How 1 minute of protest cost $183,000 and 2 years federal probation.

The date was Monday 28th of February 2011, and Eric J. Rosol was for ‘about a minute’ involved with a DDoS (distributed  denial-of-service) attack on a Web page of Koch Industries —

Along with other members of Anonymous they where using a bit of software called Low Orbit Ion Cannon Code, to overload the website with requests and disrupt the target server of the Kansas company.  Koch Industries is privately held with headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, and has businesses in a number of areas including oil and manufacturing.

The company was targeted by Anonymous for its alleged role in weakening the bargaining power of trade unions, and was said to forced the website off-line for a total of just 15 minutes.

Whist the direct losses as a result of the attack on the website were less than $5,000, lawyers acting for David and Charles Koch the owners of the company argued successfully for the costs of a consulting group to protect its Web sites which ran to approximately $183,000.

As a result Rosol, who pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of accessing a protected computer, was sentenced with the hefty fine and the two years of probation.

It’s easy to see why some civil rights activists are saying that the U.S. computer laws to charge individuals for crimes allow for long sentences in jail and are somewhat disproportionate to the on-line crime, any similar crime in the physical world would not result in such harsh penalties.