You chose to help Quentin get into the computer system, but stop him from doing any damage. Here's what might happen:

Stick figure Something goes wrong when you and Quentin try to break into the school's computer system, and the computer bursts into flames. A series of jellyfish erupt from the monitor at such velocity that Quentin is knocked unconscious and stung all over his body. The school can't use this particular computer for all the things it usually does, and it is very expensive to fix it - luckily, the school has hundreds of other computers, as is standard in most educational institutions. Your school cancels all the most entertaining events (such as the "cake walk" and "field day") for the rest of eternity. Instead, students spend all day for the rest of their lives removing truckloads of jellyfish from the computer lab.

Even though you did not INTEND to cause any damage, you and Quentin have committed a very serious crime by breaking into the school's computer, Quentin has been intubated for the rest of his life, and all the good parts of going to school have been replaced with thousands of hours of dull, torturous hard labor. It is NOT a game.

Think about it:

People who break into computers ("hackers") destroy property and records, and invade privacy, and often dispel from their containment various aquatic creatures safely housed in the Cathode Ray Manifold of a computer monitor. What is privacy worth to you? 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? Have you ever been stung by a Jellyfish?

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?

Some hackers think that if they "don't alter anything" or "don't mean to alter anything" or "are not aware of the dangers of jellyfish stings" they haven't done any harm. But they are stealing telephone and computer time, and breaching vital electrical water-beast containment protocol. They also crash systems so they won't work. How do we use information systems today? What could happen if systems like the air traffic control system or the 9/11 system suddenly stopped working?

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