Last week, the U.S. District Court in Boston sentenced a

17-year-old Massachusetts boy to 11 months in a juvenile detention facility and

two years supervised release for a series of computer crimes–most notable the

illegal accessing of Paris Hilton’s T-Mobile Sidekick. The teen plead guilty to

nine counts of juvenile delinquency. During this time the teen is prohibited

from having or using a computer, cell phone or other device capable of

accessing the Internet.

Although the illegal accessing of Hilton’s cell phone and

the subsequent posting the device’s contents garnered the most media attention,

this young man’s criminal activity goes far beyond the outing of celebrity

dirt. This teen’s 15-month crime spree included making bomb threats to multiple

schools, illegally accessing T-Mobile’s network and creating fraudulent phone

accounts, perpetrating a DoS attack against T-Mobile, illegally accessing and

installing spyware on internal AOL computers, obtaining proprietary AOL

information, and illegally accessing LexisNexis databases, which may have

compromised the information of 310,000 Americans.

Honestly, had this youth only pulled off the Hilton hack I

would consider the 11-month detention a bit harsh. America’s juvenile justice

system puts greater emphasis on rehabilitation and reintegration than the adult

system, and I would expect a first-time offender who caused limited damage to

receive a lighter sentence. The facts in this case however, illustrate the guilty

party’s persistent and flagrant disregard for private property, public safety, personal

privacy and US law. The 11-month detention is therefore highly appropriate.

It is unlikely that this sentence will dissuade the many criminal

organizations that now perpetrate a significant portion of cybercrime. Yet I am

hopeful the deprivation of this individual’s freedom and subsequent supervision

will serve as both a specific and general deterrent to the casual cybermiscreant.

Specific meaning the sentence will dissuade this individual from continuing such

illegal activity and general meaning the sentence will serve as a warning to

other would-be offenders.

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