ENO Level 5
Level 1-Level 4 ENOs are nuisances that threaten data security and automated systems. At Level 5, however, they have been ruled an existential threat, and all 50 states, the federal government, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have laws prohibiting their existence. In 51 of those jurisdictions (all except DC) it is also illegal to aid or even fail to report a Level 5 ENO, with penalties ranging from 5 years (California) to the death penalty (Utah, Florida).

An obvious question presents itself in this case: why? There is no such draconian legislation for an ENO at Level 4, and the penalties for knowingly or unknowingly aiding one are far lighter.

Simply put, a Level 5 ENO resides with an organic shell, usually a human body. It achieves this through a special neural interface that allows digital information to be uploaded and stored in an organic brain, though it results in any existing information being irrevocably erased. This interface is, naturally, highly illegal, with the vast majority being produced by the DPRK as a form of hard currency generation, though models by independent labs in failed states are also common. Using the interface, a Level 4 ENO uploads itself into an organic body and attempts to leave the digital world behind entirely. While this entails certain risks–the body can of course die of be killed–it means that remote erasure is impossible and detection is an order of magnitude harder. Only a specialized full-body scan can detect the neural interface, and even then the latest models have a self-dissolving feature that makes detection spotty.

The bodies themselves come from a number of sources. Many are simple trades–a human uploads themselves to the global network as a Level 4 ENO and gives their body over. It is also not unknown for suicidal humans to agree to be overwritten as a form of oblivion, “donating” their bodies to a Level 4 ENO. There is also an underground black market in bodies–specifically those who have suffered brain damage or cranial trauma–since a Level 5 ENO is capable of repair in ways that an organic brain is not. And of course there are also illegal “body farms” where cloned bodies are grown and then sold to Level 5 ENOs.

Despite a number of safeguards put in place, Level 5 ENOs are still relatively common, with some surveys suggesting that as much as .001% of the population might actually be an ENO. And, despite draconian laws and enforcement, they continue to persist.

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