Should penalties be tougher?


Cyber-crime has reached epidemic proportions. More than 90 percent of the corporations and government agencies responding to a recent survey reported computer-security breaches in 2001. Disgruntled employees and hackers commit many cyber-crimes, and others are committed by con artists using the Web to perpetrate auction fraud, identity theft and other scams. Credit-card users are only liable for the first $50 of fraudulent charges, but financial institutions get hit hard. Identity thefts cost them $2.4 billion in losses and expenses in 2000. Some policymakers, wary of Internet-facilitated terrorist attacks, call for tough, new laws to prevent computer crimes. Others fear that such initiatives will trample on civil liberties. Still others want legislation to make Microsoft and other computer-software companies liable for damages caused by their software-security ...

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