Should teenage hackers be jailed?

The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

64% Yes

36% No

The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.

IT professionals have come out in support of new legislation that means UK hackers could face 10 years in jail for launching denial of service attacks.

Respondents to this week's Big Question poll voted by nearly two to one in favour of taking a hard line not just with professional hacking groups but with anyone that gets involved in hacking to any degree.

An IT manager at Stern Associates said, "There do need to be laws to prevent this sort of behaviour. The problem is that laws have to be properly defined. This should inevitably happen through case law as there will be established exceptions to the rule in the long run. What is important is to educate the public, through the press, about the consequences - then no one can come up with the 'amateur' excuse."

IT developer James Wibble said hackers should face jail given the amount of time and money that is lost due to their actions. "This can be huge and cannot be recovered, and this affects a lot of people. If jail can act as a deterrent, then I am all for it," he said.

But other respondents expressed some misgivings.

IT professional Richard Vincent said the new, longer sentences were harsh. "Perhaps more should be invested in creating prevention measures by large corporations, which boast outrageous profits year after year, rather than longer sentences. It has been well proved that longer sentences do not necessarily equate to fewer crimes. Greater education is the key here."

Read article: Purely business for today's hackers


Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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