[ISN] Teen hackers may be tried as adults

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Aug 19 1998 - 00:00:43 PDT

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    Forwarded From: Nicholas Charles Brawn <ncb05at_private>
    [If this goes through, I pity you guys in the states... :\
     Perhaps if certain key people were to be convinced that many of these
     teenagers are a resource, rather than a threat...   - Nick]
                      Teen hackers may be tried as adults
    UPn  18-08-1998 19:23 
       WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Concerned about threats to national
    security and angry at the amount of time and money teenage computer
    hackers cost the government, some federal lawmakers want new laws to
    prosecute them as adults. 
       "This is a serious crime and we need to seriously bring the hammer down
    on them," Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said during a House National Security
    Committee hearing. 
       But not everyone agrees that prosecuting cyberspace delinquents as
    adults is a good idea. Local prosecutors worry that if Congress passes a
    law elevating computer hacking to an adult crime, they'll have to add new
    staff and spend more time building cases against junior high school
    students. That, they say, will drive their budgets up. 
       "The bulk of the cases will fall on local prosecutors and most are not
    equipped to deal with this at this point," said James Pauley, a spokesman
    for the National District Attorneys Association. 
       Child advocates also worry that prosecuting teenage hackers as adults
    could create societal problems later on when they try to get jobs despite
    having a permanent criminal record. 
       "We do try kids as adults when there is a heinous crime committed,"
    said Leonard Nuara, a former New Jersey prosecutor who now specializes in
    computer law. "I just don't think this rises to that level." 
       Although he opposes new legislation aimed at bringing teenage hackers
    to adult courtrooms, Nuara says hacking is a serious problem that must be
    dealt with. 
       Michael Yamaguchi, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of
    California, agrees. His office prosecuted two teens who broke into
    government computers in January and February -- at the height of the
    military confrontation between the United States and Iraq. Both teens pled
    guilty late last month. Sentencing will be held later this year. 
       In their cases, the teens not only broke into sensitive government
    computers -- including Air Force and the Lawrence Livermore National
    Laboratory systems -- but also erased files in an effort to conceal their
       Yamaguchi said that compromised the integrity of the computer systems
    and could have disrupted military communications worldwide at a time when
    the United States was on the verge of going to war. 
       Cracking the case required an extensive, and expensive, investigation
    by the FBI with help from NASA and Defense Department criminal
    investigations units. 
       Nuara and Yamaguchi are among those who want parents and teachers to
    take the lead role in combatting teenage hacking. 
       But congressional patience may not last long enough for parents and
    teachers to do that. Weldon's comments drew immediate support from Rep. 
    Herbert Bateman, R-Va., who agreed it's time to get tough with cyberspace
       "These kids need to know that this is not some kind of game," he said. 
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