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Death Penalty For Hackers?

[Editor's note: The following entry was posted by staff writer Robert MacMillan.]

Hell should reserve a special place for New York Times columnist John Tierney. I don't say that out of animosity. Rather, he came up with a few suggestions on how to punish Sasser worm creator Sven Jaschan that would impress Dante and Goya.

Jaschan, the German teen who unleashed Sasser last year, received a suspended sentence last week and agreed to settle civil charges.

Tierney examined whether the death penalty should apply to hackers and online criminals, but dispensed with it for reasons you can read about in his op-ed. Here's his suggested alternative:

"Maybe convicted spammers could be sentenced to community service testing all their own wares. The number of organ-enlargement offers would decline if a spammer thought he'd have to appear in a public-service television commercial explaining that he'd tried them all and they just didn't work for him."

And here are some he culled from computer experts: "Make the hacker spend 16 hours a day fielding help-desk inquiries in an AOL chat room for computer novices. Force him to do this with a user name at least as uncool as KoolDude and to work on a vintage IBM PC with a 2400-baud dial-up connection. Most painful of all for any geek, make him use Windows 95 for the rest of his life."

Maybe he could be reincarnated as an Apple III. Every time he acts up, lift him three inches and drop, just like the technical bulletin explains.

-- Robert MacMillan

By Brian Krebs  |  July 12, 2005; 2:58 PM ET
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