Yesterday, I got modded a troll...
In my response to the PA kids who were threatened with felony class 3 charges, I stated a simple truth: The kids broke the law, now they have to deal with the consequences.
Those who modded me troll did so out of ignorance, did it "for the children", believe the punishment does not fit the crime, or believe the school "had it coming" because of crappy security.
Out of all these reasons, only one has even the slightest bit of merit: the punishement does not fit the crime. All the rest are ludicrous.
The first one: Ignorance. This is the the typical knee-jerk slashdot reaction made by those who do not RTFA. Felony charges for messing with school computers? OUTRAGE, how can you support this?
Quite simply because they were using state computers and illegally altering them by bypassing security measures. The fact that they're teenagers is irrelevant. What if this has happened on the schools main servers and the teens were placing porn in teachers directories? What if they started messing with their disciplinary records or grades? What if they were doing this on a bank's system?
In short, where do you draw the line.
A lot of responses claim that the felony charges will ruin the kids lives. Again, this is sheer ignorance. Prosecuting felony charges is expensive, and pressing felony chrages on teens has often been a delicate point. Of course, the sensationalistic media coverage fails to mention this.
In reality, it is extremely unlikely that felony charges will be brought against these teens. In fact, school disciplinary action will probably be all these kids get. Worse case scenario, the teens get convicted of a misdemeanor and have to do some community service.
As far as their records go, their juvenile records are sealed once they hit 18 (or expunged, depending on what the state policy is).
The above addresses the "for the children" crowd as well. In addition to that, I have little sympathy for teens who continue to do things that they know are wrong.
One response I received was that these kids shouldn't be punished for being curious. And if that were the case, then I would agree. But that was not the case.
These kids didn't figure out the admin password and say, "Oh, this should be brought up to the school". They used it and distributed it to deliberately go around the restrictions that they agreed to abide by. It was wrong, they knew it, and continued their activities.
Which brings me to the last, and possibly most idiotic response: "It's the school's fault for having crappy security on the computers".
And I suppose that it's the woman's fault for being raped because she's hot. Or it's the homeowner's fault for getting burgled because he only had a regular lock on the front door. I'd like to see someone use that type of excuse in court.
Just because the security was weak doesn't give these teens the right to circumvent the restrictions. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do something.
So now we come to the last response, the one that is arguable: the punishement does not fit the crime. As I stated earlier, it's unlikely these teens will see anything other than school disciplinary action, since no administration data was compromised. The kids did not have access to the school's main server.
Any judge would see that this is at most a minor offense. That is why we have judges. To interpret the law and deal out appropriate punishment when those laws are broken.
Sure, PA state law may make what they did "technically" a felony, but it is the judge who decides whether or not that is the case. In this case, it was the media acting as the judge which is never a good thing (just look at Faux News).
I agree a felony charge does not fit the crime here, but as of right now THERE IS NO PUNISHEMENT DECIDED YET. If a judge does decide to follow through on the felony charges, then we can talk about unjust punishments. Until then it's just a bunch of media driven bruhaha.
In the future I hope when people respond they will stop, read, and think before modding instead of responding with "OMFG you're a troll!".
But then again....this is slashdot.