There's an episode of "The Simpsons" where the gluttonous family patron Homer spends a day in Hell and is forced to endure the horrors of the Ironic Punishments Division.
For Homer, that means being force-fed, literally, a roomful of donuts. Yet even as the last few are shoved down his throat into his ridiculously overstuffed body, he politely requests, "More please."
I was reminded of this episode after reading about the punishment handed down Monday to 23-year-old hacker Nicholas Lee Jacobsen. Jacobsen was busted for breaking in to T-Mobile's network in 2003 and accessing private information of about 400 customers, including a Secret Service agent.
Jacobsen's punishment? He must pay T-Mobile $10,000 in damages -- plus he faces a year of home detention.
Hm. Home detention. How will this convicted hacker pass the time? Perhaps a year without Internet access would have been more fitting -- or does that fall under the category of cruel and unusual punishment?
Yes, I'm being just a bit flippant. I'm sure a year at home won't be a walk in the park, and I'd rather see him suffer that than be forced to rot in jail. And to his credit, he did apologize and acknowledge the error of his ways.
U.S. District Judge George King clearly felt that same way, in that he didn't slap Jacobsen with anything close to the maximum sentence for accessing a protected computer: five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.