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back to article Hacker sentenced to six years – WITH NO INTERNET

A 15-year-old hacker convicted of multiple felonies was handed an unusual sentence by a Long Beach, California juvenile court on Wednesday, one that will see him all but banned from the internet until his twenty-first birthday. The hacker's real name was not disclosed because he is a minor, but according to a report by Wired, he …

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Trollface

Is there a line in that 220 year old toilet paper the yanks worship about cruel and unusual punishment?

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Trollface

your toilet paper is even older? 1215 I believe?

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Anonymous Coward

Parchment not paper

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> your toilet paper is even older? 1215 I believe?

Being neither Yank nor Brit, I'll say this: The Brits consider the Magna Carta to be an important historical document. The Yanks, on the other hand, consider anything created by their founding fathers and whatnot to be basically sacred artefacts, not a bunch of legislature written by clearly well-meaning guys, who have therefore earned the status of minor deities, despite being a rather lively bunch (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) by all accounts.

So that's the difference. The Brits have King Arthur as their kind-of creation myth and have, for the most part, got all of this out of their system. You lot, on the other hand, still haven't grown out of the Our collective daddies had superpowers! phase.

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Anonymous Coward

A cruel and heartless punishment.

Give it a year, find somewhere to stash a laptop and get going again.

What's the chances?

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Holmes

@ That Awful Puppy

Wrote :- "The Brits consider the Magna Carta to be an important historical document. The Yanks, on the other hand, consider anything created by their founding fathers and whatnot to be basically sacred artefacts"

Indeed. Magan Carta was written at a particular time to address a particular problem (as perceived by some barons) with a particular king. Despite the fuss made about it today, most of it has been superseded by more recent legislation, also bearing in mind that much of the British legal system is based on custom and practice (eg case law) rather than written down by bureaucrats as is the case with some more recently established regimes.

Similarly the US constitution was written under a specific set of circumstances by men mostly descended from non-conformist emigrants seeking religious freedom not long after winning a revolutionary war, and who were therefore somewhat paranoid about "rulers".

Both Magna Carta and the US Consitution are regularly cited today in support of issues which would astonished their authors, if not make them turn in their graves.

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Re: @ That Awful Puppy

its funny that more americans know about the Manga Carta then Brits these days though. Documents in english law as mentioned by previous commentard don't mean much. Case in point some towns have laws on the books that it is legal to kill welshman. That doesn't mean murder is legal even though it is still on the books you will still be arrested for murder under the relevent law applied later.

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FAIL

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

"its funny that more americans know about the Manga Carta then Brits these days though. "

And it's depressing that you seem to have no clue how the British legal system works.

Old laws do not need to be repealed if they have been made obsolete by later laws. That's why British MPs don't spend much time repealing old laws: they just haemorrhage new ones that supersede the old ones and effectively make the latter redundant. Repealing an old law is extremely rare, time-consuming and usually unnecessary. It's much more efficient to spend the time in Parliament – there isn't much of it – working on new stuff than performing basic spring cleaning.

Not that a bit of spring cleaning in the UK's legal system wouldn't be appreciated; it's become a lot more complicated than it should be. But that's another debate entirely.

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Re: @ That Awful Puppy

@Sean Timarco Baggaley

I agree that spring cleaning would be a luxury, but it would have a decent effect. If you put together a group of legal scholars to go through the law books and distill them down into a single volume with all the laws, their current exceptions, etc. in one place it would do wonders for both the legal profession (less looking for obscure case law) and the population at large, as it stands the law is very hard to understand, and it shouldn't be; anyone with a form 8 education should be able to understand the basics of the law, but few can because of all the obscure and out of date information in there.

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Devil

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

Manga Carta

Okay, now I'm thinking of the Magna Carta drawn as a Japanese comic! You did it! You brought the evil here!!! *heh*

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OUCH

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Joke

Not that a bit of spring cleaning in the UK's legal system wouldn't be appreciated...

not least by my fellow welshmen wishing to visit chepstow (i can see that may warrant the attentions of a trick cyclist, but a bowman, seems a tad harsh)

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@tkioz

"Is there a line in that 220 year old toilet paper the yanks worship about cruel and unusual punishment?"

So, uh, I guess you don't like the Bill Of Rights, for example? As a basic and fundamental law for a society, you would prefer what, exactly?

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Joke

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

Manga Carter - the cartoon version of Get Carter.

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Mushroom

I don't think so - that would involve consideration of human rights. The yanks don't go a bunch on that sort of stuff. Shoot first, ask questions later is the general approach...

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Coat

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

Beat me to it.

I do quite like the idea of MechaJohn being brought to heel by the Magic Knights of the Cyber-Baronry though. Why can't actual history be that interesting?

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Pint

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

"its funny that more americans know about the Manga Carta then Brits these days though. "

Bits of dusty paper from centuries ago are and should never be more relevant to the Courts and judgement in a contemporary setting than common sense and current morality.

And yes: America does cling to a couple of dusty bits of paper with too much tenacity in certain circumstances.

It doesn't matter if X or Y was wrong or right because sky-fairy/king/bunch of stoners said it was hundreds of years ago. Its if it's wrong *today* that matters.

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Dieties? Where, at the NASCAR rally?

Allow me to respond as a 'merkin, good Sir Puppy.

There's a rabid minority here in "the States" who worship fictionalized versions of the founding fathers. They are a recent phenomenon, or at least only recently visible. We also have folks who set poisonous snakes loose in church, and speak gibberish; I don't party with them either. As an aside, I was Shocked(!) to learn that Brits incarcerate people who incinerate posies! Savages.

I was in primary school in 1976 when we enjoyed bicentennial hoopla. Our social studies teacher took us all to see "1776", a movie about the folks who appear on our cash. My most vivid memory is of the fictional Ben Franklin gleefully suggesting that they should all go "Drinking and whoring!" I don't recall any protests, shock, or even outraged parents suing the school. Times change, fads come and go.

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Joke

Re: @ That Awful Puppy

[Chester]

Jules: Well, killing Welshmen is legal there, right?

Vincent: Yeah, it's legal, but it ain't a hundred percent legal. I mean, you can't walk into a restaurant, pull out a gun, and start blasting away. They want you to kill the welsh in your home or certain designated places.

Jules: Those are churchyards?

Vincent: Breaks down like this, okay: it's legal to kill them with a longbow, it's legal to kill them in Chester, and if you're the proprietor of a graveyard, it's legal to bury them. It's illegal Monday to Saturday, but that doesn't really matter 'cause, get a load of this, all right; if you get stopped by the cops in Chester, it's illegal for them to search you. I mean, that's a right the cops in Chester don't have.

Jules: [laughing] Oh, man. I'm going, that's all there is to it. I'm fucking going.

Sadly, it's untrue (based on a royal instruction to banish the Welsh from Chester, or be beheaded - not by other commoners that is, but by the Princes men).

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Anonymous Coward

Oh noes

So he forced twats to go without twatter for "several hours"?

Some would see this as a service to society.

It's odd how governments are so afraid of intelligent people, especially where computers are concerned.

In China he would probably have been put on a Government training scheme instead. (unless it was a chinese government site he was attacking, in which case the punishment would be death)

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Re: Oh noes

You seem to have overlooked the credit card fraud, bomb threats, etc.

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Holmes

Oh, I know how this story ends.

He gets to sleep with Angelina Jolie, lucky devil.

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Big Brother

Asking the Impossible

I understand what the kid did and that the Court wants to set an example, but with this restriction, it will be damn near impossible NOT to break his probation and end up in jail. Let's think about it, just about everywhere you go now has some form of access to the Internet. Schools do more and more on computers, which means he will be required to be on them, and they have access to the Internet. He can't get a cell phone as the phones coming out today all have access to the Internet, either via a data plan or using wi-fi. If he gets a job, chances are there will be computers there with access to the Internet. That's just today, it will probably only get worse within the next 6 years, so just how is he supposed to avoid going on the Internet? Will the school have to let the kids parole officer know in advance what classes the kid will be in that will have computers with Internet access, and make sure he's supervised there? If he gets a cell phone, will somone else have to hold it for him and give it to him whenever he wants to make a call? Will any potential employers have to be vetted to make sure he is never on a computer at work unsupervised?.. It's like the Court is setting him up tp fail.

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Facepalm

Re: Asking the Impossible

I give it six weeks before he cracks and makes contact with his skiddie mates, and then it's off to prison for the little scroat. And good riddance too. Idiots like that can't survive without the thrill, it compensates for their inferiority complexes, and they end up addicted to the "lulz".

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Re: Asking the Impossible

Did you miss the "without permission" bit of the sentence?

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IT Angle

Re: Asking the Impossible

I was thinking that too. It's almost like asking someone to not eat salt for 6 years. Not impossible but very difficult to avoid unless you grow and prepare every moal you eat.

6 years ago we all using feature phones; building out DVD collections; the best way to watch TV shows was wait for them to be aired; we could only manage to carry books that fit in our bags; we brought our laptops when going for coffee - £5 for an hour of internet... if they had wifi; you printed out digital photo's and put them in albums otherwise you couldn't show family and friends; MySpace was popular; DVDR was the largest and most accessible way to copy files from one PC to the other....

What's the world going to look like in 6 years? Is there going to be any way of avoiding internets?

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What if he applies at a kisk on a locked-down computer

In a store or or any company that does not accept paper applications? Technically, it would be a special, limited-use machine. Just wondering how all-or non-inclusive this or other courts' instructions tend to be. If his case were sealed, he might not even have to disclose to employers not allowed to ask about sealed cases.

But, i can also see a parole officer scowling, "You know what the court meant!" ...

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Boffin

Re: What if he applies at a kisk on a locked-down computer

He could use a locked-down system to send commands to a botnet master server.

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Zero Cool

Would almost have been easier to do jail time. Might as well join the Amish now. The skills he has if directed properly could be used for good and make decent money. What will he have after 6 years?

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Skiddie gets spanked, is grounded, and has to go to room for a bit.

Oh my! Honestly, I'm chuckling as I type :-)

Seriously, kids, us Adults really can see what you are doing online.

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Anonymous Coward

How the hell is he supposed to avoid contact with members of Anonymous? Even we don't know who we are. In fact I'm not sure if I'm a member or not.

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I do like the idea of internet bans as an alternative sentence - sending someone to prison more-or-less assures they'll become a serious criminal, as they'll leave prison unemployable. No employer is going to hire someone with a criminal record and prison time, and people learn new criminal skills and justifications in prison. There are some minor issues in the details, yes, but the idea is sound.

Office work is just about impossible under those conditions, though - guess he'll be spending a few years after school in one of the no-internet, unskilled labor professions. Shelf-stacker, professional leech on the family, litter-picker. The pay sucks, but it's still better than spending three years in prison and then being unable to find any work at all.

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Errmm...

"Office work is just about impossible under those conditions, though - guess he'll be spending a few years after school in one of the no-internet, unskilled labor professions."

I love the idea that office work is 'skilled'. I've met six people with real skills this morning that could easily survive with no internet: builder, plumber, electrician, saddler, farrier, agricultural mechanic. On the other hand a zombie apocalypse would expose me and most of my colleagues as having very few real skills.

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Alternatively ...

... they could allow access but insist that all accounts, are branded with 'Credit card fraudster' or something similar.

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Re: Errmm...

But where do those professionals order their supplies? Mail-order is dead. Brick-and-morter stores are fine for the common parts, but what do you do when you need a ball-valve assembly for a specific model of dual-flush toilet manufactured four years ago? You go to the internet. It'd be a nightmare even trying to pay taxes without the ability to easily google up the appropriate laws and regulations.

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Unhappy

He was an idiot, but immature, so he'll likely grow out of that.

The court doesn't have the excuse of immaturity.

America seems to have turned cruel punishments into an art form.

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His choice

Any other country would have put him in jail. He had that option so it must be less cruel in his mind right?

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Anonymous Coward

Usual "Red Top" Headline

This place gets more like The Sun every day.

REALITY:

Script Kiddy not allowed to use the internet unsupervised for next 6 years and must let the court know of existence of any internet-ready devices he acquires in the meantime.

REG HACKS & COMMENTARDS:

ZOMG!!!!11 Teenage h4xxxor completely banned from INTURWEBZ!!!! Will never be able to work or look at a TELLY-FONE or go to SKOOOLL!!! and will have to live in a cave!!!

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FAIL

Not possible

There is no way to avoid the internet today, let alone in 6 years.

This isn't 1998, pre-paid smart phones and laptops can be easily hidden and used where/when ever is convenient for him.

More than half the students around him likely have a smart phone. All it takes is "hey, can I borrow that a minute" and he is on the internet anywhere at any time.

Jail time would be far easier.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not possible

"There is no way to avoid the internet today, let alone in 6 years."

My mum seems to manage avoiding it just fine, thanks. Books, a (landline phone), a radio and, occasionally, a TV are apparently enough for some.

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@Lord Zedd Re: Not possible

"Jail time would be far easier."

Apparently you have no understanding of the California Youth Authority (CYA) or the California legal system.

Had he chosen to go to trial and been convicted, the same or similar restrictive punishments would have been imposed on top of any incarceration, there would have been a probation term imposed as well, likely to be the same 6 years or longer.

For those who think he was better off taking the jail time, you are sadly misguided. The California youth authority is no joke, its not some country club where kids are taught to behave and learn the difference between right and wrong. CYA is a gladiator school, plain and simple. A kid like this, a 15 year old nerdly script kiddy would get devoured. Sending him to CYA, he would get the shit kicked out of him multiple times, his demeanor would become violent and he would spent the rest of his life in and out of prison

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Anonymous Coward

DDoS not hacking.

DDoS'ing is NOT hacking. Neither is CC fraud or bomb threats.

Please stop propagating this lie...

He is nothing but a juvenile delinquent. The internet is just a tool for him to destroy things. Others paint grafiti, tagging or physically destroys some property, steal a car, etc. This guy is doing the same, except it is just taking place on the internet. This does not make him a 'hacker'.

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A Perfect Fit?

I wonder if the judge has read the Isaac Asimov story...

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Headmaster

Error in headline

s/HACKER/SCRIPT-KIDDIE/

There you are

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Error in headline

Actually most of his hacks involved social engineering, I suspect he was inspired by people like Kevin Mitnick who famously said "Companies spend millions of dollars on firewalls and secure access devices, and it's money wasted because none of these measures address the weakest link in the security chain the people who use, administer and operate computer systems"

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Thumb Up

Good, serves him right and the sentence seems to be a pretty good fit.

So here we have a thug who abused the internet to carry out various crimes including fraud and making bomb threats (funny how those leaping to his defence on here wilfully ignore THOSE delightful areas of his crime portfolio, I wonder why?), and rather than just throw him in jail (where he will learn how to become an even "better" criminal at taxpayer expense) his punishment is to remove access to the very thing he abused in order to commit his crimes.

Sounds like a very well thought out punishment, actually. Perfectly sensible one, fits the crime, and is most definitely proportionate.

And those rushing to whinge that his hoomin rights have been abused by cutting him off from the internet would do well to actually READ the article wherein they will find he IS allowed internet access, under supervision with prior approval. So no, it won't stop him accessing legitimate sites to further his education.

We could do with seening MORE of this sort of creative appropriate punishment handed out by the courts, quite frankly.

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Re: Good, serves him right and the sentence seems to be a pretty good fit.

Good god man, you actually read the article properly and acquainted yourself with the facts. What on earth are you commenting here for?

Have an upvote.

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Pint

Good old days?

It's a good chance for him to get involved with activities healthy young men in their late teens used to do like getting drunk, shagging, taking drugs, driving too fast in bombed out old cars and fighting.

Aaah, the good old days before Internet, Facebook and cellphones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good old days?

"It's a good chance for him to get involved with activities healthy young men in their late teens used to do like getting drunk, shagging, taking drugs, driving too fast in bombed out old cars and fighting."

You have just described a large section of the middle aged, male, married, blue and white collar populace where I live - or so it would appear on a Friday and Saturday night. Such behaviour is, apparently, not just the preserve of the younger age group.

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Facepalm

Re: Good old days?

Still happens where I live, it's just recorded and posted online too.

< Skiddie after a fight

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