The computer has become a necessary and valuable tool in the lives of virtually everyone in America. They are equal in importance to a telephone or car. In many cases they can represent a reasonably sizable investment. Additionally, people store vast amounts of pertinent and valuable personal information on them. This information is critical to their everyday lives. To harm one’s computer is a very serious criminal matter of a property nature.
For whatever reasons, there are those that are computer savvy enough to write, while choosing to send, viruses intended to damage or destroy computers. These misguided souls do it quite frequently and seemingly with little thought, because detecting them is so difficult. Moreover, writing viruses is a senseless and malicious act, because the victims are most likely unknown to the perpetrators. Writing and sending viruses is an act of wanton vandalism. It is a childish thing to do to an innocent person.
There are those who see no criminal element in a behavior of this nature. How more misguided can they be? Clearly, the intent of virus writing is to damage or destroy someone else’s property. Additionally, any lost data of a critically important nature adds insult to injury. Anyone with a VoIP phone will be victimized to a greater degree, as their phone service will be compromised. There is nothing funny or cute about sending viruses and our criminal court system should see it as a prosecutorial matter.
Certainly in the case of an irreparable computer those guilty of writing destructive viruses should be held as accountable as a burglar or car thief. The loss of property can easily approach $1,000 in value.
Although perhaps not a crime, there is a substantial violation of one’s right to privacy, when his or her computer is damaged or destroyed by a virus. We want to believe we are safe in our homes. A computer virus crosses one’s property line on it’s way to doing the pointless damage it does. Every citizen’s privacy should be honored and respected, with regard to his or her own computer. Opening another person’s mail is a crime and the mailbox isn’t even located inside the home. Privacy is supposed to be highly regarded in our society. It is for this reason that we have unlawful search and seizure guarantees written in our constitution.
Writing and sending viruses is done with the intent to damage or destroy another person’s property. Therefore, it is a crime, without exception. It is pointless, inexcusable and serves no valid purpose. Those that harm another person’s property in this society are held criminally accountable. Anyone who knowingly and willfully sends viruses should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. No exceptions and no excuses.