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back to article TJX hacker mulls Asperger's defense

The international hacker who has admitted to stealing more than 130 million payment card numbers has mounted a new defense claim that he might suffer from Asperger's syndrome, a court filing indicates. On Tuesday, attorneys for Albert Gonzalez filed a report from a forensic psychologist that questioned the criminal hacker's " …

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WTF?

what bull crap

120 million? Hacked processing centers and banks? This is not some curious impulsive kid hacker. This is Russian organized crime putting a major illegal tax on financial infrastructure of western civilization. I actually had new credit cards sent to me by my bank and the major hassle this involves due to this case or one like it (no loss of money luckily). This SOB committed a crime on par with Madoff and deserves to spend most if not the rest of his life in jail.

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Gold badge

What difference does it make?

Honestly, I do not see what difference an "Asberger's defense" makes. Jail is not supposed to be a party, and claiming to have it is not a defense to stay out of jail. I mean, I wouldn't want to go to jail either, but that doesn't mean I can claim I have "don't want to go to jail syndrome" and get out of it.

And claiming it CAUSED him to break the law -- well, really a) I don't think so. b) what's the difference? If a person breaks the law they should get the fine, jail, or community service for it, and if they have some mental condition causing the law breaking they should get treatment for it. Not a "get out of jail free" card.

The US prison system being fucked? I won't deny it, and I think sentences are far too long for plenty of non-violent crimes. But, that's a seperate matter entirely.

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clarification

Just to clarify my earlier comment. Yes this idiot cost us all time and money (business tend to pass losses on to customers) and yes 1 billion dollars was not a big enough penalty for tjmax for the their gross incompetence with our data. So again he is the not the only one guilty in this but they really really need to nail these idiots to make it not worth the effort for those on this side of the pond at least.

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Anonymous Coward

This should lend credibility to McKinnon's case...

...or NOT!

Now they can lock two scumbags up for a long, long time.

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WTF?

Aspies understand right and wrong better than lawyers

I know 3 people with Asperger's and they're all quite capable of understanding the difference between right in wrong. In fact due to the OCD-type symptoms they tend to spend excessive hours pondering and questioning their own actions in minute detail. Asperger's prevents sufferers from empathising with others' state of mind and motivations. It does not stop them understanding basic moral principles.

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FAIL

An offense to all Aspies

My son is an Aspie, and he hasn't perpetrated a crime like this. Other Aspies I know wouldn't dream of this. So offensive.

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Absolutely

A close friend of mine has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and I agree with you wholeheartedly. My friend might not be the life of parties and certainly has some difficulties relating to people but he definitely knows the difference between legal and illegal. These bastards using it as a criminal defence demean and undermine the genuine needs of people like my friend who don't need the police and the community at large perceiving their disability as some kind of fabricated excuse for misbehaviour. My friend tries hard to overcome his difficulties and get on with people, and scumbags like this just make his life harder.

What the judges should be able to do in cases like this is, if a defendant claims any disability as a defence, and the crime is demonstrably one that suffering from the disability would not preclude their knowledge of it being a crime, they get double the sentence.

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Alert

titular rant

Speaking as an aspie myself, I _do_ know right from wrong, but the social problems can work against this. The "Follow my friends" mentality can negate the "This is wrong" feeling, i.e. we are more susceptible to peer pressure than your average person.

I am not saying it should be used as a defence, after all right == right, and wrong == wrong, just that mixing with the wrong crowd can have a detrimental effect on your liberty.

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Grenade

At the risk of sounding coarse

If he is capable of learning the complexities of computer hacking, cracking, fraud and blatant theft at such a large scale, yet incapable of understanding the difference between right and wrong then he is of absolutely no use to any society and should be isolated or simply "deleted".

A friend of mine owns a restaurant that was caught up in this nonsense and I know for a fact she lost well over $300,000 due to all of the security remediation that the credit card companies forced her to comply with. Unfortunately, it's hard to put an actual dollar value on the amount of business lost, due to public perception, word of mouth, rumor and speculation, my guess it's upwards of a million or so.

While this wasn't a violent crime, the impact on so many people is just too significant to give this chump a minimum sentence.

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I'm An Aspie

and I vote to see him get a new boyfriend in Leavenworth.

No one's ever cut me any slack from it, and I've actually made out quite well, as a result of the condition.

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Stop

The New Hackers Defence

So, Aspergers is the new Get Out Of Jail Free defence!

Having an ex who was a Psych Major gives me some insight into Aspergers which I will share. Human mental process is scaled: Logical rationalisers start with engineers than technicians, non-math scientists, math intensive scientists, COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS, mathematicians. Further along the scale, about the same distance as engineers are to mathematicians, is Aspergers, the same distance again is Autism. From my ex’s perspective, quite a way down the other end of the scale, scientists down were suffering from Aspergers!

I suspect we shall see this defence, from the script kiddie to this hard core criminal hacker, used much more in the future.

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Anonymous Coward

ARRRGGGG!!!!

As a father of two Autistic children, one high functioning the other not I can tell you that the whole autism defence is a crock of shit.

This guy is trying it on the same as mckinnon. with his defence of

"I broke into your house because I thought there were aliens there"

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Anonymous Coward

So...

If a man has a disorder which means he can't tell right from wrong, and doesn't have the insight to realise that the legal system will lock him up for breaking the law regardless of the moral aspect, and so commits crimes, it's inappropriate to punish him. On the other hand, he can't be left unguarded in society, as he'll reoffend. So put him in a locked psychiatric facility until he's cured. And since psychiatrists tell us personilty disorders aren't "diseases" and hence can't be "cured", he could be in there a while...

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Sounds lilke the excuse for being a Pedo

Oh I was abused and unloved as a child.

So that meant you couldn't stop yourself from doing it to somebody else. I don't think.

Come over here and say hello to my little friend.......

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"an inability to empathize"

Don't criminals in general lack this ability? Did anyone try to excuse Vanessa George for not having it?

Prisons will soon be empty if this ever becomes a valid defence.

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Not responsible

If someone commits a crime and then claims they cannot be held responsible for their actions because they cannot tell right from wrong, this is no longer a question of punishment but of protecting society at large. This would imply they either need to be detained or at least, monitored around the clock for as long as the condition persists.

The publicity of these cases must be hurting the employment prospects for those with Asperger's Syndrome, living blameless lives and not deserving any kind of discrimination.

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Anonymous Coward

Next...

...they'll be using "being poor" as a reason to get out of jail time for burglary, or "being angry" as a reason to get out of jail time for assault.

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WTF?

Fail then jail

As far as my limited experience goes having Asperger's doesn't make you a sociopath - so this "defence" is nothing more than another attempt to waste the court's time.

IMHO, give the twerp the full sentence (no b-s reduction for first time offence etc) and then add on an extra for contempt of court.

Better still, if he's done a McCarthy and turned in his 'friends' then make sure they all share the same cell/cell-block

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Alert

Hahahaha ...

This is the funniest article Ive read in ages (apologies to people who genuinely suffer with Aspergers). Lock this guy and his accomplices away and fling the key away and while we're at it fling away the other guy away as well. Looking for aliens on American Governments computers is a crime as well, there is no part of anyones brain who knows about computers that thinks logging into a pc with an easy/default password is legal! Especially when its on a different continent!

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Anonymous Coward

What a bizarre defense

Most people could be described as autistic if they are not in a group that is similar to them, it is the perception of others.

So, take a psychiatrist, pop them in with a bunch of intellectuals or some hard working salt of the earth types, or hey, why not the military as well, let's not forget the latest Massacre by a Psychiatrist, and you will find them unable to connect.

But, take a psychiatrist and shove them down a deep dank hole with other psychiatrists and they will probably be the belle of the ball, the very life and soul of the party.

Horse for courses really.

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Bullcrap

I have Asperger's, and I'll say this is absolute BS. Asperger's does not prevent you from knowing right from wrong, or from understanding the consequences of your actions. I'm a freaking network administrator, for goodness sakes. I write and enforce policy according to legal and workplace requirements. I have to be very aware of all the various implications of my actions in relation to my job. Anyone trying to use Asperger's as an excuse for criminal activity is a flat out liar, and is endangering the legal rights of everybody on the autism spectrum.

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