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Are Politics Killing Civil Rights?

Cyberlaw and Computer Crime

Orin Kerr is blogging at Balkinization about cyberlaw and computer crime.  His first two posts are interesting:

A Brief History of Cyberlaw
The Case for a New Computer Crime Law

I hope Kerr covers "Sentencing in Computer Crime Cases."  Will sentences in computer crime cases resemble white collar sentences?  I worked on one computer crime case (can't go into details) where the defendant was looking at 20-years based on (in my biased opinion) ridiculous loss calculations.  E.g., if I hack into your computer, what is your "loss"?  What is the harm to you, other than the psychic damages resulting from the realization that your computer isn't safe?  Should someone serve a 20-year sentence for hacking into a computer system, even if they don't cause any tangible harm?  In the computer context, what exactly is a "harm"? 

Another issue is "Effective Assistance of Counsel in Computer Crime Cases."  In the case I worked on, the defendant was convicted because his trial lawyer didn't understand the technology, and thus, did not assert an obvious defense.  Can lawyers without a sophisticated understanding of computers be able to render effective assistance of counsel?  Given that most lawyers don't even know what a blog is, I feel for the first batch of computer crime defendants.

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