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House OKs Life Sentences For Hackers

chrisd posted about 12 years ago | from the but-still-okay-to-rip-off-the-stock-market dept.

The Courts 972

ByteHog writes "The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Monday to create a new punishment of life imprisonment for malicious computer hackers. The article on MSNBC also mentions that police can conduct internet or telephone eavesdropping without first obtaining a court order. Says a Rep from Texas: 'A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'" Other articles can be found here and the text of the bill is available.

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OMFG!! (-1, Redundant)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 12 years ago | (#3892713)

sounds a little harsh

Re:OMFG!! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892828)

Well, this is just the beginning. Computers are a realatively new technology. Compared to the history of automobiles. In the beginning of widespread use, 1920's, there were certainly no need to have a license if you wanted to roam the public roads. (internet)
And If you wanted to roll your own car, no problemo. As cars became more or less everybodys-god-given-right, accidents started to happen everywhere and people did die. It will happen! Computers will be as regulated as cars. And it will happen soon. Sooner than we would like.


Time to move to Canada (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892716)

Well I guess it is time to start thinking about moving to Canada now that the good ole USA has become good ole "lets throw non-violent people" in prison land. Now, can someone tell me why being a conservative republician is better?

All your freedoms are belong to us... (0)

MrFenty (579353) | about 12 years ago | (#3892719)

...welcome to the end of the free Internet, if it ever really existed. Life sentences for people who criticise the state ? It can't be too far away.

mouse can be as dangerous (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892720)

yeah... fuck you..

Yuck! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892724)

How long until the page is down?

Typical (1, Interesting)

dharcombe (183391) | about 12 years ago | (#3892725)

A typical knee-jerk reaction.

Any lawyers out there know if the ACLU or someone similar can get it repealed?

Re:Typical (0, Flamebait)

GravySkin (516381) | about 12 years ago | (#3892765)

Yes the wonderful ACLU. Same folks who insure that we only have to go the library or schools to surf porn.

Re:Typical (5, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | about 12 years ago | (#3892841)

Get what repealed?


This still needs to go to the Senate and the Pres. Lobby them.

Has hacking ever killed anyone? (5, Interesting)

OpCode42 (253084) | about 12 years ago | (#3892728)

Well, if hacking actually resulted in deaths, a life sentence would be applicable. Has it?

Re:Has hacking ever killed anyone? (5, Insightful)

CountBrass (590228) | about 12 years ago | (#3892760)

That would sensibly be covered by existing murder and man-slaughter laws. The internet and computers are not some how "special" and "different" - they should and must be subject to the same laws as every other human endeavour. No need for endless special legislation - well except for the senator from disney and his cronies to promote their pay-master's interests.

Except (5, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | about 12 years ago | (#3892822)

That murder is usually a State, not Federal, matter. In the case of a hacker, who may be operating across State lines, it is proper for the Federal Government to get involved.

mod Parent insitefull (1)

oliverthered (187439) | about 12 years ago | (#3892832)

I don't know why they've got it into there heads that computers and networks are somehow different from everything else because your using a computer does copyright law sease to exist?
We don't neen new laws when the existing ones have worked just fine (or to well in tha case of copyright).

If I kill someone by hitting them over a kead with a palm piolt, is it any different from hacking there car and causing there breaks to fail, or just cutting hte break cable..

There is one strange case where things may be different, in the UK you can't be tried for poisioning if the person dies more than a year a after the poisioning was alleged to have occured, with a computer it's easy to produce a time bomb effect.

Re:Has hacking ever killed anyone? (5, Funny)

Grax (529699) | about 12 years ago | (#3892844)

It is illegal to kill someone. It is also illegal to kill someone because of their race or sexuality. And now it is illegal to kill someone using a computer. Glad we got this worked out.

Re:Has hacking ever killed anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892779)

This one time, at hacking camp, I rooted the hospital, and then I got into the ICU, and then I turned off all the monitors, and then I laughed, and then I stuck a mouse in my pussy.

Re:Has hacking ever killed anyone? (4, Interesting)

AVee (557523) | about 12 years ago | (#3892817)

Well, if hacking actually resulted in deaths, a life sentence would be applicable.

Yes, i agree, but not just for the hacker. I would at least take a serious look at the people responsible for the system. If some kids kicks agains the wall of a building and it collapses, who's to blame?

Has it?

Not that i know of, but i might happen. I've heard news somewhere about warnings for terrorist attacks through the internet, things like possible attacks to nuclear power plants. Personally i think anyone that build a system to control a nuclear power plant and connects it to the internet should get a life sentence. If a hack causes death the hacker can never be the only one to blame IMHO.

Re:Has hacking ever killed anyone? (1)

Foss (248146) | about 12 years ago | (#3892835)

It's possible to kill someone with hacking. So long as it's hacking with an axe.

The Red Scare Part II (2, Insightful)

JSmooth (325583) | about 12 years ago | (#3892730)

Welcome to the new Millenia. In the 1950s we had the "Red Scare" now we have the hacker scare. When the first execution occurs for hacking won't that be something?

Our society may need technology to function but this dependance is going to extremes.

And, of course, what happens to the programmers? If I design a faulty home security system I get sued don't I??


Are you now or have you ever been a hacker?

Okay, this is pretty much it. (3, Insightful)

BadmanX (30579) | about 12 years ago | (#3892731)

Build your own computer? You're a terrorist.
Run an "unsecured" operating system? You're a terrorist.
Share files? Terrorist.
Complain about corporate abuse? Terrorist.
Demand your Fair Use rights? Terrorist.
Fail to consume your fair share? Terrorist.

In 100 years, when they are picking over the ashes of our civilization wondering what went wrong, this will be the turning point day they decide on...the day when you could get LIFE in PRISON for using a computer.

Re:Okay, this is pretty much it. (1)

linzeal (197905) | about 12 years ago | (#3892754)

Overthrow the government, revolutionary.

Re:Okay, this is pretty much it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892793)

>get LIFE in PRISON for using a computer

Dont be a twat. I think the sentence is for maliciously using one - such as to fuck about with multi-billion dollar transactions, life support systems, power-plants, spy satellites. No-ones going to go to prison for life for setting up a low-quality website. Although perhaps they should...

Re:Okay, this is pretty much it. (1)

swaic (541592) | about 12 years ago | (#3892863)

such as to fuck about with multi-billion dollar transactions

So what about those Enron and Worldcom folks? I don't think they used a couple pencils and an abacus. All their doings were through the use of computers. You may have a point here. However, the odds of the feds seeing it that way are pretty much non-existent. Essentially, you stand a better chance of seeing Osama eating bacon cheeseburgers at McDonalds, listening to Britney Spears, wearing an I LOVE NY tee shirt.

Re:Okay, this is pretty much it. (3, Insightful)

stevenbee (227371) | about 12 years ago | (#3892803)

the day when you could get LIFE in PRISON for using a computer

... To commit certain crimes. In other words, Its not the fact that you are using the computer, but how you use it.

Using a(licensed) firearm to shoot soda cans off a fence != crime

Using a(licensed) firearm to shoot someone in the face == crime

Heated hyperbole will not help to advance your cause; only a reasoned consideration of the issues will.
I now jump off my soapbox.

Re:Okay, this is pretty much it. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892805)

this is what passes for insightful on slashdot? good lord, what a retarded comment this is.

Define Terrorism (5, Interesting)

Anarchofascist (4820) | about 12 years ago | (#3892806)

Build your own computer? You're a terrorist.
Run an "unsecured" operating system? You're a terrorist.
Share files? Terrorist.
Complain about corporate abuse? Terrorist.
Demand your Fair Use rights? Terrorist.
Fail to consume your fair share? Terrorist.

Shooting people to pursue political gain? Not sure. Depends.
Holding a population hostage via threats of violence? Depends who does it.

Re:Okay, this is pretty much it. (5, Interesting)

Chilles (79797) | about 12 years ago | (#3892807)

English is not my native language so sometimes when I don't know a word I have to guess it's meaning from the context. The last year or so I have come to the following:

Terrorist: used by people to indicate other people that say or do things that the first group of people doesn't approve of, doesn't understand or isn't receiving any money for.
War on terrorism: The act of violating every basic human right of terrorists.
Peace: A situation where all terrorists are either dead or in prison.

From your post I see my self guessed definitions are pretty close to the real meaning of those words. (and boy will the world be a quiet place when the American government finally decides there's peace)

Funny jokes by poopbot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892733)

Whats black, blue and green and doesnt like sex?
The Girl Scout locked in my basement.
Whats the worst part about having sex with a six year-old?
Getting the blood out of your clown suit.
Whats the best thing about getting a hand job from a five year-old?
That little hand makes your thing look really huge.
Guy comes home from work to find his girlfriend sitting on the porch, crying.
Whats wrong, honey?
Im leaving you! I just found out youre a pdophile!
Pdophile? Why, thats a pretty big word for a ten year-old.
How can you tell when your sisters on her period?
When your dads dick tastes like blood!
Two pdophiles are lying on a beach tanning, one turns to the other and says, Excuse me, youre in my son.
What is the sickest sound you hear when fucking a nine year-old?
Her hips snapping!
What is the best sound you hear when fucking a 13 year-old?
Her hips snapping!
Whats 18 inches long, blue, veiny, and makes a woman cry?
Crib death.
How could the mans seven year-old son tell that his dad had fucked his eight year-old sister? His dads weiner tasted like blood!
Watson returns home to find Holmes in bed with a child. He shouts, Is this some sort of a schoolgirl?
Holmes replies, Elementary, my dear Watson.
So I was having sex with my girlfriend, and I decided I wanted to get kinky and try and do her in the ass. So I slipped around back; she looked over her shoulder at me and said, My, how presumptuous of you. I said, Presumptuous? Thats a big word for a ten year-old.
Two guys are walking down the street when a beautiful woman passes. The first guy says, Damn! Id love to tear her clothes off, do her in the rear, smear my fces all over her, slice off her breasts, chop her into little pieces, put her in a garbage bag and toss her into the river!
Second guy says, Yuck! Youre a sick bastard!
First guy says, Whatre you? A fag?
A kindergarten teacher is asking the kids what their father does for a living. All the kids answer except for Little Johnny. The teacher asks Little Johnny what his Dad does and Johnny replies, My dad is dead.
The teacher says, Thats terribile, but what did he do before he died?
Little Johnny replies, He turned blue and shit all over himself!
A guy calls in sick to work.
Whats wrong? asks the boss.
Im sick, the guy replies.
You sound all right.
No, Im really sick. Believe me.
Listen, you were fine yesterday, and we have a lot of work today. I want you in here. You cant be that sick!
Dude, I just banged my sister. Dont tell me Im not sick.
A little girl accompanied her father to the barbershop. While her dad received a haircut, the little girl stood next to the barber chair, enjoying a snack cake. The barber smiled at her and said, Sweetheart, youre going to get hair on your Twinkie.
I know, the little girl replied. Im gonna get tits, too.
An older man and a small boy walk hand in hand through the woods.
Boy: These woods sure are spooky!
Man: You think youre scared, Ive gotta walk out of here alone.
Whats the difference between Neil Armstrong and Michael Jackson?
One walked on the moon, and the other rapes little boys.
Has anyone read Michael Jacksons new book, The Ins and Outs of Child Rearing?
Q: Whats the difference between a dead baby and a golden delicious apple?
A: I dont cum all over the golden delicious apple before I take a bite out of it.
Q: Whats the difference between a dead baby and my girlfriend?
A: I dont kiss my girlfriend after sex.
Q: Whats the difference between a dead baby and a table?
A: You cant fuck a table.
Q: Whats special about a dead baby over all other forms of life?
A: You can achieve deep throat from whichever way you enter.
Q: What do you have when you have four dead babies, take away two, and add five more?
A: An orgy!
Q: Whats better than three 14 year-olds?
A: 14 three year-olds.
Q: Whats white and bobs up and down in a babys crib?
A: A pdophiles ass.
Q: Whats the safest way to play with a baby?
A: With a condom.
Q: Whats more fun than feeling up a dead baby?
A: Feeling up a dead baby with three nipples.
Q: What does a baby and a Pinto have in common?
A: Theyre fun to ride until they die.
Q: What do you get whan you dislocate a dead babys jaw?
A: Deep throat.
Q: Whats the difference between a baby and a grandmother?
A: Grandmothers dont die when you fuck them in the ass.
Q: Whats the best sound in the world?
A: Hearing dead babys hips crack under pressure!
Q: Whats worse than a having sex with a dead baby?
A: Having sex with a dead baby filled with razor blades.
Q: How do you stop a baby from choking?
A: Take your dick out of its mouth.
Q: Whats worse than finding a dead baby on your pillow in the morning?
A: Realizing you were drunk and made love to it the night before.
Q: How do you make a baby cry twice?
A: Wipe your bloody cock on his teddy bear.
Whats better than sex with a twelve year-old boy?
Absolutely nothing.

- posted by poopbot: because even your grandmother can use lunix


Re:Funny jokes by poopbot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892801)

you cant say pedophile?

Sure. (1)

m.batsis (529986) | about 12 years ago | (#3892734)

police can conduct internet or telephone eavesdropping without first obtaining a court order

Why don't they send people right to jail without a court then.

Re:Sure. (1)

boomer_rehfield (579777) | about 12 years ago | (#3892751)

I'm not sure I understand that...that's what the wiretap laws were for....

Re:Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892782)

they're working on it. im pretty sure they can already hold you indefinately without trial if youre a 'suspected terrorist' woo, go "patriot" act

Mouses? (1)

Branc0 (580914) | about 12 years ago | (#3892737)

A mouse can be just as dangerous

Are we talking about Mouse Engineers?

re: mouses (0, Offtopic)

Brother_Chubba (586342) | about 12 years ago | (#3892848)

Hey..Ive seen the movie Mouse Hunt

that is one dangerous fucking mouse! #goatsecx (-1, Troll) troll (593289) | about 12 years ago | (#3892738)

Inevitable... (1)

CountBrass (590228) | about 12 years ago | (#3892740)

And no surprise that they're using terrorism to justify yet another incursion on citizen's civil liberties. What the US government seems to be forgetting - as someone here in the UK pointed out in response to the UK government's attempts to introduce ID cards - the government is there to serve the people - not the other way around. What's scarey for me is that what the US does today our poodle US brown nosing government does tomorrow. Personally I've long considered the continent's greater idealogical distance from the US to be the greatest argument for closing european integration by the UK. Hey it only took us >200 years to catch up with the US and get at least part of our constituion written - and then only because of Europe. Oh well.

Dangerous things those mice (1)

TooTallFourThinking (206334) | about 12 years ago | (#3892742)

A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb. Especially when I tape I knife to the one end and swing it all around. Look out! ;)

Re:Dangerous things those mice (2)

joto (134244) | about 12 years ago | (#3892772)

Well, I thought the damage you could get from a mouse was mostly limited to a "mouse-hand". But true, the cords are surprisingly strong, I bet you could hang yourself in a mouse-cord. I don't think they've got enough mass to be effective as a sling however (it would hurt, but wouldn't do much damage).

Re:Dangerous things those mice (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 12 years ago | (#3892862)

Especially when I tape I knife to the one end and swing it all around

That seems like a lot of bother. Just use the mouse cord to strangle somebody.

Hell's teeth (1)

drunkahol (143049) | about 12 years ago | (#3892743)

One would hope that this would have a clearly defined scale of punishment.

Malicious damage is certainly to be discouraged, but how exactly are you going to draw the line between mischevious and malicious. Just to say that malicious damage has intent behind it or something is not enough.

If people are financially harmed by the outcome of the damage - will that carry a larger sentence than damage that leaves no-one out of pocket.

You cannot draw a definitive line in the sand - and as such this is VERY dangerous.

Is a skript kiddie who defaces websites as dangerous as a driver who kills people during a drunk driving incident???

ha ha, fags (-1)

Dick Veiney (553663) | about 12 years ago | (#3892746)

dumbass crackers getting bum-raped by nigger lifers. Closest thing to pussy now that they've got some white boy mangina to play with.

while the REAL .commIEs get away with asphixiation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892747)

Microsoft Makes Donation to Peru

Filed at 7:54 p.m. ET

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. is providing about $550,000 in money, software and consulting services to the Peruvian government for educational and ``e-government'' initiatives.

In a news conference Monday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo announced the contribution, Microsoft's first in Peru.

Toledo, elected last year, made technology and education a key focus, and initiated conversations with Microsoft, said Sandro Marcone Flores, executive director of the Huascaran project in Peru.

Marcone Flores downplayed whether the contributions could conflict with a proposal under debate in the Peruvian government. That proposal, by Congressman Edgar Villanueva, would obligate all public institutions to convert exclusively to open-source software, in which the underlying code is available to anyone wanting to revise or customize it.

The money will go toward training teachers as part of Toledo's Huascaran Project to improve the educational system with better instructors and technology. Microsoft's contributions will also be used to teach programming skills to potential software developers and help build a central government Web site that can deploy Internet-based services.

phreaking whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892756)

so you want to become popular in some 3rd wurld country with some corrupt rulerz? put your money where your mouse is, you philthee hax0rs.

I don't see how (2, Insightful)

Morgahastu (522162) | about 12 years ago | (#3892749)

hacking into something deserves a life sentence. When was information ever as important as a life? Maybe they are thinking ahead into the future when maybe someone could hack into a plane and make it crash, but surely that criminal wouldn't be a hacker, more like a murderer, or a sabateur. People who kill people sometimes don't even get life sentences, people who hide 40 billion dollars in expenses don't get life sentences. Why should people who access information get it?

Re:I don't see how (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892811)

whenever a plane's controls can be hacked into, the person who was RETARDED enough to design a system flown by computer should be put in prison for life. just because you can, doesn't mean you should....

omfg- (5, Funny)

rchatterjee (211000) | about 12 years ago | (#3892752)

Just to illustrate the lack of knowledge our legislators have:

Says a Rep from Texas: 'A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'

Show me one hacker who uses a mouse to hack, even second rate wannabe script kiddies use shell prompts.

Re:omfg- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892850)

It did say Rep from Texas

Your civil liberties (4, Insightful)

Mattygfunk (517948) | about 12 years ago | (#3892753)

Until we secure our cyber infrastructure, a few keystrokes and an Internet connection is all one needs to disable the economy and endanger lives

Oh very nice we can now punish people who commit murder through electronic means, except we can already do this with existing murder laws.

Economy and endanger lives eh? I guess were clear which one is the most important in the eyes of the government by the order those were placed in.

We're doing this to stop terrorism? Oh ok that explains it.

Re:Your civil liberties (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | about 12 years ago | (#3892784)

And exactly what does this do to secure anything? Anyone running critical life-support systems connected directly to a public network should be the target of legislature like this.

Well, that would imply cluefulness.

Hmm... (5, Insightful)

MiTEG (234467) | about 12 years ago | (#3892757)

So if I train my dog so it kills someone, I'll get a cushy 4 years in jail [] , but if I train my computer so it causes only fiduciary damages, I can get life in prison? That seems screwy to me.

Wow. (3, Insightful)

warmcat (3545) | about 12 years ago | (#3892761)

I hope none of the 1 million Governement Snoops [] I read about via Drudge don't turn you y4nk33 haxxors in. (What happened to fighting the good fight with 'Hacker' vs 'Cracker', anyway?) Actually, its probably reasonable, if someone deliberately set out to kill people by screwing with Air Traffic Control or somethings. But there's a cold wind blowing from the hill.

Its not as harsh as it sounds. (5, Informative)

GMontag451 (230904) | about 12 years ago | (#3892764)

If you read the text of the bill, life sentences are only allowed if the offender knowingly causes or attempts to cause death or serious bodily injury.

In other words, they are authorizing life sentences for attempted murder through hacking, which I think is very reasonable. Attempted murder can already get you a life sentence, I don't see why it should be any different if you attempt it through a computer than if you attempt it through any other means.

Re:Its not as harsh as it sounds. (2, Insightful)

HermDog (24570) | about 12 years ago | (#3892810)

But I thought murder and attemped murder were already against the law and punishable by (theoretically) long prison terms, life prison terms and, in some states, death (at least in the case of accomplished rather than attempted murder).

Oh, looks like they are, just as you said. So why do we need a new law? Does it make a difference what tools are used? It can't see how it should.

Re:Its not as harsh as it sounds. (3, Insightful)

BCoates (512464) | about 12 years ago | (#3892859)

This does make it a federal offense, while "ordinary" murder is a violation of state law in most cases, so the law's not a total noop.

Benjamin Coates

If attempted murder can already get you life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892812)

...then why pass another law?

Re:Its not as harsh as it sounds. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892820)

hey, no reading the article..respond irrationally to the freaking subject.

Re:Its not as harsh as it sounds. (5, Insightful)

Bartmoss (16109) | about 12 years ago | (#3892831)

Then why is a new law needed?

Re:Its not as harsh as it sounds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892855)


What friggin planet are you from where attempted murder is punishable by LIFE in prison! You can't get life for murder usually!

This is like (1)

Morgahastu (522162) | about 12 years ago | (#3892769)

saying lock pickers could get a life sentence, it makes no sense. Think of the crime, not of the skill.

No one expects the... (2, Funny)

Zarf (5735) | about 12 years ago | (#3892771)

Spanish Inquisition!

Now all we need is for the FBI to issue red vestiments to their Computer Crimes task-force and when the pop in the door they can scream:

No one expects the...

uh.. (1)

gkuchta (451185) | about 12 years ago | (#3892773)


You can Launder $3.89 billion dollars; or Cook your company's books, run the ship into the ground and fuck everyone not already making $1million+/yr when the show's over; or simply fucking murder people and see little or no jail time, but reading someone's email's going to net you life in prison? Sound fair to me.

Re:uh.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892846)

lots of secrets to hide...

Sure a mouse can be dangerous... (1)

BeNJ-GoS (592137) | about 12 years ago | (#3892775)

Sure a mouse can be dangerous...
i'll take it out of my ps\2 port and smack each member of the house of representatives over the head with it!!
I think that the US goverment is definitely misusing the whole Terrorist thing a little too much...
"eavesdropping without first obtaining a court order." ??

sounds a little over the top to me...

As dangerous as a bullet? (1) (579491) | about 12 years ago | (#3892776)

I've never seen nor heard of a mouse, when used as mice are intended, killing anyone. Just a *little* too much hyperbole.

The movie wasn't *that* bad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892778)

Look I admit that it was a pretty poor movie, but suggesting life imprisonment for Hackers is just too much. Angelina Jolie with short hair is too cute. If you're going to start throwing people away for stuff like this, then surely we will be seeing the last of George Lucas roaming free in public as punishment for The Phantom Menace, and whoever the fuck is responsible for Star Trek, both the movies and the TV series. It's fucking awful. Actually I would support the death penalty for that.

Yep, it's war on drugs part deux (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 12 years ago | (#3892781)

Yessir, those nasty aweful communist/drug dealers/terrorists/threat de jour are so bad we have to covertly suspend the US constitution once again to protect Freedom and Justice. My neighbor looks like one of those geeky hacker types - fetch me my alligator clips and Rat Shack amplifier...

They're scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892783)

When government sees a serious threat to their establishment, this is how they respond. Of course this makes no sense whatsoever -- as with the war on drugs, we have rapists and murderers being set free to make room for the "real" criminals. Backwards, yes, but that's what happens when the richest country in the world maintains a government which absorbs up to 50% of its citizens' earnings. The sky's the limit for those in power...

This is exactly why I'm a Libertarian [] .

A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet (1)

zero-one (79216) | about 12 years ago | (#3892785)

Says a Rep from Texas: 'A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'" he is a track ball fan then?

Goodbye to spyware.... (2, Interesting)

boomer_rehfield (579777) | about 12 years ago | (#3892786)

" Specify that an existing ban on the "advertisement" of any device that is used primarily for surreptitious electronic surveillance applies to online ads. " From the wording of this, spyware should fall under this yes? And probably any snooping programs like the one you use to watch family

Re:Goodbye to spyware.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892854)

Yes. Spyware causes trouble and costs. It uses the same techniques as viruses oder trojan horses. It could kill maybe not people itself but their carreers or family freedom. Question: is a business plan witch is based on the use of spyware some kind of planning a terrorist act?

By the way... From Europe the war against terrorism looks like a excuse to attack iraq and to raise some critical laws! Greetings from Germany

This is true (5, Funny)

Joz (100708) | about 12 years ago | (#3892787)

Says a Rep from Texas: 'A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'"

This is true (Disney)

Hackers? (0, Redundant)

DrunkenPenguin (553473) | about 12 years ago | (#3892790)

Dear Editor: This letter is not meant for publication, although you can publish it if you wish. It is meant specifically for you, the editor, not the public. I am a hacker. That is to say, I enjoy playing with computers -- working with, learning about, and writing clever computer programs. I am not a cracker; I don't make a practice of breaking computer security. There's nothing shameful about the hacking I do. But when I tell people I am a hacker, people think I'm admitting something naughty -- because newspapers such as yours misuse the word "hacker", giving the impression that it means "security breaker" and nothing else. You are giving hackers a bad name. The saddest thing is that this problem is perpetuated deliberately. Your reporters know the difference between "hacker" and "security breaker". They know how to make the distinction, but you don't let them! You insist on using "hacker" pejoratively. When reporters try to use another word, you change it. When reporters try to explain the other meanings, you cut it. Of course, you have a reason. You say that readers have become used to your insulting usage of "hacker", so that you cannot change it now. Well, you can't undo past mistakes today; but that is no excuse to repeat them tomorrow. If I were what you call a "hacker", at this point I would threaten to crack your computer and crash it. But I am a hacker, not a cracker. I don't do that kind of thing! I have enough computers to play with at home and at work; I don't need yours. Besides, it's not my way to respond to insults with violence. My response is this letter. You owe hackers an apology; but more than that, you owe us ordinary respect. Sincerely, Drunken Penguin

Well... Let's see... (1)

swaic (541592) | about 12 years ago | (#3892791)

You can commit murder or steal millions/billions of dollars and serve less time in prison. But what do I care. I'm not a malicious hacker; or even a regular hacker at that. Oh wait, I forgot. I'm not the one who determines whether I'm a hacker or not. The feds, big companies, or anyone else can make that claim. Just let a lawyer write up the charges and you're done. Maybe you might think twice about uncapping your cable modem for more bandwidth. You just may regret it for the rest of your life.

What if... (1)

ZaneMcAuley (266747) | about 12 years ago | (#3892794)

The hacker is NOT in US borders yet a US server is the victim?

Re:What if... (3, Funny)

plumby (179557) | about 12 years ago | (#3892818)

They'll just bomb your country.

Ow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892795)

And my Hacker No 1 polo shirt had just come through from el Reg

Bombs are good? (5, Funny)

ffatTony (63354) | about 12 years ago | (#3892796)

Says a Rep from Texas: 'A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'"

If this is the case I see no reason why Best Buy should not be allowed to stock bombs.

Imagine the possibilities. This could bring smiles back to the faces of teens everywhere.

I like this part.. (2, Insightful)

forsaken33 (468293) | about 12 years ago | (#3892797)

In the MSNBC article, there is a quote "By rewriting wiretap laws, CSEA would allow limited surveillance without a court order when there is an "ongoing attack" on an Internet-connected computer or "an immediate threat to a national security interest." That kind of surveillance would, however, be limited to obtaining a suspect's telephone number, IP address, URLs or e-mail header information--not the contents of online communications or telephone calls. ". So you have to figure, there's always an attack going on somewhere on an internet-connected computer. Heck, even wargaming would be covered. So i think the feds just got a freebie there, and im sure if your email or URLs indicate you like computers, and THEY are watching you...things could be doubleplusungood. Yes the 1984 word there IS intentional.

The sad part is, i doubt many people will fight this. Sure, the media will acknowledge its existance, but will say that it makes life sentences available for hackers who damage our infrastructure, and further hurt digital terrorists in our country (clip of something in there). Nobody will hear about the invasion of privacy stuff. Oh wait--what privacy. Sorry, guess i forgot that its not for your average American Citizen.

Hooray (1)

Hee Hee Hee (310695) | about 12 years ago | (#3892798)

This bill does much more than give "life sentences to hackers." Among other things, it formalizes "the existence of the National Infrastructure Protection Center. The center, which investigates and responds to both physical and virtual threats and attacks on America's critical infrastructure, was created in 1998 by the Department of Justice, but has not been authorized by an act of Congress."

I'm all for that. A new twist in warfare is to attack information storage/transfer, not bricks & mortar. This is an important step in defending ourselves.

woke up this morning (2)

morgajel (568462) | about 12 years ago | (#3892802)

and thought it was april fools. it's just too unreal...
question is- what do we do about it?

would that qualify as cruel and unusual punishment? is there anything in the constitution saying the crime must fit the bill?
Where does this leave honeypot systems and the like?

Will this include items suchs as peeka-booty?

This makes me want to send a 2 line email to my congressmen including these lines:

"are you fucking retarded?
How can you say that things like this [] are equivelant to this? []

But of course I'm sure it will soon be illegal to critisize our own gov't- because that will PROVE that we're terrorists.

(Please god don't make be become a fucking political activist.)

WorldCom (3, Insightful)

truesaer (135079) | about 12 years ago | (#3892808)

Smith heads a subcommittee on crime, which held hearings that drew endorsements of CSEA from a top Justice Department official and executives from Microsoft and WorldCom

The funny thing is that the biggest threat to the internet right now is WorldCom itself....since they own UUnet and are going seriously bankrupt. Of course UUnet will stay alive somehow, either by WorldCom, sold to someone else, or through a government bailout. The major backbones and networks are really in a pretty powerful position, since they control major portions of the internet.

You really have to do something soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892814)

Unless you want every constitutional right overturned by your government.

As it stands, peaceful protest is a crime in America due to legislative changes put in by good 'ol Dubya. You are not allowed to state what you are protesting about as a defense. Couple that with "Three strikes & you're out" and you have a Government stifling opposition with a threat of life (means life) improisonment.

Don't get me started about the 9/11 special emergency powers to detain without trial c/w military courts that bypass the normal criminal process applying to civilians.

Now it's an offense to use a computer.

Doesn't that sound every bit as bad as evil old Russia. Except that the Russians have never executed minors...

Don't understand... (5, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | about 12 years ago | (#3892819)

What I don't understand about this is why there needs to be specific bills related to computer hacking.

As I understand it, the bill relates to the case of "if the offender knowingly causes or attempts to cause death or serious bodily injury."

Doesn't the USA have laws against this already? I mean, if I murder someone with a frozen banana, it's still murder, you don't need a law saying "you are not allowed to murder someone with a frozen banana". Surely knowingly causing or attempting to cause death or serious bodily injury is currently against the law anyway, however you go about doing it? Why is this law necessary?

Laws? (1)

SashaM (520334) | about 12 years ago | (#3892821)

"Until we secure our cyber infrastructure, a few keystrokes and an Internet connection is all one needs to disable the economy and endanger lives," sponsor Lamar Smith, R-Tex., said earlier this year. "A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb."

And of course the possibility of a life sentence will prevent terrorists from doing their business, whether electronically or in real life. Hmm, let's see - should I go blow up myself and take 50 more people with me or attack airplane computer systems, killing thousands and serve life sentence? Tough choice.

How about actually securing your cyber infrastructure by making sure it's secure? By running OpenBSD with open source applications that have been reviewed by tens of security experts! By prohibiting the use of closed source applications wherever security is of any importance!

appropriate "department" (3, Insightful)

Wansu (846) | about 12 years ago | (#3892824)

I like the "from the but-still-okay-to-rip-off-the-stock-market dept". That's fitting, given the posturing of congress to get tough on corporate crime.They paid lip service to it and raised some of the penalties but they've done nothing to increase the vigor with which these cases are prosecuted. To date, few of these cases have been prosecuted. When they do prosecute a company for cooking it's books, they'll be defended by the best lawyers money can buy. When a hacker is tried, he'll have the standard, substandard legal defense. The result is few corporate criminals will ever go to jail but lots of hackers will be railroaded.

Exerpt from the bil (1)

Hellkitten (574820) | about 12 years ago | (#3892826)

(4) by adding at the end the following:
`(5)(A) if the offender knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury from conduct in violation of subsection (a)(5)(A)(i), a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both; and
`(B) if the offender knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause death from conduct in violation of subsection (a)(5)(A)(i), a fine under this title or imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or both.'.

That really doesn't sound too harsh compared to the other US laws

You can't get life from ripping a CD like some people probably will be crying about

But if you try to e.g hack a hospital to get you old granpa to croak to get his money, then you will (and should) get the same sentence as if you strangled him with his pillow

mouse (2)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | about 12 years ago | (#3892827)

'A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'

Then buy a cat. And stop calling crackers hackers.

no more x10 popups either (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892829)

If the Senate also approves CSEA, the new law would also:
Specify that an existing ban on the "advertisement" of any device that is used primarily for surreptitious electronic surveillance applies to online ads.

So living outside the US, my liberties remain intact (for now) and I get less popups! U-S-A U-S-A. Thank you for your misguided legislation!

A mouse (0)

Viking of the north (586228) | about 12 years ago | (#3892833)

"A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.'"

All play(DiabloII) and no work makes my wrist hurt.

Are they out of their minds ?! (1)

Phantom_24 (416231) | about 12 years ago | (#3892836)

First off...doesn't wiretapping without a warrent qualify as "hacking" ?!?

And 2nd, what the hell is with with this life term bullshit?!?! Some kid creeps around a system and he gets 50 years, and some CEO bilks the public out of 2-3 billion dollars and he gets to live the rest of his life in Club Med.

If I see my senator vote for this piece of trash (Hillary Clinton), she's gonna find her ass with one less vote, and I'll make it my life's work to see she doesn't get another !!!!

Another Gov't Without a Clue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892837)

Rather than securing themselves offenders should be imprisoned. Oh, yeah. That sounds like a *good* lazy law. If I leave all my doors open and I get ripped off it's MY FAULT. But if I have an organisation without any security it's the hacker's fault.

Let's all migrate to freenet and forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892838)

... the mess that has become of the internet. There's no more hope for it now. It has become just another idiot-box like the TV.

SSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892840)

Time to start using SSH!

not so terrible? (2)

tps12 (105590) | about 12 years ago | (#3892843)

While I was initially shocked by this decision, I am now of the opinion that it might actually be a good thing. It was the notion that a "mouse can be as dangerous as a bullet" that got me thinking.

The more dangerous computer criminals (no, I won't call them "hackers") are in the eyes of the public, the more respect non-criminal computer experts, like most of us here on Slashdot, will get.

When we choose to use our skills for good rather than evil, we will be seen as the benevolent protectors of society, much as the police and military (trained in the arts of combat, just like criminals) are seen today.

White collar prison? (0, Flamebait)

sfhickey (593308) | about 12 years ago | (#3892849)

or Federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison? Do they allow congical visits? Seriously though. This seems quite harsh.

Don't push that button! (5, Funny)

Riskable (19437) | about 12 years ago | (#3892852)

Today, the US Government passed a landmark bill that allows for life inprisonment for attempted murder through a computer. "Anyone can just sit down at their computer, push a button, and POOF! Instant erasure of the worst kind." says Attourney General John Ashcroft, "Not to mention most hackers can destroy the world economy from their parents basement."

Senetor Hollings also commented, "I believe this new legislation will act as a deterrant for would-be hackers trying to kill people with pirated music." he continues, "The reason why there aren't more people with broadband Internet connections is precisely because of things like this. How can the movie industry adopt a medium that can kill people with the push of a button? No, no one wants broadband if they know there's hackers out there that can kill them with a few mouse clicks."

A representative from the Bush Administration says that the new law will cut down on the rampant child pornography rings on the Internet by allowing Federal investigators to intercept any email containing questionable material and forward it directly to the President.

President Bush commented, "Al Queda is encrypting messages in porn sites all over the Internet. I plan to PERSONALLY put an end to this terrorist network."

level of sophistication (3, Insightful)

plumby (179557) | about 12 years ago | (#3892856)

Require the U.S. Sentencing Commission to revise sentencing guidelines for computer crimes. The commission would consider whether the offense involved a government computer, the "level of sophistication" shown and whether the person acted maliciously.

I'm not sure I see how the level of sophistication should affect the sentencing. Does this happen in other crimes? ("He shot her a bit amateurishly, so we'll only give him 5 years"). And why does it make a difference whether its a government computer or not?

scary mouse (0)

scaryman (558947) | about 12 years ago | (#3892858)

A mouse can be just as dangerous as a bullet or a bomb.

are they talking about Mickey ?

Does this mean Bill Gates is going to jail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3892861)

Malicious computer hackers? You mean like this:

"Strategic Objective . . . Kill cross-platform Java by grow[ing] the polluted Java market"
--Microsoft Pricing Proposal for VJ++ 6.0
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