back to article Guilty of hacking in the UK? Worry not: Stats show prison is unlikely

Nearly 90 per cent of hacking prosecutions in the UK last year resulted in convictions, though the odds of dodging prison remain high, an analysis by The Register has revealed. Government data from the last 11 years revealed the full extent of police activity against cybercrime, with the number of prosecutions and cautions for …

  1. mark l 2 Silver badge

    My personal opinion is that the low amounts of people sent to prison for hacking is about right. The UK prison system is already well overstretched with very little spare capacity in the prison population and the prison staff forced to supervise more and more prisoners. And a lot of these hackers who are probably anti social could be at risk from bullying in prison.

    Unless their hacking had endangered lives then it is much better to deal with them with community based punishments and fines than spend £32K+ a year to keep them locked up in prison.

    Leave the prisons for dangerous offenders who are a risk to the public.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...amounts of people..."

      "Amounts". Sounds like these people are ground up into a slurry, measured by volume, and delivered to the prison in vats.

      "Good morning Bob. How much prisoners do you have for me today?"

      "Hey Fred. The amount of people today is 675L. Here, let's connect the hose and get them inside."

      "Only 675L? That's less prisoners than yesterday."

      "It's 'fewer' Fred. They're discrete countable items, individual human beings. So it's 'fewer', not 'less'. And 'number', not 'amount'."

      "Very funny Bob. 'Ironic', as they say. Now, turn on the pump..."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It could worse. The US actively encourages prisoners in ever increasing numbers because just like everything else they've been turned into a resource to exploit.

        (your 'free' phone call at a collect call rate of $2 a minute...)

  2. JeffyPoooh

    "This court finds you guilty..."

    "This court finds you guilty as charged, to six counts of hacking, three counts of computer misuse, and one of fraud, specifically making unauthorized changes to government documents. The Pre-Sentencing Report that has been provided to the court recommends... ...well that's odd... ...recommends immediate release, and a payment to you of £150,000. ..."

  3. Buzzword

    The process is the punishment

    Spending a couple of years waiting for a court date is no fun; nor is the subsequent criminal conviction which disqualifies you from ever working for a big company again.

    1. Afernie

      Re: The process is the punishment

      If it were literally true that a criminal conviction "disqualifies you from ever working for a big company again", UK Plc would be out of business. About a third of all UK males have a criminal conviction of some form or other.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: The process is the punishment

        That's OK, if you have spent less than a year inside you could still become an MP although you may be blocked on account of actually knowing something about the modern world

      2. macjules

        Re: The process is the punishment

        About a third of all UK males have a criminal conviction of some form or other.

        That is an extremely unlikely statement. My guess would it would be more likely to be around 15% to 17% of the UK population as a whole, including "spent" convictions. That would fit with international averages for (western) European countries.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: The process is the punishment

          I also found it extremely unlikely, but using searching instead of guessing, I found this in an official government publication

          "33 per cent of males born in 1953 had been convicted of at least one standard list offence before the age of 53."

        2. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: The process is the punishment

          Given the grotesquely sexist justice system the 15-17% of the UK population that has a criminal conviction is primarily male anyway, so does indeed equate to 30% of the male population.

          Your guess backs up his claim.

      3. rmason

        Re: The process is the punishment


        what you say rings true if you're apply for CE-something.

        But almost universally any company that runs a dbs check on new employees for a "pleb" position will automatically reject any failing applicants.

        Previous comment is correct in regards to the conviction preventing them getting a job for a big player again.

        Most big players check no days, and if they're checking then they''ll not offer someone with a conviction the job. It really is that black and white.

        It will restrict the person to jobs in places that don't check. they don't need a custodial sentence to affect their future job prospects.

        If what was done was particularly offensive in nature, or endangered lives then fair enough. Prison, but most CMA cases are unauthorised access, pinching data, or pinching cash electronically.

        Around a third of males might have a conviction, but there's an informal list of "things we care about" and "things we will ignore" living with each company, HR team and recruiter. I'd imagine a CMA conviction is firmly in the former list, for IT positions, but something related to driving, or being caught with drugs 15 years ago, or a drunk and disorderly for example, might be completely ignored. I'd imagine that quoted 33% includes cautions, which can be for practically anything.

        It's case by case per job they will be applying for in the future.

      4. Buzzword

        Re: The process is the punishment

        We're talking about the context of computer hacking here. Having a hacking conviction, even without a custodial sentence, means you're very unlikely to get hired for a technical job at a big organisation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The process is the punishment

      Hacking = OK

      Proud Brit = Hold on there you Nhat-zee...

      Misgendering = You're done!

      Can it get any, no not going to jinx it any more....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, that explains something..

    That makes the UK not such a bad choice for Assange at all.

    That is, if he had kept away from that other poking without permission.

  5. streaky


    Which is a bit weird because if you consider the way the law is written, which is to say how parliament intended it to be used it's actually considered to be a very very serious crime - would be interested to see exactly who is being prosecuted and for what and why they're not being jailed.

  6. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Don't see why cyber criminals should get harsh sentences when Tory politicians walk free.

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