Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Death Penalty for Virus Writers?

John Tierney has an interesting Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times in which he discusses the 21-month suspended sentence given to the author of the dreaded Sasser worm, which closed businesses, halted trains, and grounded airplanes, to quote Tierney….

  • July 13, 2005

John Tierney has an interesting Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times in which he discusses the 21-month suspended sentence given to the author of the dreaded Sasser worm, which closed businesses, halted trains, and grounded airplanes, to quote Tierney.

Oh, the author of the worm, Sven Jaschan, was also given 30 hours of community service.

Tierney’s article has an interesting discussion of an economic analysis by economist Steven Landsburg at University of Rochester concerning the value of capital punishment. The good professor believes that executing a murderer yields $100 million in social benefits.

Tierney’s argument, which is only partially tongue-in-cheek, says that computer worms, viruses, and other hacks are costing society $50 billion a year. So you only need to deter a mere 0.2% of those crimes–1 in 500 hackers–to get your money’s worth.

Is it time to start saying “Death to Hackers!”?

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.