neato stuff.

He found a way to run his code on a huge number of computers without the owners knowing at all.

No, he just used the existing Microsoft "API" for doing all this.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337762)

well there is a huge difference in hacking so you get free long distance call and this. he was 'hacking' ordinary PCs, which 'administrators' don't know much about. those old stories were about cracking some big corporations and similar stuff. to give you bad analogy, this is like shooting civilians in a war.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337938)

You know that setting up a rootkit is only about 1 step up from Script Kiddie, right?

Download a crack for any Adobe CS product.
Write an app that opens a port and listens, taking in strings and running them through at the console, so like a hidden command prompt.
Make it send a single request back to a server you control.
Package your new web service inside the cracked installation file.
Put up for fileshare - wait a week.

You then have root access and the IP's to use it.

You can also substitute that second step with any number of pre-existing remote control apps. Crossloop, or just enabling Windows RDP to the everyone group.

Voila, Root access, to do whatever you want with the PC.

Re:Anderson's not weird. He's you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34339604)

He has invaded people's privacy with his camera hacks. Clearly his light sentence is motivated by the fact that the government wants to be able to put cameras in every household all of the time. The government is 'grooming' us for 2084. :)

And Mafiaboy (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337064)

Who took down numerous big name websites, was sentenced to eight months of "open custody," one year of probation, restricted use of the Internet, and a small fine.

Lets face it, you can't properly gauge the sentence with the crime - too many other factors come into play that the judges are supposed to try and account for. Intent, remorse, etc etc - all play factors.

Re:And Mafiaboy (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337342)

Well, there was also no precedent at the time. If he did the same thing today it would net a harsher sentence.

Odd indeed (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337090)

From TFA...

He carried out the crimes from a PC in his mother's living room

Basement living room?

Re:Odd indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337764)

I had a basement living room back in the day; our apartment in a four-plex was in half of the basement.

Welcome to planet Earth (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337128)

Thirty-three-year old Scottsman Matthew Anderson was sentenced this week to 18 months in prison for orchestrating a malicious Trojan campaign in 2006.... By comparison, David Kernell, who snooped in Sarah Palin's email, got a year in prison.

Matthew Anderson and David Kernell live, committed their offences and were tried in different countries to one another. Why on earth would you expect their sentences to be comparable?

Next.. libel laws in England harsher than in the US! Owners of internet gambling sites that are lawful in other countries face imprisonment in US! Producing the same drug can get you anywhere from a governement contract to a stern warning to imprisonment to execution depending on which country you pick. Hello, welcome to the world.

Re:Welcome to planet Earth (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337216)

Hello, welcome to the world.

Despite this, many retain a youthful and naive vision that perhaps, someday, the world will make sense and be fair. While we laugh at them as foolish, we should perhaps remember that when they were children, executives were laughing at the idea of a personal computer and IBM predicted a world market for them of perhaps a dozen.

Re:Welcome to planet Earth (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337392)

They're naive and foolish because they still believe that "fair" is somehow an objective concept, not because it's too difficult. What I find fair isn't what you find fair, and the inverse is true. And unless you can find a scientific method to determine what is fair, this will always happen.

Re:Welcome to planet Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338002)

Many Americans, apparently, think the whole world shares their laws and views...

Re:Welcome to planet Earth (1)

TheScreenIsnt (939701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338396)

Why on earth would you expect their sentences to be comparable?

Some shared commonsense notion of justice?
I jest.

Re:Welcome to planet Earth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338498)

Not sure that's the most crucial distinction.

David Kernell was stupid enough to go after someone with power.

Free Kernell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337258)

Free Kernell!

Grammmerz (1, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337286)

"Thirty-three-year (1) old Scottsman (2) Matthew Anderson was sentenced this week (3) to 18 months in prison for orchestrating a malicious Trojan (4) campaign in 2006. The reason for his relatively light sentence? He apparently wasn't seeking to maximize profit like any normal, red-blooded hacker. Also, his timing was good (5). His arrest in June 2006 predated (6) by a matter of months the Police and Justice Act, which would likely have resulted in a harsher sentence. By comparison, David Kernell, who snooped in Sarah Palin's email, got a year in prison."

Let's play match the errors to the numbers, kids!

* Imaginary country
* Split infinitive
* Partial sentence
* Missing hyphen, implications of being a predator
* Oh, look! That hyphen reappeared

And my personal favourite:

* Hilarious capitalisation making it sound as though protagonist is leading an actual historical faction

Re:Grammmerz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337366)

The only infinitive in the summary is "to maximize". It isn't split.

Re:Grammmerz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337466)

I think he may actually think that "sentenced to" is an infinitive. It's quite funny really.

Re:Grammmerz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34337408)

Muphry's law?

Number 6 is missing an em dash, not a hyphen. Predated is the past participle of the verb 'predate', which means to 'exist or occur at a date earlier than (something).'

If anything, I would move 'by a matter of months' to succeed 'the Police and Justice act' and left the rest of the sentence alone.

So what the justice system is saying to us ... (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337400)

is that the profit motive is evil.

Commit some act to maximize profit, get a harsh sentence. Commit exactly the same act without profit motive, get a light sentence.

If the profit motive adds N months to a sentence for some act, then by the most straightforward, linear morality arithmetic, this means that simply having a profit motive in the absence of committing any act is in and of itself a crime punishable by N months.

Nice communist values there.

Re:So what the justice system is saying to us ... (1)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337692)

I don't think the intent is to equate profit motive with evil, it's to recognize that people with different motives need different incentives to be rehabilitated. A criminal with a profit motive is likely performing some sort of a cost/benefit analysis. Increase the punishment, and the criminal will be deterred from re-offending (and potential criminals may be deterred from offending at all).

Criminals without a profit motive, however, are a harder nut to crack. Maybe they have poor impulse control, or have difficulty empathizing with others, or even understanding the connection between cause and effect. Simply lengthening prison sentences may not do much to reform or deter them, and thus would be a wasted governmental expense.

Also, your "linear moral arithmetic" is absurd. By your argument, premeditated murder should carry the same sentence as a crime of passion, because otherwise we're sending the message that forethought and planning are inherently evil. Forethought and planning are only evil in connection with murder, just as a profit motive is only evil in connection with criminal activity. You can't subtract the underlying crime from the exacerbating factors.

Re:So what the justice system is saying to us ... (2, Interesting)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338156)

If criminals without a profit motive are a harder nut to crack, maybe they need to be punished more severely, not less, one would think.

I don't see why premeditated murder should be treated differently from a crime of passion. Murder is murder.

A crime of passion is in fact planned. A person knows exactly under what circumstances he would kill, and does so when circumstances arise which fit that pattern. Merely, such a killer perhaps does not think /specifically/ about a given situation. Thinking like ``I would kill a person in such and such relation to me if they did such and such'' is no less evil than ``I will kill because of ...''. It's the same. One is merely an instantiation of the other by the substitution of concretes.

The whole rhetoric about premeditation is nonsense. I believe that every crime of passion is deeply rooted in the personality of the killer, moulded since birth.

Punishing apparently planned killings more severely clearly sends the message that a "thought crime" occurs when one is planning a killing which does not occur when a killing is done with a blank mind, on an apparent emotional whim.

The difference in punishment precisely corresponds to what the thought-crime is worth by itself.

Re:So what the justice system is saying to us ... (1)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34341034)

A "harder nut to crack" as in a more complex issue. I think that was pretty clear in context. A criminal who, as in this case, did something for the mere excitement of it may be dissuaded from future offenses once he sees that his actions have consequences, and a slap on the wrist may be sufficient to accomplish that. Or he may be irredeemable, and may need to spend the rest of his life locked up. Prisons serve (or are meant to serve) many purposes: reform, rehabilitation, and deterrence, as well as simple punishment, and you can't make a simple blanket statement of "A carries a longer prison sentence because it is morally worse than B."

As for the whole crime of passion bit, it looks like we'll have to simply agree to disagree. I do not believe that people know under what circumstances they would kill (I certainly don't know about myself what it would take to drive me to that point, or indeed if anything could). Clearly society does not share your views, as we do not punish "thought-crime" by itself, yet we do consider mental state in judging the severity of many crimes.

Re:So what the justice system is saying to us ... (1)

mutube (981006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338520)

Maybe it's a multiplier?

I think it's a fair judgement that a crime committed for profit is worse than one committed out of curiosity. Less communist, more egalitarian.

Re:So what the justice system is saying to us ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338890)

So "I did it for the lulz." is a valid defense.
Good to know.

My favorite part (2, Interesting)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337586)

"As this case shows, criminals can't hide online and are being held to account for their actions. A complex investigation like this demonstrates what international cooperation can achieve," said Detective Constable Bob Burls of the UK Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), neatly ignoring the fact that few online criminals are ever caught and it has taken over four years to sentence Anderson.

Differing situations vs the hit job on Kernell (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34337702)

Kernell was the victim of a political hit job, this guy ran a botnet that resulted in no profit.

Wide difference.

Meanwhile in Finland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338188)

http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00002054.html [f-secure.com]
Matthew ANDERSON between the 1st day of September 2005 and the 27th day of June 2006, together with Artturi Alm and other persons, caused unauthorised modifications to the contents of computers, with intent to cause such modifications, and by so doing to impair their operation and/or to impair the operation of any computer programs or the reliability of computer data.
+ Counts of acquiring criminal property and money laundering were left to lie on file.
He will be sentenced on 22 November.
Two other men were previously arrested as part of the investigation. One was released with no further action. The other Artturi Alm pleaded guilty in Finland in 2008 and received a custodial sentence (18 days) and a community service order.

"Normal" hackers don't maximize profit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34338504)

Criminals and incompetent managers* do. Hackers are in it for the knowledge, the skill, the achievement. People who claim otherwise are posers and other deluded people, like the media. There's a lot of deluded people around. No sense to helping that along then.

* Competent managers know not to maximize profit because it minimizes utility for their customers, so they instead focus on earning enough to get by and pay for the R&D for the next round of innovation. Good management isn't about getting filthy rich, but about creating wealth for everybody. Source: Peter Drucker. Yes, there's hack value in understanding management too.

http://www.famalegoods.com (0, Offtopic)

falas107 (1946890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338650)

welcome to: W W W ( famalegoods ) c o m The website wholesale for many kinds of fashion shoes, like the nike,jordan,prada,****, also including the jeans,shirts,bags,hat and the decorations. All the products are free shipping, and the the price is competitive, and also can accept the paypal payment.,after the payment, can ship within short time. free shipping competitive price any size available accept the paypal W W W ( famalegoods ) c o m jordan shoes $32 nike shox $32 Christan Audigier bikini $23 Ed Hardy Bikini $23 Smful short_t-shirt_woman $15 ed hardy short_tank_woman $16 Sandal $32 christian louboutin $80 Sunglass $15 COACH_Necklace $27 handbag $33 AF tank woman $17 puma slipper woman $30 W W W ( famalegoods ) c o m

When asked why he didn't just come clean... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34338660)

.. he replied "I dinna come forward because in this country, it makes you look like a pervert -- but _every_ single Scottish person does it!"

Just 18 months versus a whole year? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34339250)

I know the spammer got off lightly by comparison because he attacked more than one and a half computers and accounts... still, in the summary it would be honest to use consistent units - 18 months, 12 months.

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