Enforcing laws against cattle rustling was difficult because catching the thieves was highly improbable in the wide open expanses of the old wild-west, compounded by very limited law enforcement. To help offset the criminal advantage and create an effective deterrent, severe penalties for those caught became the norm. They really did hang cattle rustlers.
Today’s “cattle rustlers” are high-tech cyber criminals and identity thieves who steal personal information for the express purpose of robbery — along with high-tech voyeurs who run the gambit from illegal government spies to your garden-variety sex pervert to “dirt-diggers” just looking to defame and victimize others.
The common denominator between old and modern “rustlers” is twofold: Both are gutless cowards who depend on inherent anonymity that creates low odds of being caught. Cyber criminals are becoming more emboldened by this advantage plus, the incentive of knowing that even if they are caught, current criminal penalties amount to a slap on the wrist.
Remedy? First, we need to rid our own government of this sleazy behavior — then we need to create an effective punitive deterrent.
Michael Howard, Boise