Software that we write has ramifications in the real world. If not, it wouldn't be very useful. Thus, it has the potential to sweep across the world faster than a deadly manmade virus or to affect society every bit as much as genetic manipulation. Maybe we can't see how right now, but in the future our code will have ever-greater potential for harm or good. Of course, there's the issue of hacking. That's clearly a crime. Or is it that clear? Isn't hacking acceptable for our government in the event of national security? What about for other governments? Cases of life-and-death emergency? Tracking down deadbeat parents? Screening the genetic profile of job candidates?
Where is the line drawn? Who decides?
Do programmers have responsibility for how their code is used? What if a programmer writes code to pry into confidential information or copy-protected material? Does he bear responsibility along with the person who used the program? What about a programmer who knowingly or unknowingly writes code to "fix the books?" Should he be liable?