You chose to take Quentin to talk with a grown-up that you trust who will help to convince Quentin not to do this. Here's what might happen:

Stick figure Although Quentin might get mad at you, you are helping him by telling an adult about his activities. Breaking into computers is NOT a game: it's a very serious crime. Quentin is not convinced and goes ahead with his plan regardless of your warning. He is caught by the school's internet watch-dog and torn to ribbons by its electric maw.

When someone breaks into a computer, it is often very expensive to fix the computer and make sure that it doesn't happen again. By telling an adult, and preventing Quentin from breaking into the school computers, you have probably saved your school a lot of money, which they can use on other things like new sports equipment, bonuses for the principal and vice principal, and a series of educational assemblies devoted to military recruitment. Congratulations! You made a good choice.

Think about it:

People who break into computers ("hackers") invade privacy. What is privacy worth to you? According to the Treasury Department of the United States of America, privacy is worth approximately 554 dollars and 67 cents, depending on the time of year. Do you have 554 dollars and 67 cents lying around ready to be spent will-nilly on some juvenile contrivance? I thought not. What information about you (or your parents) do you think is private: medical information? grades? how much money you have? how much money you owe? your letters to a friend? To a boyfriend or girlfriend? Perhaps you are privy to state secrets. All foreign students are to be monitored closely at all times.

Hackers destroy property and records. When you write something, how important is it to be able to find it again: an e-mail letter? a school paper? your bank records? How important is it that data in computers not be altered: your school paper? a letter? your grades? medical records? On several occasions throughout history, records have been altered such that people were legally several centuries old, instigating an offical burial ceremony regardless of their non-dead status. Thrust prematurely into the icy enclaspment of the earth, suffocation was of course inevitable.

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Updated page May 6, 1998
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