>People are saying that spreading a virus or defacing a website could be
>punished by life without parole. Is that true?
it's worse than that. they've been pushing to redefine computer intrusion offenses as a predicate to RICO for awhile quote of the day: ""Infinite Justice", trial name for Desert Storm II, was rejected after a couple days as the laughingstock of the literate. Now it's called "Enduring Freedom". Once certain proposals beloved of certain jackals are shat out the anus of congress, we won't have to do much enduring of freedom any more. It is considerate of them to relieve us of that unwanted burden in this time of Infinite Stress."
Hackers face life imprisonment under 'Anti-Terrorism' Act Justice Department proposal classifies most computer crimes as acts of terrorism. By Kevin Poulsen Sep 24 2001 1:06PM PT http://www.securityfocus.com/news/257 Hackers, virus-writers and web site defacers would face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole under legislation proposed by the Bush Administration that would classify most computer crimes as acts of terrorism. <...> As a "Federal terrorism offense," the five year statute of limitations for hacking would be abolished retroactively -- allowing computer crimes committed decades ago to be prosecuted today -- and the maximum prison term for a single conviction would be upped to life imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal justice system.
Those convicted of providing "advice or assistance" to cyber crooks, or harboring or concealing a computer intruder, would face the same legal repercussions as an intruder. Computer intrusion would also become a predicate offense for the RICO statutes.
DNA samples would be collected from hackers upon conviction, and retroactively from those currently in custody or under federal supervision. The samples would go into the federal database that currently catalogs murderers and kidnappers.