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Appeared on: Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Web Rules Imposed by the FBI

1. Page 1

Thou shalt not vandalize upon web pages. Thou shalt not essay to download thine neighbor’s web server. Thou shalt not set thine sights on thine neighbor’s MP archives. The FBI agents are preaching a new Gospel at parents and teachers, hoping to disseminate the belief that vandalism in cyberspace may result in the same financial as well as criminal consequences as ruining a mailbox or practicing graffiti.

The Department of Justice and the Information Technology Association of America, a commercial association that is, have provided what is called Cybercitizen Partnership to encourage apprentices and parents to talk to children in ways that equate mischief through computers with old fashioned deeds.

This cognitive attempt includes a series of seminars on the teachers’ field, the concrete means applied in class, the guides (books) and a web page, all of which aim at helping parents talk to their children.

“In a democratic society the police can by no means be omnipresent”, said Michael Vatis, head of the FBI National Safety Center whose sole purpose is our protection from attacks carried out by terrorists via computers, foreign agents and teenage hackers.

“One of the main ways to put down criminality is to try and teach ethics to our children. It is of crucial importance that the same principle be applied in cyberspace as well”, he said.

What is considered to be part of a challenge: Lots of young people still believe that practicing mischief through computers is harmless action. A recent survey has shown that 48% of elementary and high school students do not view hacking as a dangerous activity.

Gail Chimura, a teacher of computer science has included ethics in her curriculum, and teaches issues like computer legislation, software piracy, and online con.

She has disagreed with the students who do not consider stealing from a computer that has not been properly secured being as evil an act as stealing from an unguarded house.

“The fact, that they are unable to connect these two conceptions, is always interesting”, Chimura said. “They just cannot understand”.

FBI agent Vatis tells students: “Do you think it would be right to go and paint spray your neighbor’s house or the grocer’s down there? The Internet is exactly the same thing. It’s either someone’s image or our own extension”.

Chimura is trying to convey the same messages. She asks, for example, how a new composer would feel if his piece of music were “stolen” and given over to somebody else on line.

“Sometimes they realize that when copying someone else’s product, a floppy disc whose cost is € 0.2 is not the issue. It is the deed itself that matters, in other words {illegally} copying someone else’s work,” she said. “ I do believe that they finally appreciate the fact that what they steal is somebody else’s payment.”

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