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Teenage hacker sentenced to six years without Internet or computers

Cosmo the God

Cosmo the God, a 15-year-old UG Nazi hacker, was sentenced Wednesday to six years without Internet or access to a computer.

The sentencing took place in Long Beach, California. Cosmo pleaded guilty to a number of felonies including credit card fraud, bomb threats, online impersonation, and identity theft.

Cosmo and UG Nazi, a group he runs, started out as a group in opposition to SOPA. Together with his group, Cosmo managed to take down websites like NASDAQ, CIA.gov, and UFC.com among others. Cosmo also created custom techniques that gave him access to Amazon and PayPal accounts.

According to Wired’s Mat Honan, Cosmo’s terms of his probation lasting until he is 21 will be extremely difficult for the young hacker:

“He cannot use the internet without prior consent from his parole officer. Nor will he be allowed to use the Internet in an unsupervised manner, or for any purposes other than education-related ones. He is required to hand over all of his account logins and passwords. He must disclose in writing any devices that he has access to that have the capability to connect to a network. He is prohibited from having contact with any members or associates of UG Nazi or Anonymous, along with a specified list of other individuals.”

Jay Leiderman, a Los Angeles attorney with experience representing individuals allegedly part of Anonymous also thinks the punishment is very extreme:

“Ostensibly they could have locked him up for three years straight and then released him on juvenile parole. But to keep someone off the Internet for six years — that one term seems unduly harsh. You’re talking about a really bright, gifted kid in terms of all things Internet. And at some point after getting on the right path he could do some really good things. I feel that monitored Internet access for six years is a bit on the hefty side. It could sideline his whole life–his career path, his art, his skills. At some level it’s like taking away Mozart’s piano.”

There’s no doubt that for Cosmo, a kid that spends most of his days on the Internet, this sentence seems incredibly harsh. Since he’s so gifted with hacking and computers, it would be a shame for him to lose his prowess over the next six years without a chance to redeem himself. Although it wouldn’t be surprising if he found a way to sneak online during his probation. However, that kind of action wouldn’t exactly be advisable. It’s clear the FBI are taking his offenses very seriously and a violation of probation would only fan the flames.

Do you think the sentencing was harsh or appropriate punishment for Cosmo’s misdeeds?