Amazingly, according to The Inquirer, an Orange County hacker is facing an incredible 38 years in prison if found guilty of several counts relating to hacking into his school computer.
It seems that Omar Khan, 18, of Coto de Caza, California hacked into computer in order to change his grades. Indeed, it is reported that he attempted to change all his C, D and F grades to As and Bs. The discrepancy soon came to light when school administrators were asked for a new school transcript by Khan as he appealed a denial of admission to the University of California.
The Orange County Superior Court is hearing a total of 69 felony counts against Khan, including second degree burglary, ID theft, altering an falsifying a public record and, of course, computer access and fraud. It is also suggested that he installed spyware on a teachers PC and altered grades for a total of 12 other students.
He is charged alongside fellow student Tanvir Singh, 18, of Laera Ranch, California who is accused of breaking into a classroom to steal the answers to an exam test paper.
Although it could be argued that both were, essentially, doing the same thing by cheating, Singh only faces a maximum of three years in prison if found guilty. This had led many online commentators to suggest that the law is, to be blunt, an ###.
Certainly when a rapist can be found guilty and serve a fraction of the 38 years faced by Khan, it does prompt questioning into the fairness of such a stiff penalty for the computer crime which, it could be argued, caused nobody any real harm. Of course, that 38 year figure is the maximum and even if found guilty there is nothing to say he would receive the full term. A court spokesman has implied that the severity of the potential sentence is a reflection of the severity of the offences which include identity theft and computer fraud.
I'm a hacker turned writer and consultant, specialising in IT security. I've been a freelance word punk for over 20 years and along the way I have seen 23 of my books published, produced and presented programmes for TV and radio, picked up a bunch of awards and continue being a contributing editor with PC Pro - the best selling IT magazine in the UK .
Excellent. Should serve as a deterrent to other cheating kids as well as get a budding hardcore criminal off the street for a long time.
By the time he gets out he'll be harmless in society as his skills at anything except serving as a gay hooker should be pretty much outdated.
Just parade him through classrooms in prison slacks and chains every day, all day, as part of a lecture series on why crime doesn't pay and why cheating is a bad idea.