There’s some legal reasoning — cited by a critic of Swartz’s — that ideologically-motivated acts of public disobedience should be punished more harshly than common criminality, because ideologically-motivated protesters are likely to continue to break what they see as bad laws, whereas those motivated by personal gain may be deterred by punishment. It’s called “special deterrence”.Evidence shows this theory is actually applied, at least the other way: large corporations that have engaged in repeated, systemic, even industrial-scale invasion of privacy, either with the cooperation of users Facebook or not Google, have managed to escape substantial penalties or avoid prosecution of any kind. It’s a similar story in Australia with Telstra being repeatedly guilty of privacy breaches, for which it has only receiving “warnings” and been asked for undertakings.
Southern Poverty Law Center
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