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TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: sentence.txt

Sentencing Guidelines for Computer Crime




From telecom@delta.eecs.nwu.edu Mon Feb  1 10:12:37 1993
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I received this file over the weekend and am passing it along FYI to
TELECOM Digest readers. It appears the government wants to see time in
prison for anyone/everyone found guilty of numerous crimes involving
the use of computers, based on the sentencing guidelines proposed.

Comments should be directed to the CPSR, the Sentencing Commission, or
one of the newsgroups/mailing lists where the discussion will no doubt
be continuing, such as Computer Underground Digest. 


PAT

   Organization: Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
   From: Dave Banisar <banisar@washofc.cpsr.org>
   Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1993 15:12:11 EST    
   Subject: Revised Computer Crime Sentencing Guidelines

   From Jack King (gjk@well.sf.ca.us)

The U.S. Dept. of Justice has asked the U.S. Sentencing Commission to
promulgate a new federal sentencing guideline, Sec. 2F2.1,
specifically addressing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1988 (18
USC 1030), with a base offense level of 6 and enhancements of 4 to 6
levels for violations of specific provisions of the statute.  The new
guideline practically guarantees some period of confinement, even for
first offenders who plead guilty.

For example, the guideline would provide that if the defendant
obtained ``protected'' information (defined as ``private information,
non-public government information, or proprietary commercial
information), the offense level would be increased by two; if the
defendant disclosed protected information to any person, the offense
level would be increased by four levels, and if the defendant
distributed the information by means of "a general distribution
system," the offense level would go up six levels.

The proposed commentary explains that a "general distribution system"
includes "electronic bulletin board and voice mail systems,
newsletters and other publications, and any other form of group
dissemination, by any means."

So, in effect, a person who obtains information from the computer of
another, and gives that information to another gets a base offense
level of 10; if he used a 'zine or BBS to disseminate it, he would get
a base offense level of 12. The federal guidelines prescribe 6-12
months in jail for a first offender with an offense level of 10, and
10-16 months for same with an offense level of 12.  Pleading guilty
can get the base offense level down by two levels; probation would
then be an option for the first offender with an offense level of 10
(reduced to 8).  But remember: there is no more federal parole.  The
time a defendant gets is the time s/he serves (minus a couple days a
month "good time").

If, however, the offense caused an economic loss, the offense level
would be increased according to the general fraud table (Sec. 2F1.1).
The proposed commentary explains that computer offenses often cause
intangible harms, such as individual privacy rights or by impairing
computer operations, property values not readily translatable to the
general fraud table. The proposed commentary also suggests that if the
defendant has a prior conviction for "similar misconduct that is not
adequately reflected in the criminal history score, an upward
departure may be warranted." An upward departure may also be
warranted, DOJ suggests, if "the defendant's conduct has affected or
was likely to affect public service or confidence" in "public
interests" such as common carriers, utilities, and institutions.

Based on the way U.S. Attorneys and their computer experts have
guesstimated economic "losses" in a few prior cases, a convicted
tamperer can get whacked with a couple of years in the slammer, a
whopping fine, full "restitution" and one to two years of supervised
release (which is like going to a parole officer). (Actually, it *is*
going to a parole officer, because although there is no more federal
parole, they didn't get rid of all those parole officers. They have
them supervise convicts' return to society.)

This, and other proposed sentencing guidelines, can be found at 57 Fed
Reg 62832-62857 (Dec. 31, 1992).

The U.S. Sentencing Commission wants to hear from YOU.  Write: U.S.
Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, N.E., Suite 2-500,
Washington DC 20002-8002, Attention: Public Information.  Comments
must be received by March 15, 1993.


                                  * * *

Actual text of relevant ammendments:

                UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION
            AGENCY: United States Sentencing Commission.
                          57  FR  62832

                        December 31, 1992

   Sentencing Guidelines for United States Courts

ACTION: Notice of proposed amendments to sentencing guidelines, policy
statements, and commentary. Request for public comment.  Notice of
hearing.

SUMMARY: The Commission is considering promulgating certain amendments
to the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary. The
proposed amendments and a synopsis of issues to be addressed are set
forth below. The Commission may report amendments to the Congress on
or before May 1, 1993. Comment is sought on all proposals, alternative
proposals, and any other aspect of the sentencing guidelines, policy
statements, and commentary.

DATES: The Commission has scheduled a public hearing on these proposed
amendments for March 22, 1993, at 9:30 a.m. at the Ceremonial
Courtroom, United States Courthouse, 3d and Constitution Avenue, NW.,
Washington, DC 20001.

   Anyone wishing to testify at this public hearing should notify
Michael Courlander, Public Information Specialist, at (202) 273-4590
by March 1, 1993.

   Public comment, as well as written testimony for the hearing,
should be received by the Commission no later than March 15, 1993, in
order to be considered by the Commission in the promulgation of
amendments due to the Congress by May 1, 1993.

ADDRESSES: Public comment should be sent to: United States Sentencing
Commission, One Columbus Circle, NE., suite 2-500, South Lobby,
Washington, DC 20002-8002, Attention: Public Information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Courlander, Public
Information Specialist, Telephone: (202) 273-4590.

* * *

   59. Synopsis of Amendment: This amendment creates a new guideline
applicable to violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1988
(18 U.S.C. 1030). Violations of this statute are currently subject to
the fraud guidelines at S. 2F1.1, which rely heavily on the dollar
amount of loss caused to the victim. Computer offenses, however,
commonly protect against harms that cannot be adequately quantified by
examining dollar losses. Illegal access to consumer credit reports,
for example, which may have little monetary value, nevertheless can
represent a serious intrusion into privacy interests. Illegal
intrusions in the computers which control telephone systems may
disrupt normal telephone service and present hazards to emergency
systems, neither of which are readily quantifiable. This amendment
proposes a new Section 2F2.1, which provides sentencing guidelines
particularly designed for this unique and rapidly developing area of
the law.

   Proposed Amendment: Part F is amended by inserting the following
section, numbered S.  2F2.1, and captioned "Computer Fraud and Abuse,"
immediately following Section 2F1.2:

"S.  2F2.1. Computer Fraud and Abuse

   (a) Base Offense Level: 6

   (b) Specific Offense Characteristics

   (1) Reliability of data. If the defendant altered information,
increase by 2 levels; if the defendant altered protected information,
or public records filed or maintained under law or regulation,
increase by 6 levels.

   (2) Confidentiality of data. If the defendant obtained protected
information, increase by 2 levels; if the defendant disclosed
protected information to any person, increase by 4 levels; if the
defendant disclosed protected information to the public by means of a
general distribution system, increase by 6 levels.

   Provided that the cumulative adjustments from (1) and (2), shall
not exceed 8.

   (3) If the offense caused or was likely to cause

   (A) interference with the administration of justice (civil or
criminal) or harm to any person's health or safety, or

   (B) interference with any facility (public or private) or
communications network that serves the public health or safety,
increase by 6 levels.

   (4) If the offense caused economic loss, increase the offense
level according to the tables in S.  2F1.1 (Fraud and Deceit). In
using those tables, include the following:

   (A) Costs of system recovery, and

   (B) Consequential losses from trafficking in passwords.

   (5) If an offense was committed for the purpose of malicious
destruction or damage, increase by 4 levels.

   (c) Cross References

   (1) If the offense is also covered by another offense guideline
section, apply that offense guideline section if the resulting level
is greater. Other guidelines that may cover the same conduct include,
for example: for 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(1), S.  2M3.2 (Gathering National
Defense Information); for 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(3), S.  2B1.1 (Larceny,
Embezzlement, and Other Forms of Theft), S.  2B1.2 (Receiving,
Transporting, Transferring, Transmitting, or Possessing Stolen

Property), and S.  2H3.1 (Interception of Communications or
Eavesdropping); for 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4), S.  2F1.1 (Fraud and
Deceit), and S.  2B1.1 (Larceny, Embezzlement, and Other Forms of
Theft); for 18 U.S.C. S.  1030(a)(5), S.  2H2.1 (Obstructing an
Election or Registration), S.  2J1.2 (Obstruction of Justice), and S.
2B3.2 (Extortion); and for 18 U.S.C. S.  1030(a)(6), S.  2F1.1 (Fraud
and Deceit) and S.  2B1.1 (Larceny, Embezzlement, and Other Forms of
Theft).
 
Commentary

   Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(1)-(a)(6)

   Application Notes:

   1. This guideline is necessary because computer offenses often harm
intangible values, such as privacy rights or the unimpaired operation
of networks, more than the kinds of property values which the general
fraud table measures. See S.  2F1.1, Note 10. If the defendant was
previously convicted of similar misconduct that is not adequately
reflected in the criminal history score, an upward departure may be
warranted.

   2. The harms expressed in paragraph (b)(1) pertain to the
reliability and integrity of data; those in (b)(2) concern the
confidentiality and privacy of data. Although some crimes will cause
both harms, it is possible to cause either one alone. Clearly a
defendant can obtain or distribute protected information without
altering it. And by launching a virus, a defendant may alter or
destroy data without ever obtaining it. For this reason, the harms are
listed separately and are meant to be cumulative.

   3. The terms "information," "records," and "data" are
interchangeable.

   4. The term "protected information" means private information,
non-public government information, or proprietary commercial
information.

   5. The term "private information" means confidential information
(including medical, financial, educational, employment, legal, and tax
information) maintained under law, regulation, or other duty (whether
held by public agencies or privately) regarding the history or status
of any person, business, corporation, or other organization.

   6. The term "non-public government information" means unclassified
information which was maintained by any government agency, contractor
or agent; which had not been released to the public; and which was
related to military operations or readiness, foreign relations or
intelligence, or law enforcement investigations or operations.

   7. The term "proprietary commercial information" means non-public
business information, including information which is sensitive,
confidential, restricted, trade secret, or otherwise not meant for
public distribution. If the proprietary information has an
ascertainable value, apply paragraph (b) (4) to the economic loss
rather than (b) (1) and (2), if the resulting offense level is
greater.

   8. Public records protected under paragraph (b) (1) must be filed
or maintained under a law or regulation of the federal government, a
state or territory, or any of their political subdivisions.

   9. The term "altered" covers all changes to data, whether the
defendant added, deleted, amended, or destroyed any or all of it.

   10. A "general distribution system" includes electronic bulletin
board and voice mail systems, newsletters and other publications, and
any other form of group dissemination, by any means.

   11. The term "malicious destruction or damage" includes injury to
business and personal reputations.

   12. Costs of system recovery: Include the costs accrued by the
victim in identifying and tracking the defendant, ascertaining the
damage, and restoring the system or data to its original condition.
In computing these costs, include material and personnel costs, as
well as losses incurred from interruptions of service. If several
people obtained unauthorized access to any system during the same
period, each defendant is responsible for the full amount of recovery
or repair loss, minus any costs which are clearly attributable only to
acts of other individuals.

   13. Consequential losses from trafficking in passwords: A defendant
who trafficked in passwords by using or maintaining a general
distribution system is responsible for all economic losses that
resulted from the use of the password after the date of his or her
first general distribution, minus any specific amounts which are
clearly attributable only to acts of other individuals. The term
"passwords" includes any form of personalized access identification,
such as user codes or names.

   14. If the defendant's acts harmed public interests not adequately
reflected in these guidelines, an upward departure may be warranted.
Examples include interference with common carriers, utilities, and
institutions (such as educational, governmental, or financial
institutions), whenever the defendant's conduct has affected or was
likely to affect public service or confidence".


* * *

                    -------------------

This file has been provided FYI to TELECOM Digest readers. Comments
should be directed to either the CPSR or the Sentencing Commission or
other newsgroups or mailing lists (such as Computer Underground
Digest) where the discussion will no doubt be continuing.


PAT




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