Information Theft

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Information Theft

The world grows continually smaller. Each passing day interconnectivity amongst personal computers becomes increasingly normative. These electronic bridges are at the foundation of the networks of networks which comprise the Internet, which was initially a concept developed as a means by which both communication and vast archives of information could be preserved in the event of a nuclear war. The design was simple: a system of information exchange which was indestructible in its redundancy. In other words, Russia would need to vaporize North America entirely to with the Cold War.

In the absence of a real war, for years the Internet remained inhabited largely by members of academic and scientific communities who prized and throve upon instant exchange of information. It was these individuals who became the first denizens of cyberspace, a new frontier characterized, like the wild west, by anarchy and governed, similarly, by the good sense of inhabitants.

With interest in the Internet as a phenomenon increasing steadily over the past decade, however, it is evident that those now living are witnesses of a bizarre transformation whereby technological experience becomes wholly integral to our daily routine. As scores flock to experience the new online realm, tiny enclaves of similarly-interested individuals coalesce into electronic communities engaging in facilitated exchange of ideas, goods and information. As these communities continue to grow, codes of conduct are frequently established, challenged, and broken. People begin to engage in ecommerce, to establish eculture and to discuss being a good netizen. These are the inhabitants of today's cyberspace. Among these inhabitants are some individuals whose ...

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...being said, it is intuitively understood that on some level Kevin Mitnick did engage in the theft of information. What remains unclear is how we as a society should respond. It does not seem that he ought to be severely punished for what amounts to curiosity. Certainly he could have made a great deal of money and caused extensive damage, but there is simply no evidence of this being his intent. In the absence of a precedent, it is difficult to judge wisely. The only certainty is that as more people come to inhabit cyberspace, more of these cases will come to the forefront of our imagination and attention, more legal decisions will be made and more precedents set which will have real bearing on your very own little corner of cyberspace.

Works Cited

Littman, Jonathan. The Fugitive Game: Online with Kevin Mitnick. Little, Brown and Company. New York: 1997.

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