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Systems Administrators Now On Front Lines of Bias Crime
Washington, D.C. (SatireWire.com) — With yet another email virus spreading across the globe, 41 U.S. states and six European countries today announced that the act of creating an attachment-based computer virus will now
be considered a hate crime because it intentionally targets stupid people.
"In a hate crime, the offender is motivated by the victim's personal characteristics, and in the case of email viruses, the maker is clearly singling out those who open email attachments when they've been told a
thousand times not to," said California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. "Like any other segment of the population, people of stupidity need protection from bias."
The decision, however, is already causing a firestorm of controversy. In the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union vehemently opposed the action, arguing it runs counter to the spirit of hate crime laws.
"Hate crime statutes are specifically designed to protect minority groups," said ACLU President Nadine Strossen. "I'm not sure the number of stupid computer users meets that criterion."
France, meanwhile, said it would not prosecute anyone willing to write a virus in French.
But in London, the British Civil Idiots Union applauded the move, arguing that virus-based hate crimes cause victims to suffer psychological harm. "Every time we pass on one of these emails, our self-esteem is shattered when we are forced to publicize our condition," said CIU President Michael Overly. "It's always a shock to my system every time I have to write, "Hey everybody, if you get an email attachment from me, don't open it! I just found out my computer got infected by a virus! Sorry!"
In identifying virus-based hate crime activity, U.S. and European law enforcement authorities said they will focus on anyone creating a virus delivered via email attachment that contains either no subject line or a vague
subject line such as "Hey, check this out!" "I saw this and thought of you!" or "I am wanting to get your opinion on this."
Congressional leaders also said they will amend the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act and require the FBI to track data on crimes based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or stupidity. As a result, some experts
expect the annual number of hate crimes in the U.S. alone to jump from 6,500 to 132 million.
Others believe the actual number will be higher, but say many crimes will go unreported because the victim refuses to recognize what has happened.
Dallas, Texas resident Mike Smith is a case in point. "I am not a victim of a hate crime because I am not stupid," said Smith. "I got an email with an attachment from my buddy in Phoenix, so naturally, I opened it.
What's so stupid about that?" What, Smith was asked, did the email say? "It said, 'I_love_you.' Why?"
In Moline, Ill., police have already made their first arrest under the expanded laws. Matthew Spere, a 17-year-old high school senior, was taken into custody this morning after police said he had created and propagated a variant of the "Goner" virus. In a phone interview, Spere denied the charges. "My virus wasn't targeting stupid computer users specifically, just anyone using Microsoft's Outlook Express or AOL," he said. "Oh... damn."
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