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Prison Is For Dangerous Criminals, Not Hacktivists

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the keep-your-head-down dept.

Crime 337

In late 2011, defense contractor Stratfor suffered a cybersecurity breach that resulted in a leak of millions of internal emails. A few months later, the FBI arrested hacktivist Jeremy Hammond and several others for actions related to the breach. Hammond pleaded guilty to one count of violating the CFAA, and today his sentence was handed down: 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He said, [The prosecutors] have made it clear they are trying to send a message to others who come after me. A lot of it is because they got slapped around, they were embarrassed by Anonymous and they feel that they need to save face." Reader DavidGilbert99 adds, "Former LulzSec and Anonymous member Jake Davis argues that U.S. lawmakers need to take a leaf out of the U.K.'s legal system and not put Jeremy Hammond behind bars for his part in the hack of Stratfor. 'Jeremy Hammond has a lot to give society too. Prisons are for dangerous people that need to be segmented from the general population. Hackers are not dangerous, they are misunderstood, and while disciplinary action is of course necessary, there is nothing disciplined about locking the door on a young man's life for 10 years.'"

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Sorry, but not here (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45435785)

Here we have prison to punish people. It doesn't exist as a means to control risk by controlling dangerous people. We've collectively decided that we should put people in cells(and let them be raped) like it's telling 5 year olds to stand in the corner.

Re:Sorry, but not here (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45435847)

Worse: The really, really bad people in prison enjoy having all these non-violent young men in there to torture and rape. It's like handing them lollipops.

Re:Sorry, but not here (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45435893)

I was referring to "our" understanding of what prison sentences achieve, not what they actually do. And what's really ironic is that anyone with a young child will tell you there's no real difference in terms of correction between a 1 minute time-out and 30 minute one, in terms of how much of a lesson it teaches.

Re:Sorry, but not here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436247)

The worse criminal you are, the less punishment prison actually is. In the words of Richard Speck: [wikipedia.org] "If they knew what a good time I was having, they'd turn me loose."

Re:Sorry, but not here (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435911)

Not only is your concept of crime and punishment warped, it is likely you are a sociopath since your post lacks any hint of empathy towards your fellow man. I bet you would have fit in nicely in Rome circa 50 AD.

In short, we should lock you up since your views appear to be fairly violent in nature!

Re:Sorry, but not here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435963)

Wow, good job completely missing GP's point.

Re:Sorry, but not here (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435951)

Also this full client list of over 4000 individuals and corporations, including their credit cards

Yeah we went from hactivism to criminal in 1 sentence. Meaning they were planing on blackmailing or using those cards...

Just because you commit a crime does not mean you 'get off' because it was a 'nice crime'. Also targeting power brokers like this will get you nailed to the wall. They know guys who take care of things.

If they had left it at 'hey pile of emails' instead of 'hey pile of emails *AND* juicy credit cards'. The guy would have got off with less. But probably in this case not much less.

This is the same issue we have with many patents. Doing things we used to do before 'with a computer'.

Also you are correct about our prisons aka 'correctional facilities'. They suck. We are warehousing criminals little more. What if instead of warehousing we forced all of them to learn skills. Usable skills not just bending metal into license plates and digging ditches. Things like you end up here welcome to your new school. Think if instead of bottom of the rung people who have little choice in what they do we ended up with master level graduate students?

Re:Sorry, but not here (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436019)

Also you are correct about our prisons aka 'correctional facilities'. They suck. We are warehousing criminals little more. What if instead of warehousing we forced all of them to learn skills. Usable skills not just bending metal into license plates and digging ditches. Things like you end up here welcome to your new school. Think if instead of bottom of the rung people who have little choice in what they do we ended up with master level graduate students?

The why is obvious, isn't it? The basic idea feeding it is people who do bad things are bad people. It comes from an absolutist moral position. It's Calvinism directing political beliefs centuries after it should have died.

Re:Sorry, but not here (4, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#45436195)

I'm not concerned with whether they are good people or bad people. Prison serves multiple purposes. You can look at it as a place to try to institutionalize people, so they won't do whatever they did when they get out, because they, in theory, won't want to go back. You can look at it as punishment.

None of those things really matter. Prison is, first and foremost, a place to put people away so they will be unable to do what they did again in society. I simply don't care about the other reasons. Looking at it from that perspective, you could probably put this person in a minimum security prison for a long time; I doubt he's being sent to San Quentin.

Re:Sorry, but not here (1, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436279)

I know you're not. I was explaining my observation of what popular perception is(ugh, gotta be a better way to say that).

Re:Sorry, but not here (-1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#45436083)

No, we have prisons for profit. You wouldn't know unless you've been there. If you any tolerance at all for collateral damage in warfare, then you should quit your bellyaching.

Re:Sorry, but not here (1, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436203)

"Any tolerance at all" is an interesting phrasing, because it suggests an absolutist position on morality. I do feel complicit with the crimes of my country, but my approach is to moderate and improve all those failings in every area, rather than throwing up my hands and saying "If I can't fix all of it at once, it's pointless!"

But your cynical political nihilism totally makes you the coolest one in the conversation. You're too cool for me.

Re:Sorry, but not here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436103)

Here where I live, prisons are privatized, with an extremely strong lobby. If a DA doesn't throw the book at defendants, they get replaced next election by one that will. If a judge doesn't rubber-stamp maximum sentences and keep a high conviction ratio, they also get voted out. Even the local police have "quotas" where they have to slap cuffs on x amount of people per outing or they end up being passed up for promotions by people with better arrest tallies.

So, prisons are not for punishment; they are for profit. If you look at the two private prison companies, they actually have Apple-like growth in the past few years, with no upper bound in sight.

Ironic this... even China is getting rid of its work/re-education camps, while we are getting them here in the US.

Re:Sorry, but not here (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436237)

No one should ever have a government incentive to promote crime. Privatized prisons are exactly that. But enough of a radical that I believe that all government work should be direct hires, and that government contracts and privatization in general are a failure.

Re:Sorry, but not here (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#45436121)

Well having a 5 year old stand in the corner does have a purpose more then just punishment.
Normally when a 5 year old gets into trouble it is because they are over stimulated and over excited, and act without thinking. Having them go to the corner puts them in an environment with less stimulation, and lets them calm down a bit.

However Prison doesn't have that effect, there is too much stimulation, and hardens the criminal. This is appreciate for people who are too dangerous to be in public, either because their crimes are dangerous, or are at a high risk of repeating the crime in public. However for a lot of these crimes that people get locked up in, isn't really worth it for them. House Arrest, where their movements are tracts and they can only go to designated places, is one good option. Monetary fines work too, and for some people, just getting yelled at is enough.

The US has this tough on crime mentality, which doesn't work, and all it does is increase fear of the general public of getting put in jail for some petty crime they didn't really think things threw.

Re:Sorry, but not here (1, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436179)

It's one of those "it's so bad that lots of alternatives are better" situations in the US.

Re:Sorry, but not here (4, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#45436201)

That would be less problematic if our prison system at present weren't operated in such a fashion as to make these individuals even more dangerous and damaged than when they came in, and then continually discriminate afterwards in ways that make it unlikely for them to be successful after release. We really need to take a look at which countries successfully release prisoners who go on to lead lawful, fruitful lives, and then emulate those systems.

Re:Sorry, but not here (1, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436267)

The sad thing is that these premises aren't lost on the people who study crime. The problem is almost entirely populist, which in the U.S. is a very hard force to counter.

Re:Sorry, but not here (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436281)

Prison, as you describe it, is managed without concern for the prisoners, as human beings. When as this decided collectively, as you assert?

It seems to me that such a penal system is managed under a politically conservative ethic which puts the financial interests of those outside that system above society as a whole, at least if you believe that society has an interest in promoting general welfare. You can't expect that prisoners released from a system which ignores their needs, abilities and potential while they are 'inside' to be capable of anything greater once they've been released. Penalization without rehabilitation is profoundly ignorant. There has to be a goal of rehabilitation, or at least education, if society expects to do anything but avoid and delay recidivism and/or worse behavior from the incarcerated.

The 'hard on crime' set, who promote such abuse in order to construct profitable prisons without responsibility for the outcome appeal to the ignorant fundamentalists who discount the value of a nurturing existence. Conservatism of this ilk is a disease.

Re:Sorry, but not here (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436311)

Here we have prison to punish people. It doesn't exist as a means to control risk by controlling dangerous people. We've collectively decided that we should put people in cells(and let them be raped) like it's telling 5 year olds to stand in the corner.

1) Where exactly is "here" ? Your mommy's basement ?

2) Have YOU actually done time in prison ? Because I don't think you have,
          and you are just another shit-talker who pretends to know about stuff
          with which he actually has no direct experience.

3) Your many and varied posts prove you are an idiot. Try shutting the fuck up
          and reading instead of posting, and the quality of the discourse on Slashdot
          will increase as a result. And you might learn something, thereby raising your
          own pathetic loser ass a few microns off the floor of human quality.

Re:Sorry, but not here (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436349)

1) The US. Where the article is focused.
2) Oh yes, let me commit some crimes so that I can talk about crime. And let's never discuss murder with non-murderers.
3) Uh huh. Good job.

Re:Sorry, but not here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436315)

Welcome to America, land of the petty revenge seekers who are stuck in an 1800's mentality. There is a lot more benefit to society if you have non-violent criminals perform community-service than just sticking them in a hole which just wastes money and manpower. I'd rather Jeremy Hammond spend 10 years teaching computers to underpriviledged kids and adults than sit in a cell doing nothing. What a waste Unfortunately most Americans are morons and can't see the forest for the trees...

Re:Sorry, but not here (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436381)

Well, it's easy to condemn everyone besides yourself(and anyone who happens to agree with whatever argument you're presently making) as being wrong. It's harder to identify where they might have gone wrong, and help people understand better. That's the real burden of a free society. You can't just lay blame on others, when you are automatically empowered with the right to help them see better.

"misunderstood"? (3, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#45435801)

Why just limit that label to hackers?

"It's just a misunderstanding that makes you think she is dead, sure you have a body that lacks a pulse..."

"Why yes, I did burn down that orphanage... but you misunderstand why."

"No officer, I did have a lot to drink tonight, but you don't understand that my driving abilities get better when I'm wasted!"

We are not talking about an accidently committed crime here... my understanding is he deliberately did what he did... so should be punished hard as a reminder.

Re:"misunderstood"? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435865)

Just like George Bush should be punished hard as a reminder!

Re:"misunderstood"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435985)

Don't forget Dick Cheney, the torturer, and Barack Obama for operating political killing squadrons.

Re:"misunderstood"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436113)

But is jail the best punishment for him specifically? It might be true that some "hacktivisits" should be "segmented from society" and tossed in jail, but that shouldn't be the default solution to every criminal problem should it? (American) jail is a place to hide society's shame, not solve it.

Should have been a VP (4, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year ago | (#45435813)

If only he was a bank VP. Then all crimes are forgiven with a sizable bonus.

Re:Should have been a VP (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45436295)

Not *all* crimes.. Just those which lead to profit... Steal from the company and it's the slammer for you.

Fuck off (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#45435819)

Hackers are not dangerous, they are misunderstood,

You steal my personal data, sell it to someone else who uses that data to commit crimes, you are a dangerous person.

Stop trying to make excuses when people commit crimes. They're a criminal, pure and simple.

Re:Fuck off (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45435855)

Motive is relevant when considering crimes. It's the difference between first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter(or even justified self-defense).

Re: Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436111)

No it is not, you are confusing motive and intent.

Re: Fuck off (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436149)

Sure. Whatever. In the layman's vernacular, those two words are synonymous. I wasn't presenting a legal argument as a lawyer.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436183)

Only in some crimes. Intent is relevant, as there must be intent to due the criminal act, but motive is primarily as issue in murder, hate crimes, and in some cases domestic violence.

Re:Fuck off (1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year ago | (#45435871)

Bingo!

Worse, if we go down this road... just imagine the explosion we'd expect to see in the prison industry.

Beyond the max & super-max prisons for the 'dangerous'... hackers would end up at 'summer camp' prisons where they rehabilitate by learning new languages, white collar criminals go away to 'resort prisons' where they are scolded more about not getting caught, while drunk drivers locked up in local bars to help put them off the drink.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436097)

Force them to do tech support, a la Ready Player One.

Re:Fuck off (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about a year ago | (#45435917)

Isn't there a good case for prison reform on some level though?

I agree that what was done should be illegal, but, I don't think that our prison system treats prisoners like people, and haven't for a long time. Even well before the privatization of prison.

Re: Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435993)

It treats people like criminals. Go figure.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435983)

You steal my personal data, sell it to someone else who uses that data to commit crimes, you are a dangerous person.
Stop trying to make excuses when people commit crimes. They're a criminal, pure and simple.

So you're in favor of locking up everyone that has ever assisted with NSA surveillance efforts, right?

Right?

Re:Fuck off (5, Insightful)

aeranvar (2589619) | about a year ago | (#45435989)

I don't see anyone saying that hackers aren't criminals or that Jeremy Hammond didn't deserve to go to prison. What they're saying is that criminals and dangerous people are sets that overlap, but that don't totally overlap. Or, another way to put it: Criminals aren't dangerous. Dangerous criminals are dangerous. Some hackers might be dangerous. Some hackers might not be dangerous. For hackers that are dangerous, 10 years in prison might be appropriate. For hackers that aren't dangerous, like those engaged in political protest, 10 years in prison is overkill.

Re:Fuck off (1)

dwillden (521345) | about a year ago | (#45436165)

So non violent criminals don't belong in prison? Those who commit bank fraud, or embezzle funds from their employers, Those who scam elderly out of their life savings, those who sell national secrets to our enemies. They aren't violent/dangerous people or crimes. So they don't belong in prison? Then where do they belong? Out on the street, free to commit more crimes.

You do the crime, you damned well better be ready to do the time. We do have some different styles of prisons but for the most part we don't divide convicts up by crime. Pedophiles to this prison, Hackers, embezzlers and scam artists to this prison and Rapists here and murders there. You get convicted you go to prison.

A white collar crime as the one in question is more likely to be sent to a minimum or medium security facility rather than a maximum, hard-corps pound you in the ass prison, but they all go to prison.

Re:Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436001)

Wait. Are we talking about Google, Facebook, the NSA, FBI, or Lulzsec? I keep getting confused.

Re:Fuck off (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#45436021)

You steal my personal data, sell it to someone else who uses that data to commit crimes, you are a dangerous person.

Your data is not personal if it has ever been shared outside of machines you own. If your data can be used by someone else to harm you or others, then the insecure system is what is dangerous, not the alleged criminal. We're going to have to come around and face the facts. It's not the hackers that are misunderstood: People don't understand the nature of information.

Re:Fuck off (4, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year ago | (#45436125)

then the insecure system is what is dangerous, not the alleged criminal.

There is no alleging about it. People who deliberately break into someone else's systems are criminals. By your logic if I leave my door unlocked and you walk in and steal my stuff, I'm the one at fault. Nice way to blame the victim. Do I need to drag out the rape example?

Re:Fuck off (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436319)

In many of these cases, however, it's not that you left your door open, it's that you set yourself up as a bank, collected other peoples' valuables for safekeeping, and then left the door open. Sure, the criminal shouldn't get off for free just because of this, but you yourself are also in a position of wrong. In this case, the crime is just evidence of how negligent you were.

Re:Fuck off (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | about a year ago | (#45436131)

You steal my personal data, sell it to someone else who uses that data to commit crimes, you are a dangerous person.

Your data is not personal if it has ever been shared outside of machines you own. If your data can be used by someone else to harm you or others, then the insecure system is what is dangerous, not the alleged criminal. We're going to have to come around and face the facts. It's not the hackers that are misunderstood: People don't understand the nature of information.

Data wants to be stolen! Just look at the way it's dressed!

No, you fuck off (5, Insightful)

deanklear (2529024) | about a year ago | (#45436219)

You steal my personal data, sell it to someone else who uses that data to commit crimes, you are a dangerous person.

When Google and Facebook do this for a profit, hide the data collection behind an EULA, and then sell your personal data to third parties, they are called geniuses and made billionaires.

Furthermore, the individual in question did not seek to make a profit. You can disagree with his methods, but back when the scales of justice were still capable of measuring anything at all, these sort of considerations were commonly implemented.

Stop trying to make excuses when people commit crimes. They're a criminal, pure and simple.

In 1750: "Stop making excuses for those who commit treason against the King. They are criminals, pure and simple."

In 1850: "Stop making excuses for those people who steal slaves under the guise of making them free. They are criminals, pure and simple."

In 1950: "Stop making excuses for those people who participate in race riots. They are criminals, pure and simple."

Legitimate power and systems of law do not justify themselves without some reasoning. So can you tell me why people who commit physical assaults, armed robberies, and sexual assaults should see less jail time that someone who made a copy of an email archive to try and expose overreach of our privatized military economy?

How is putting this individual in prison going to

1) repair the damage they are accused of
2) improve society at large
3) cost effectively return them to society

Questions 1-3 are routinely ignored because the American incarceration system is not designed to help American society. It causes more harm than good, has shoved millions of people into a cycle of poverty and violence that few escape from, and the costs (upwards of 60-100k per prisoner per year) to perpetuate the broken system are far more than simpler, more humane justice systems found throughout the industrialized world.

This is not 1600. America is not a puritan state. Keep your dead ideas about corporal punishment in the distant past where they belong.

Re:No, you fuck off (3, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | about a year ago | (#45436359)

I wish I had mod points. The only thing I would add to this is:

1. The cost of keeping people in prison and the rise of the prison-industrial complex. People make millions off of other Americans' misery.

2. The absolute disgrace of sentencing CHILDREN to adult prison. No attempt at rehabilitation. No effort made to protect their freedoms - which is unconscionable, as we remove their rights to pursue their particular happiness.

The prison system in the United States should make each and every one of us physically ill.

The usual things we say: (3, Interesting)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#45435825)

a) Nonviolent crimes get stiffer sentences than violent crimes "to send a message". That hard crime pays?
b) If there's any political motivation by the prosecution or court, expect to fare worse than a child rapist in sentencing.
c) I thought LulzSec and Anonymous were opposing gangs with the occasional common goal?

Re:The usual things we say: (1)

Enry (630) | about a year ago | (#45435889)

Hard crime is generally already morally reprehensible. "Softer" crimes like this one are a bit more morally ambisuous and thus the punishment serves as a deterrent.

It's the difference between saying "If I kill this person, not only is it wrong, but I'll go to prison" and "If I steal data from this company/person/government, I'll go to prison for a long long time. Do I really want to do that?"

minute differences (1)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#45436049)

Murder: A lawyer can say "this was justifiable homicide" or "he was standing his ground" or "it was temporary insanity" or "he had too much sugar in his diet." You get a suspended sentence in Club Med.

Hactivisim: You don't get those defenses. You get 10-25 in federal PMITA prison.

And quickly the morally wrong answer looks better than the socially right answer.

Re:The usual things we say: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436161)

Hard crime is generally already morally reprehensible. "Softer" crimes like this one are a bit more morally ambisuous and thus the punishment serves as a deterrent.

That's like saying "Since mass-murdering child rapists are already morally reprehensible, we can just let them off with a fine, but those damn jaywalkers - straight to the electric chair!" The US prison system essentially takes light, non-dangerous criminals, throws them into a meat grinder and turns them into dangerous hardened criminals, who then end up back in an already overloaded prison system.

Also, while I realize "ambisuous" was just a typo, it still looks like an awesome word - kind of a cross between ambiguous and ambitious in pronunciation (even my spellchecker can't decide which it wants that to be), which accurately describes the moral status of most "hactivism" crimes.

Re:The usual things we say: (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45436117)

a) Nonviolent crimes are often repeated, and their sentences are added together. Committing 17 counts of fraud is a Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas, but 17 counts of murder is rare even in Detroit.

b) That's because when politics get involved, people demand a perception of justice more than they demand actual justice. [tumblr.com]

c) Anonymous' only real goal is to ignore rules and social standards while hiding behind a mask and a proxy. LulzSec's goal is to gain infamy while carrying popular support. There's no reason why someone can't gain infamy and popular support while ignoring rules and hiding.

Prisons need to be fixed before patents (5, Insightful)

metrix007 (200091) | about a year ago | (#45435827)

There are so many problems with prisons in this country it's not funny.

Lets see...

  • Non dangerous criminals go to prison and become hardened criminals, instead of being punished in a suitable way and giving back to the community
  • Those scary hackers and pirates get more prison time than rapists and in some caes murderers
  • You can go to prison for teaching someone how to beat a lie detector test. That is essentially a travesty because of what it indicates
  • Prison is used a a deterrent, so far too often the punishment does not fit the crime or anywhere near it. Justice indeed.
  • Prison is meant to be about rehabilitation, in part. If someone is released back into society, they are considered rehabilitated. Yet, they lose the right to vote.

I'm sure there's more....

Re:Prisons need to be fixed before patents (1)

metrix007 (200091) | about a year ago | (#45435843)

That's great. 2013, Slashdot allows HTML, and can't even display an unordered list properly.

Re:Prisons need to be fixed before patents (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#45436293)

Have a look at the CSS. It's no wonder they don't have them styled properly when they have all that kudzu going on.

That's what happens when you sign up to fight the Specificity Wars.

You break the law (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435831)

You pay the price. Civil disobedience can be a very noble act, but if you are going to perform such an act you must be ready to pay the price. Particularly if most of society actually disagrees with your position. Prison is the appropriate location for these guys. They broke the law, they got caught. They must do their time. Prisons are for criminals, i.e. those who break the law are caught and convicted. Not all criminals are dangerous or violent, but all still go to prison if the sentence is for Prison time.

How does that saying go? "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."

Re:You break the law (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45435867)

We have here the kind of person that was thrilled when they through Nelson Mandela in jail.

Re:You break the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435979)

For orchestrating a campaign of bombing and other violent acts? Yes, Mandela was deserving of his sentence. He served his time and came out a greater man for serving it. But he was no angel, and deserved to spend time in prison. He was a terrorist in his youth. He used violence or the threat thereof to try to force governmental and societal change.

But the point stands, if you wish to exercise civil disobedience be ready to pay the price. It's part of the process. You commit the act, are sentenced, and use that time in jail to continue your message in hopes of swaying public opinion to your side. Mandela was able to do so because while his methods were violent and brutal his cause was just. So while the end does not justify the means, in the end he was celebrated for not quiting the fight while in prison. So while I was not alive when they threw him in Jail, at the time I would have been thrilled at sentencing a terrorist to life in prison. At the time he was released, I did celebrate his release and his movement to a higher and more political role in the fight for human rights in South Africa.

Don't wanna do time, don't commit the crime.

Re:You break the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436123)

Apartheid,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid_in_South_Africa

Re:You break the law (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45436157)

Justice doesn't play into the authoritarian mindset. Right is being the "good guys."

Re:You break the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435965)

So I guess our founding fathers should have just surrendered to British law and "paid the price".

Re:You break the law (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#45436317)

The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew that if they were caught, they'd be found guilty of treason and executed. Nathan Hale met exactly that fate a few months later. Much of the civil rights movement was fought in courtrooms, with people being used as pawns just to get an argument in front of a judge. Activists today are routinely arrested for minor crimes during protests to get better media coverage.

America idolizes its heroes for their courage. Today's hacktivists are noisy, but their anonymous message carries no conviction.

Re:You break the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436061)

<quote>So I guess our founding fathers should have just surrendered to British law and "paid the price".</quote>Had they not won they would have. They acknowledged that fact several times. Benjamin Franklin stated "Either we hang together or we hang separately." They did in fact know what they faced had the rebellion failed and they not won independence. Had that not happened they would have been arrested, charged, convicted and most likely executed as traitors to the King.

At no point did I (and I am the original coward behind the OP) state that those who commit acts of civil disobedience should then immediately surrender to the authorities or confess and plead guilty. But if they are going to do the crime, they must be ready to do the time. If caught, arrested, tried and convicted they will do the time and it is most appropriate to send them to prison with every other convicted prisoner.

Re:You break the law (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436215)

Impeccable logic from someone who, from the sounds of it, never stepped into a court room. Sure "criminals" as you think of them need to be punished and punished hard. The problem is that the definition of criminal in your mind does not match the truth: someone who broke a law - any law. If you sit in a court room for any length of time, you will see a representative sampling of these criminals - human beings as you or I - accused of such things as "assaults" resulting from bar fights, domestic violence, drunken disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, speeding, resisting arrest on charges that were never brought, prostitution, and a thousand other trivial banalities. Chances are in a typical day you wont see anyone you'd call a real criminal.

With so many trivial occurrences being classified as criminal, the word loses a lot of meaning. It is no longer accurate to associate criminal with just murderers, rapists, burglars, and arsonists. Worse yet, some of the worst offenses in modern history are not even considered crimes - think NSA and Federal Reserve/Wall Street/Politicians. As a result, people end up ignoring the word criminal because it's not meaningful. Instead they develop a scale on which to place offenders. When a hacker gets a sentence that most first time murders would not get, then it's easy to see why people like me consider the "justice" system to broken. After all, how can justice be blind if it's being used to "send a message"?

Slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435835)

By that logic, maliciously rogue bankers, confidence tricksters, and other perpetrators of non-physical crimes shouldn't be jailed either.

maliciously rogue bankers (4, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#45435955)

Name a banker that's actually gone to jail.

And no, Madoff doesn't count. He wasn't a banker, AND he turned himself in -- chances are; had he waited a bit more, he could have only paid a small fine and walked away.

Re:Slippery slope (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#45435997)

Last time I checked nobody of the criminals that caused the 2008 depression are in prison. So your point is?

Unequal punishment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435859)

An individual embarrasses a business? 10 years in jail.

A business financially ruins thousands of lives? Fined a small portion of their profit.

Re:Unequal punishment (2)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about a year ago | (#45436245)

Corporations are people. In fact, they are the most important people...

It's USA what do you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435891)

This country has no respect for people. Largest population on earth is in jails. Security forces everywhere. Prosecutors care about "justice" only in front of TV cameras.
People get real, it's U.S.A, soviet style run country.

Comrades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435913)

Gulag welcomes you

Don't do the crime.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435923)

if you can't handle the anal

From the linked slashdot article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435945)

"At 11:45 PST on Christmas Eve, hacking collective Anonymous disclosed that not only has it hacked the Stratfor website (since confirmed by Friedman himself), but has also obtained the full client list of over 4000 individuals and corporations, including their credit cards (which supposedly have been used to make $1 million in 'donations'), as well as over 200 GB of email correspondence."

Running up charges on stolen credit cards isn't hacktivisim, its theft. Fuck him.

Re: From the linked slashdot article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436053)

I hope he becomes a community Fleshlight>. [fleshlight.com]

Re:From the linked slashdot article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436361)

Yeah, and he'll probably end up in some Federal white collar prison camp (along with other white collar pussies who will steal your money without even looking you in the face), not a pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Really? (3, Insightful)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year ago | (#45435947)

"Misunderstood"? Wow, that's a mantra for the far, far, left. "Society is just so mean, he's misunderstood"..
I have no issue stating that prisons are over populated with people who are not physically dangerous, and/or shouldn't be there (guys busted for pot for example) but saying they're "misunderstood" is akin to saying they're just children who didn't know any better. Um, a little personal responsibility please? There still must be some repercussions, commensurate to the hacking/stealing/damage they perpetrated.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436425)

but saying they're "misunderstood" is akin to saying they're just children who didn't know any better.

Not quite. "They misunderstood" is befitting children who do not know better. "They are misunderstood" indicates that they are not at fault at all, not simply that their fault is to be excused this time due to lack of education.

Fuck You! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435949)

The law is clear and is supposed to apply to all. The law stipulates that certain actions are illegal and that these are the (potential) penalties for being caught perpetrating those illegal actions.

You know the law. You know the penalty. If you choose to break the law, even if you are doing it for purposes of civil disobedience or changing the law, you must expect the penalty.

They knew the risk when the started their "hacktivism" and acting all tough and macho. Well, now you're caught, man up and take the penalty. I have no sympathy for anyone who intentionally beaks the law and then turns into a sniveling little bitch when they get caught. Fuck you!

Do the crime, serve the time! I'm totally down with that.

Screw 'em then (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45435971)

This is why people should stick to more conventional terrorism, like bombs and murder. Then the ROI is far better.

Made In America (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year ago | (#45436003)

If we make it too costly for American hacktivists to do their work here, then someone's just going to offshore the job of breaking into important industrial military complex computers to China.

hackers are not violent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436057)

but them evil potheads are!

3 of em vandalized my house yesterday and left their dirty needles by my mailbox after injecting marijuanas. their evil people!

maybe the hackers can release the internal the emails about them!!

Alaska? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436065)

How about a work camp in the great white north for political prisoners, like civilized countries do it...

They are dangerous criminals.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436093)

The difference, of course, is dangerous to who?

Being dangerous to authority is much worse than being dangerous to the public, and is treated accordingly.

Re:They are dangerous criminals.. (4, Informative)

bmajik (96670) | about a year ago | (#45436403)

I screwed up and posted, so I can't mod you up.

One needs to understand the motives of the state

Violent, random criminals are the best kind of criminals for politicians. Thugs _make the case_ that the government needs more power to keep people safe.

People like Snowden are govt's worse nightmare. He hasn't hurt anyone at all, but he did blow the lid off of a bunch of stuff the govt was doing, which ranged from blatantly illegal to making govt look petty/incompetent.

Snowden threatens _government_ legitimacy, and that is why he is a huge priority for the Feds.

Equality of Committed Crime (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436171)

1. Rape carries an average sentence of just shy of 12 years while Second Degree Murder (in most states) carries a minimum sentence of 10 years.

2. So, releasing information about a private company contracted to spy on individuals (the majority of whom are US citizens) by our own government gives you a sentence of... 10 years.

3. But, if you're the NSA or associated with it or any other organization you can freely violate all the rights of the entire population with a sentence of... 0 years and a great job with excellent benefits.

Somehow the scales of justice really don't seem to be balanced... at all. On the other hand, they do appear to be completely blind.

"white collar crimes" (4, Insightful)

bmajik (96670) | about a year ago | (#45436185)

I think there's an argument to be made that people who commit assaults or other acts of violence against others are an entirely different class of individual than people who run pyramid schemes, hack web sites, etc.

There -is- an aspect of prison that says "we're going to keep this person out of society for a while as a way to protect society". Taking phones/internet away from a cracker is more than sufficient to protect society, and arguably is a significant punitive action against someone with the time/skills/interests to be successful.

People who commit mail fraud or steal long distance shouldn't share cell space with sex predators, murderers, etc. It's not in the interests of society, the individuals in question, or any efforts at reforming criminals prior to re-introduction to society.

What's going to happen to a nerd in prison is that they'll do anything possible to survive. Historically, hackers have joined up with mafia or gangs for _physical_ protection, and in exchange, provide black-hat services to the groups providing them with protection.

This is NOT how you reform geeks. This plunges them deeper into the realm of criminal enterprise, with higher stakes, and more damage to everyone.

Belief Dependent Ethics: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about a year ago | (#45436187)

Prison is for dangerous people, but I suspect many are adding a few caveats.

Let me alter it so that it's more accurate:

"Prison is for people who are dangerous, or don't represent my political views and break into computers. i.e. If someone breaks into the Tea Party's computers, they don't deserve jail. That would be just vengeance and totally unjust. But if a person broke into the computers of Occupy and damaged them to stop coordinating of a protest that should be punished with jail time."

I see this attitude with abortion protestors that I've met, too. They think those arrested for damaging abortion clinics or blocking access shouldn't be jailed because it's a good cause. They often also think that anyone who uses similar tactics against them should be jailed.

It's all in the definition of "activism" as opposed to "vandalism". One person's vandal is another persons activist. It gets to be a political line drawing game.

Frankly, I'll worry more about some poor gleek stuck in jail for a lengthy stay after getting caught smoking pot.

The "next door" test and economic crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436193)

If you just use the "next door" test, this guy doesn't belong in prison. The guy who smokes pot and lives *next door* does not belong in prison. I probably won't even smell it. The guy who rapes children and lives *next door* belongs in prison--but frequently isn't.

OTOH, even though this guy wouldn't be a bad neighbor, his actions have a cost to society. His crime is economic. We have to apply another test. "Is the cost of locking him up less than his cost to society". If he stole 4000 credit cards, let's say the average limit on the cards is $5,000. That's $20 million potential cost on one crime alone. Prison sounds like a good economic solution in this case.

2 tiered justice system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436199)

When the crime is from a low-class vs a upper class, the punishment always seems to be so much more harsh. The government should not have any special treatment when crimes are done vs themselves. His crime should go with repayment of bringing change within the government to strengthen their security weaknesses for one. Then to hear why he did these illegal actions and take into consideration his opinions of why he justified his wrong-doings...

No good deed goes unpunished (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436225)

This is just the way the world works when dishonest, greedy scum run it. Prisons are really just slave labor camps for people who weren't fortunate enough to win the genetic lottery.

Prison is not biblical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436227)

For those who care:
Nowhere in the bible does God recommend incarceration as punishment. The punishment is either fine(s), banishment, or death.

Biblical law doesn't discuss jail per se, but pre-trial confinement is supposed to be as needed and short term. Don't forget: even jurors and witnesses may be sequestered when necessary.

Define hacktivist (1)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | about a year ago | (#45436249)

I can allow that certain cases of hacking are vastly over-sentenced by the justice system. However, you've got to be more specific by what you consider a hacktivist before I consider them not a criminal. If you break into a system, steal data, and then flaunt the data as proof that the system's owner is incompetent, corrupt, insecure, whatever, then okay. If you also use some of that data (i.e. credit cards) to charge innocent / unsuspecting / unrelated people $700,000, even if it goes to charity, that's criminal behavior. You're not just a hacktivist anymore, sorry.

Jeremy Hammond is a repeat offender. (5, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about a year ago | (#45436271)

Okay, I happen to be VERY familiar with Jeremy Hammond (for someone who isn't part of his butt-kissing crew). I associated with him for a couple years in hacking circles in the mid-2000's. My opinion of him isn't very high. And I can't tell you what I think of his ethics, as he has none. He's someone who's constantly looking for an enemy to somehow oppress him and fight against.

This argument MIGHT hold water if this was Hammond's first offense. It isn't.

He was expelled from college for a hacking incident. Not for the hack itself, but for installing back doors into the systems and then failing to disclose them when he came forward to "teach the admins" about the methods he'd used to get into the systems in the first place.

He assaulted a Chicago city cop during a gay pride parade in 2004 while trying to confront a heckler.

He was fired from his job at a Mac consultancy in the Chicago area after teaching people how to hack into systems using the consultancy's servers as guinea pigs (machines that held LIVE CUSTOMER DATA).

He and a cohort looted the coffers of the Chicago Communist Party after a failed attempt to take control.

He's had multiple arrests as a public nuisance.

He and a group of his erstwhile friends hacked a site called Protest Warrior and stole credit cards. And he left such a bad taste in these friends' mouths that one of them rolled on him to the FBI. He was caught, prosecuted and sent to jail for 3 years (got out after 2 on good behavior).

After getting out he was busted for assaulting a holocaust denier in a public establishment.

He was busted for theft and destruction of property during the Chicago bid to host the Olympics.

And, what did he do? He hacked Stratfor and stole credit card numbers (with intent to use) AGAIN.

So what are we supposed to do? Impose a "no computers, no cell phones" sentence on him? In this day and age it's practically impossible to enforce.
There's also the fact that he's a repeat offender.

Is he really and truly PHYSICALLY dangerous? No. But prison isn't about simply physical protection of society. It's also about deterring those who abuse society on a constant basis.

And Jeremy Hammond is one such abusive element. He's a thug with a martyr complex. He wants to feel important, authoritative and in control. He wants to be seen as a "rebel". The fact is, he's a script kiddie, using the work of others and trying to make it appear as if he's some vastly knowledgeable authority. He has only a thin veneer of social skills to get by on, and basically defaults to "smash and grab" when he doesn't get his way.

In short, he's a boil on the butt of society. And prison is about the only place for him.

So no prison for white collar crimes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45436273)

Anyone who was criminally involved in the 2009 financial fiscal collapse, shouldn't face any jail time at all? What about the BP CEO, or Bernie Madoff? I think the argument people on slashdot are making is that nobody who shares their narrow set of political views should be imprisoned for white collar crimes.

The Real Punishment (1)

David Govett (2825317) | about a year ago | (#45436303)

The punishment is not the imprisonment, because most hackers spend their waking hours confined to a room, cut off from physical contact with other humans. The punishment is isolation from the Internet, which leaves hackers with nothing to do but ponder their sorry, childish selves. That is what hackers truly and deeply fear.

I personally know Jeremy... (5, Informative)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about a year ago | (#45436305)

How about posting the real reason he was given such a stiff penalty!

This isn't his first hacking charge nor his first run in with police.

His rap sheet is as long as my arm, with charges ranging from hacking and using stolen credit cards to assault. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Hammond#Arrests_and_criminal_history [wikipedia.org]

My guess is this harsh sentence stems from the Stratfor hack as well.

Obvious place to start: (1)

David Govett (2825317) | about a year ago | (#45436331)

One-third of prisoners in federal prisons are illegal aliens, mostly from Mexico. To fix the prisons, first secure the border.

Prison is not for violent offenders (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about a year ago | (#45436375)

It is for non-violent drug offenders. And a whole slew of other generally victimless crimes. Otherwise who would support the prison/industrial complex?

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