Apparently some programmers who write code to do High Frequency Trading aren't happy with their lot in life. There is a slashdot story about them.
My opinion is that High Frequency Trading (HFT) is almost impossible to differentiate from Front Running... which IS theft.
The markets should operate in batch mode, with a new batch every 5 minutes for markets with volume. Everyone puts in their bids and asks... and then they get their results after the run. That single step would kill off most of the abuse.
If the frequency of the batches needs to be adjusted up or down, that should be the pervue of the regulators.