excuse me, I'm trying not to puke

From Heather <heather@teknopunx.co.uk>
Date Fri, 27 Oct 2000 20:19:59 +0100

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They Know Not What They Do
Associated Press

12:20 p.m. Oct. 9, 2000 PDT
WASHINGTON -- Thou shalt not vandalize Web pages.

Thou shalt not shut down websites.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's MP3s.

FBI agents are spreading a new gospel to parents and teachers, hoping
they'll better educate youths that
vandalism in cyberspace can be economically costly and just as criminal
as mailbox bashing and graffiti spraying.

The Justice Department and the Information Technology Association of
America, a trade group, has launched the
Cybercitizen Partnership to encourage educators and parents to talk to
children in ways that equate computer
crimes with old-fashioned wrongdoing.

The effort includes a series of seminars around the country for
teachers, as well as classroom materials, guides
and a website to help parents talk to children.

"In a democracy in general, we can't have the police everywhere," said
Michael Vatis, director of the FBI's
National Infrastructure Protection Center, which guards against computer
attacks by terrorists, foreign agents and
teen hackers.

"One of the most important ways of reducing crime is trying to teach
ethics and morality to our kids. That same
principle needs to apply to the cyber world," he said.

Vatis and other FBI agents attended a kickoff seminar, the National
Conference on Cyber Ethics, last weekend at
Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

Part of the challenge: Many teens still consider computer mischief
harmless. A recent survey found that 48
percent of students in elementary and middle school don't consider
hacking illegal.

Gail Chmura, a computer science teacher at Oakton High School in Vienna,
Va., makes ethics a constant in her
curriculum, teaching kids about topics such as computer law, software
piracy and online cheating.

She has argued with students who don't see that stealing from a computer
with bad security is as wrong as
stealing from an unlocked house.

"It's always interesting that they don't see a connection between the
two," Chmura said. "They just don't get it."

The FBI's Vatis tells students, "Do you think it would be OK to go
spray-paint your neighbor's house or the grocery
store down the street? On a website, it's the same sort of thing. It's
somebody's storefront or an extension of

Chmura tries similar messages. For instance, she asks a budding composer
how he would feel if his music was
stolen and given away online.

"They do sometimes realize that when they're copying someone's product,
it's not just that 5 cent disk, but
someone's work that they're copying," she said. "I think they do come to
appreciate the fact that it's somebody's
salary they're stealing."

Vatis cites a long list of cyber crimes perpetrated by minors, including
attacks on Defense Department computers
in 1998 and the February jamming of major websites such as Amazon.com
(AMZN) and eBay (EBAY).

He tries to drive home the consequences of hacking, including the
resources it drains from his center as law
enforcement scrambles to find who is responsible at the outset of an

Authorities "don't know if it's a terrorist or a foreign military,"
Vatis said. "It diverts very scarce resources of
people who are trying to focus on crime, warfare and terrorism."

And children aren't the only ones in need of training. College students
and parents also are frequently undecided
about what crosses an ethical boundary in cyberspace, where anyone can
download pirated musical recordings.

"We had some discussion about the legalities of whether you're sharing
something with your friend or burning CDs
to sell at your school," said Deborah Price of Lewisville, N.C., parent
of a 14-year-old daughter. "I'm not real
certain about Napster ethics myself."

Price, whose daughter uses Napster, the music-sharing service considered
a threat to the recording industry,
feels that computer ethics are an important issue.

"I think it should be part of the discussion at the school," Price said.
"It's only going to get bigger."
Information is a weapon!
Arm Yourself - visit www.teknopunx.co.uk
Thoroughly disapproved of by most leading politicians

"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then
you win." - Gandhi

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