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Terry Childs Found Guilty

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the miss-carriage dept.

The Courts 982

A jury in San Francisco found Terry Childs guilty of one felony count of computer tampering. The trial lasted four months. Childs now faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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Poor jerk. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005772)

Oh well.

Re:Poor jerk. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005838)

"Jerk" is right. The guy got what was coming to him. To all the sysadmins with a similar "god complex" out there, let this be a lesson to you. You do not own the systems. You are an employee. You answer to someone, and if they demand something you either do it or quit. End of story.

Re:Poor jerk. (5, Insightful)

ergean (582285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005898)

Fuck off. He followed the fucking city policy, maybe he was a jerk about it, but that doesn't make you right about him.

Re:Poor jerk. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006036)

Yes. Security rightly assumes that the weakest link of any computer/information protection is the humans. He followed their policy about how to deal with people trying to get access, no matter where or how powerful those people were.

He should be commended, not disgraced.

Re:Poor jerk. (0, Flamebait)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006096)

Yes following the rules to the detriment of the entire company/city while it maybe satisfying will get you a felony count and I hope a stiff fine. It's nice to be able to follow the rules, but once your (corporate superior entity) requires you to do something even if it is against company policy you do it. Your (corporate superior entity) made the policy after all. While you and several like thinkers may believe you to be insightful you are missing the point about what point following the rules becomes a felony. He got off easy.

He was an idiot (3, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006098)

He was given the option to hand over the passwords and walk away or face jail time. He could have handed everything over (even though it violated a contract) and it would all be forgotten. Through some misguided sense of morals or utter stupidity he chose to let it go to trial.

Don't kid yourselves for one second, juries are stacked with wishy washy room temp IQ dullards who are easily swayed on emotional opinions. Do you think this jury had any clue what a password file or network topology was? He was portrayed as a rogue agent against the goody two shoes city and they fell for it.

Re:Poor jerk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006122)

Well then, hooray for petty passive-aggressiveness! We should all seek to be more like that.

Re:Poor jerk. (5, Funny)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006124)

Best way to save yourself is to use "fuckyou" or "ihavenoidea" as the main password.
-"Terry for the 50th time: what is the password?"
-"fuckyou"
-"officer, arrest him."

Re:Poor jerk. (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006172)

Dude, stop posting my internet banking passwords online!!!

Re:Poor jerk. (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006222)

It was very probably being a jerk that got him convicted - people are much more likely to convict the headstrong than the guilty. I don't know if he really was guilty of anything, I've not really examined the evidence, but it's a well-documented psychological flaw of individuals that looks and personalities have a far far greater bearing on who is convicted than the actual evidence itself. There is no fix for this bug that is not worse than the bug itself.

Even if he were guilty, his real "crime" would be being a little too uptight, perhaps being an a-hole a little too often, and maybe being a little obnoxious. Note that these are only true if he actually is guilty of something. I fail to see how a purely punitive system is going to be useful in correcting these issues, which are not uncommon amongst those with Geek Syndrome (aka Asperger's). In the same way drunk drivers are sometimes ordered to attend AA meetings, the most suitable punishment (again IF he is guilty) would be to require him to attend an Asperger's group and/or get checked-out by a pdoc for some sort of treatment regimen. (Asperger's is not, technically, treatable but CAN aggravate other problems that are.) This would be cheaper than prison, by a LONG way, be far more likely to be effective, AND would be more likely to increase his value to society (whereas prison rots skills and therefore decreases value).

Re:Poor jerk. (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006238)

Yep. He had a duty to perform to his employers wishes, and he failed. He knew what it meant and he did it anyway. He wasn't just an average guy that stumbled into an unguarded Big Red Button. He was a sysadmin with full understanding of how he was about toe screw up the works. Nail him.

Well that's good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005778)

Now we are all a little safer.

I guess my gut feeling was right: Fuck the users (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005782)

Cause they seem to think it's cool to fuck over the administrator protecting them.

post (-1, Offtopic)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005784)

first

It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005788)

he is a sysadmin that refused to disclose passwords to an office which had the prudence to disclose ALL of those LIVE passwords and usernames as evidence in a public court ... exposing personal information of millions of citizens in public databases ...

i doubt that randomly selected array of 20-30 americans would be able to understand how insanely stupid this is.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (2, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005820)

bay area jurors, no less. ones that SHOULD know a little bit about technology.

I smell a rat. this does not make sense to me. was this happening in the deep south or some other backwoods place?

very sad.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005824)

As stupid as it is, its the law. He has an obligation to follow the law, not a moral technical compass. If there is a problem with the law then it needs to be changed not broken. You are your technical vigilantes need to be stopped from taking technology into your own hands.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005866)

>Disempower yourself

Yeah, no thanks.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (1, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005918)

The man was already a felon from the 1980s, so it shows he tended not to follow the law.

http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/vulnerabilities/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=209100472 [informationweek.com]

"The Chronicle also reported on Wednesday that Childs has a 25-year-old felony criminal record in Kansas, where he was convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary stemming from charges filed in 1982. Childs was on probation or parole until 1987, according to records uncovered by the newspaper. Childs had disclosed the felony conviction when he applied for the San Francisco job five years ago."

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (5, Insightful)

neochubbz (937091) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005922)

As stupid as it is, its the law. He has an obligation to follow the law, not a moral technical compass. If there is a problem with the law then it needs to be changed not broken. You are your technical vigilantes need to be stopped from taking technology into your own hands.

How exactly was he breaking the law? As I understand it, the whole issue wasn't that he tampered with anything. Instead, he refused to disclose the passwords when the person requesting them did not follow proper protocols.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006150)

According to everything I have read he refused to hand over the password under any circumstance when his supervisors asked for them. There was no "only give to the mayor" rule. He was a regular employee working a regular job where he has the obligation to hand over information requested by his supervisor. After he was arrested and placed in custody is when he stated that he would only give the password to the mayor, not becuase it was a rule or directive but becuase Mayor Newsom was "the only person he felt he could trust". There was no rule about handing passwords over, he felt "None of the persons who requested the password information from Mr. Childs ... were qualified to have it," according to his lawyer. It was his opinion, nothing else.

Why Did He Refuse?
Terry Child built this network. It was his baby and he owned it. He was the only person with access and was on call 24/7/365 and the only person familiar enough with it to work on it. He loved it so much that he applied and was granted a copyright for the network design as technical artistry. His department was going through a series of downsizes and his supervisor began to audit his work, which previously he had free reign in. He got spooked and started snooping on his bosses, which spooked his bosses and it all lead to a stand off.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005826)

Democracy is a form of government that ensures we are governed as well as we deserve.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005996)

Democracy is a form of government that ensures we are governed as well as we deserve.

Explain that again. Do smart people deserve to be governed like idiots just because they're outnumbered by idiots?

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006024)

Yes, they deserve it for not eliminating the idiots from among themselves, whether by deportation, self-exile (but where is there free land to found a colony of non-stoopids?) or... by other means.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006242)

(but where is there free land to found a colony of non-stoopids?)

The ocean. [seasteading.org]

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006140)

Yes, because smart people live among them. We call it "civilization".

Living in a civilized world has many advantages over not living in one. But every now and then, we must all unjustly eat that excrement sandwich.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (2, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005876)

No, he refused to disclose the password to his supervisors when they asked him for them.

Glad they found him guilty.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (2, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005942)

Hear, hear. Just because the guy is a nerd doesn't mean we have to rally 'round him.

Of course, if during the trial everyone's login credentials were exposed (I don't know if they were, I didn't RTFA) that would be pretty goddamn stupid indeed.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (1, Flamebait)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005960)

And if something happened to the network it's his ass. Lose, lose.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006066)

No, he refused to disclose the password to his supervisors when they asked him for them.

Glad they found him guilty.

Come again on that one? If you have access to the hardware you can set the password to anything you want. You don't need the old password. You can kill people and get less than five years in jail.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006068)

Disclosing your password to your boss is specifically prohibited [sfgov.org] (PDF, page 34) by California's password policy.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (2, Interesting)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005920)

From http://www.cio.com.au/article/255165/sorting_facts_terry_childs_case?pp=2&fp=&fpid= [cio.com.au] "DTIS officials demanded that Childs relinquish the usernames and passwords used to access the FiberWAN network devices, and Childs refused to do so. He was suspended for insubordination on July 9. " He was arrested shortly thereafter. DTIS is the city's IT department. His refusing to disclose passwords to a public court has nothing to do with why he was arrested and found guilty.

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006116)

and now there's a need for a new tag....."suddenoutbreakofidiocracy"

that being said....dunno...this sets a bad precedence for sysadmins/IT ppl....as this basically be also interpreted as "if you secure your network from novices who may break the network, you might be guilty of a crime"

I hope he appeals and some big-shot lawyer does it pro-bono and sues the pants off the city.
(having friends who have had to deal with the SF city WAN system prior to Terry Childs and how it use to go down often for long periods of time; they were appalled back it was first announced that he was arrested for fixing a broken network...bureaucracy at its finest).

Re:It should read 'stoopid people hath spoken' (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006200)

that being said....dunno...this sets a bad precedence for sysadmins/IT ppl....as this basically be also interpreted as "if you secure your network from novices who may break the network, you might be guilty of a crime"

If your boss demands the password, give it to them. Send them a letter along with the passwords saying that you are doing it under protest if you want, warn them of the dangers, whatever, but don't be idiotic. So they screw up and the network goes down, big deal, it's a freaking network not the entirety of modern civilization. Some sysadmins have waaay too high an opinion of the importance of their computer systems.

Please appeal, (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005816)

... because this verdict certainly isn't appealing.

Re:Please appeal, (1, Informative)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005852)

No, I daresay it's not very appealing to him. However, as far as I can tell, the man is indeed guilty. I've forgotten a lot of the details of the the original circumstances, but I remember enough to say that holding a city's computer systems random (which is essentially what he was doing) certainly deserves a guilty verdict on a count of "computer tampering." You really think it's acceptable under any circumstances for someone to hijack a network like that? Yes, he works there and technically "administrates" those machines, but he has a duty to his employers (ultimately, the citizens), and he was not upholding that duty.

Re:Please appeal, (5, Funny)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005896)

...holding a city's computer systems random...

Yes, I see where that might be an issue... ;)

Re:Please appeal, (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005952)

And this, kids, is why proofreading once isn't enough. Ransom, naturally.

Re:Please appeal, (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005912)

...but I remember enough to say that holding a city's computer systems random (which is essentially what he was doing) ...

So how do you hold a computer system random? Threaten with /dev/random against / ?

Re:Please appeal, (3, Funny)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005972)

No that would be a simple case of bitnapping. You'd have to request some sort of recompense in exchange for releasing / in order for it to be "holding random".

Re:Please appeal, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005930)

You probably should go re-read the case. He held nothing hostage, he was doing his job.

Re:Please appeal, (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006020)

However, as far as I can tell, the man is indeed guilty.

Guilty of what? Being a hard headed ass? Yes. But that's not against the law. He didn't break any laws. They convicted him of "tampering" which *requires* he do actual damage. They said that he could have done damage and no one could have stopped it was actual damage, and won. I didn't sit in the trial, but I can't understand how that conviction could have happened. The network ran fine until he gave out the passwords, then the people broke it. He didn't "tamper" with it. It was working fine the whole time he withheld the passwords.

You really think it's acceptable under any circumstances for someone to hijack a network like that?

You are confusing "not acceptable" with "illegal".

he has a duty to his employers (ultimately, the citizens), and he was not upholding that duty.

He withheld the passwords - the network worked. He gave them out - the network failed. I think your calls of violation of duty are misplaced. He "failed" the people by giving out the passwords, if his duty was to ensure the network worked.

Re:Please appeal, (5, Insightful)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006030)

Let's say he was hit by a bus, killed, and consequently unable to disclose the password. Would he be guilty of computer tampering in that case? How about the bus driver?

just deserts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005818)

He absolutely deserves that punishment.

Re:just deserts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005836)

Learn to spell, asshat.

do the right thing (4, Insightful)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005822)

Remind me never to do the right thing ever again.

Re:do the right thing (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006076)

I am guessing you have been around for a while so I am surprised you need reminding.

Re:do the right thing (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006170)

Well, the weed has been known to affect your.... what were we talking about agin?

Re:do the right thing (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006092)

I think the lesson to be learned here is to demand legal statements from people that absolve you of responsibility for their stupidity. "You want these passwords? First give me something I can bring to court, so that when you screw up, you cannot try to blame me." The courts have shown that these are the sorts of measures we must take -- not to try to prevent the damage from being done, but to prevent the idiots who cause problems from passing the responsibility off to us.

Re:do the right thing (0, Troll)

BitHive (578094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006100)

Yeah, that's the lesson here. I swear, Slashdot is whinier than a bunch of teenage girls. Remind me to never read this site again.

Re:do the right thing (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006168)

Why do you keep coming back?

Re:do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006212)

It was a joke

Re:do the right thing (1)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006228)

In office politics, the "right thing" is not what the book says, it's what the paymaster says. The Golden Rule: Whosoever Has The Gold Makes The Rules.

Jury of Peers (4, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005834)

It is my understanding his employment was specific in that he would only disclose the password to the mayor alone. This never happened, thus he never disclosed the password. This case did not require any technical knowledge to grasp the facts, so I am unsure how the jury could come to this result.

Re:Jury of Peers (4, Insightful)

robpoe (578975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005858)

They're dumbasses

Re:Jury of Peers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005914)

It is my understanding his employment was specific in that he would only disclose the password to the mayor alone. This never happened, thus he never disclosed the password.

He did.

source [wired.com]

WTF is he still doing in jail, let alone being found guilty.

Re:Jury of Peers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005932)

I've heard the disclosure statement of only to the mayor before. Is there an actual news story that can prove or disprove the statement? If it's true then the employment agreement should be enough to prove his innocence.

Re:Jury of Peers (1, Flamebait)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006006)

they are too stupid to get out of jury duty that tells you how stupid they are

Re:Jury of Peers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006192)

Hey, there's plenty of blame to go around. Let's not forget how stupid the prosecutor is.

Re:Jury of Peers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006022)

It required a slight grasp on reality.

Re:Jury of Peers (1)

think_nix (1467471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006040)

Can't he appeal ? I like you do not understand how they "the peers" could reach this decision. Although since the case was somewhat technical usually more times than most anytime non technical people have to deal with technical issues they try to blow it off or find a way not to deal with it.

Imho I am sure the Prosecution tried milking the most out of this. Saying he terrorized the city etc etc . Thats how the court system works. Hell after following this whole case for years now , if I recall mainstream media had already announced him guilty before he was even allowed trial , just read some of the older headlines. Also being that most sheople "peers" in this case are so gullible and non technical it was probably rather easy for 6 pack Joe to come to a decision like this.

This is a scary day for sysadmins all over. I would advise all to double read any kind of contract or have approved by a lawyer before starting work. The legal hoops now involved in something which should have been or be so simple and clear , well its all fubar now.

Re:Jury of Peers (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006048)

Obviously, the entire jury is batty. That's the only explanation.

Or maybe we're missing something.

Re:Jury of Peers (4, Insightful)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006108)

Actually, you're missing experiencing the whole trial from the jury box. All we've been given here on /. is soundbites of the trial. We don't know all the evidence presented by the prosecution. We don't know all the evidence provided by the defense. All we know are little bits of info given to us by biased sources. Unless one sat in on the whole trial, slandering the jury is inappropriate.

Re:Jury of Peers (1)

jbeach (852844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006210)

That being the case, one would hope that this will be easily appealed.
However, this may be the same sort of "The law be damned! Authority is threatened by scary werehackers who understand the secret powers of those computer things!" situation, that caused the ludicrous treatment of Kevin Mitnick.

I hope not.

Thats Stoopid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005846)

every sysadmin should get a year's salary and a months paid vacation every time he has to give a phb the root password

12 if the best (5, Funny)

ff1324 (783953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005864)

Remember that juries are made up of the twelve people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.

Re:12 if the best (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005916)

Seeing as how all you have to do to get out of jury duty is to simply ignore the summons to jury duty, then claim you never received it, not being smart enough to avoid it does not speak well for them.

Re:12 if the best (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006220)

Seeing as how all you have to do to get out of jury duty is to simply ignore the summons to jury duty, then claim you never received it, not being smart enough to avoid it does not speak well for them.

Perhaps where you live. Not all court systems are as backwards as that.

Re:12 if the best (1)

ff1324 (783953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005936)

Perhaps I should volunteer for jury duty...I cannot tell the difference between the letters "i" and "o" apparently.

Re:12 if the best (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005946)

Or, you know, civic minded types that didn't *want* to get out of jury duty. I would have loved to serve when I was last called, but got rejected at the last second by a peremptory challenge (not sure whether it was from prosecution or defense, since they made their challenges while we were out the room). Of course, while I would have loved to serve on that particular trial (it was expected to run a few days, a week at the outside), the Childs's trial is a whole different kettle of fish. Four months is too much for me, even though my company would have paid me for the whole period.

This is a really really really bad precedent... (4, Insightful)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005870)

What this really all comes down to is that once a company fires you or lets you go you are still obligated to that company.

I don't care if it's a government organization or a corporation as far as I'm concerned once they let you go there should be no more ties to anyone from either side.

I guess it's true...the shackles don't come off even if they put you back in the general population.

Re:This is a really really really bad precedent... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006112)

I don't care if it's a government organization or a corporation as far as I'm concerned once they let you go there should be no more ties to anyone from either side.

What are you talking about? He was asked for the passwords before he was suspended.

Re:This is a really really really bad precedent... (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006236)

Yes but they let him go (or at least suspended him) when he wouldn't give them the passwords. At that point the proper and _sane_ management move is to replace the person and physically change all the passwords. (If you have physical access to a box you can change the passwords.)

Instead they chose to waste the city's money and everyone's time by having him arrested and going to court.

That means as far as I'm concerned that no matter if you get suspended or let go or whatever you are still beholding to that company.

To me that's unacceptable.

This whole courtroom scene is the results of an exercise in idiocy not by Childs who was following policy but by his upper level management people.

Soooo (4, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005874)

The lesson here is to do whatever your boss says, even if it is incredibly stupid and will make your job entirely unmanageable...

Well, I would have to agree that my 'inner security geek', would have had to swallow really hard a few time before stating production passwords over a teleconference with unknown people. Hell, I would expect to be fired just for doing that.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Sometime you just have to suck it up and go look for another job. The sad part is that Terry was probably just a conscientous civil servant, and the boss was a know-nothing political appointee. Terry had probably seen more than a few of these appointed ass-hats come and go, and figured this was just another little tempest that would blow over.

Poor guy

Re:Soooo (0, Troll)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005962)

My experience has been, when the head of your agency or supervisor(s) ask for a password, you give it to them.

If they call you and ask for it, you give it to them.

Terry Childs is a felon, the city of San Francisco shouldn't have put him in that position in the first place.

Re:Soooo (4, Insightful)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006044)

A low UID does not make you smart I see. He committed a crime 25 years earlier. I went to prison when I was 17, and am now 41. Time changes folks, and not just prison time. You are a very narrow minded and prejudiced SOB if you are going to hold stuff against people 25 years after they did the crime.

Re:Soooo (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006134)

Nor does time make one reformed in every case.

Terry Childs is a convicted felon, his record wasn't expunged, so the fact stands.

And now he is a felon again.

Re:Soooo (1)

Metzli (184903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006234)

That may be, but there are some times when rules don't allow someone with a record to hold a privileged position. I've seen a few cases where people couldn't be allowed to do a certain job because of past actions. They were 20+ years earlier and, IMHO, rather minor. Regardless, sometime it's just not allowed.

Re:Soooo (2, Interesting)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006090)

If my boss asks me to do something, I generally do it. What if it violates policy? Well, he's more culpable than I am.

That's the thing. That network is more Childs' boss' than it is his... his boss has more responsibility to it. He wants the password, give it to him and document that you did so. When the network comes crashing down, it's more his fault than yours.... and you're not in jail. Hopefully.

Re:Soooo (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006148)

He didn't remove the network from his employer. All the hardware was still there. If they had a clue they would have gone in at the hardware/firmware level and reset the passwords.

Is this the same thing... (1)

deep9x (1068252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005884)

he was originally charged with? From what I've found online, he was charged with California statute 502(c) (5), which reads:

I couldn't find anything that is, definitionally, "computer tampering" through a judicious use of Google.

Jury Justice according to Frost (1)

gibson123 (1740752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005894)

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. - Robert Frost

The city was GOING to win. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32005904)

Even if he was right. Which lets be realistic here, he wasn't. But right or wrong, he made the city looks dumb, he was going to lose either way. What kind of court system would set a precedent that the city was wrong for asking for something it owned. He should of just given the codes, and gone on with his life. Was it worth it? Not really.

Re:The city was GOING to win. (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005928)

Even if he was right. Which lets be realistic here, he wasn't.

Since we're being realistic, mind telling me how was he wrong?

Re:The city was GOING to win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006002)

What was he expecting to happen? Anyone that didnt just give in once this entire chain of events started to come screaming at them with full intent of running them over, obviously thought they had some higher worth to the system then they actually had. He was trying to protect something that didn't want to be protected, and was a very very expendable part of the machine that just as quickly threw him to the wolves, and label him a rouge jack ass. So you tell me? With all the hype aside, was it really worth it?

Re:The city was GOING to win. (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006160)

Whether it was worth the effort and whether he was right are two independent issues.

Re:The city was GOING to win. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005978)

A better strategy would have been to simply say "I forgot!", and claim he had destroyed any written copies of the password he had before he left. Really, it is exceedingly stupid for the city to not have any backup plan for recovering the passwords should something happen to the only person that knew them! And yes, Terry Childs had a responsibility to ensure that the passwords could be recovered no matter what as well -- which doesn't make him a very good sysadmin.

Will trial records be posted somewhere? (3, Interesting)

linebackn (131821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005924)

Sound like this could have some bad repercussions for IT folks. Of course all I know about the situation is what has been posted on Slashdot. There could be, and usually is, more to the story. Now that the trial is over with will the court records be posted somewhere?

Re:Will trial records be posted somewhere? (2, Insightful)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006052)

Sound like this could have some bad repercussions for IT folks. Of course all I know about the situation is what has been posted on Slashdot. There could be, and usually is, more to the story. Now that the trial is over with will the court records be posted somewhere?

That's an excellent question. Throughout this entire case I've felt like I was only getting one side of the story. For example, I haven't seen any quotes from the prosecutor. Prosecuting someone for failing to disclose a password is absurd. There has got to be something else going on.

Am I missing something? (1)

solosaint (699000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32005958)

am i missing something? I thought the US Government had the ability to crack passwords... is this only high level government? wasn't there an article on here about the US Customs using PS3s to crack laptops open...

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006032)

San Francisco's government isn't the Federal Government.

If the Mayor of San Francisco, or hell even the Governor of California ask the FBI or NSA to crack a password it'd either be flat out rejected (NSA) or it'd bounce through the Department of Justice for ages (FBI).

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006208)

Can't they just go in through the console and set the password?

Been there. The Feds hate geeks. (5, Interesting)

droopus (33472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006080)

Ok the real lesson, sorry to say is: if the Feds want you they will have you. There is a reason why 95+% of indictees plead out. How do I know this? I just emerged from a five year fed sentence at a lovely FCI in Ohio.

Without getting too detailed...I was a media consultant for a major media multinational. The Feds did not like that my focus was piracy but I would not divulge IPs, nyms or rat anyone. After some rather appalling disinformation was seeded (see Darknet...an utter load of made up BS) I was accused of damaging a portable toilet (I am not making this up) and faced life for 18 USC 844(i) and 18 USC 924(c). I was forced to plead out to a mandatory minimum of five years, which I just finished. (in fact, I'm still in a halfway house).

The charges and the character assasination were ALL bullshit. But would you have thrown the dice with a jury and risked life? Me neither.

The feds hate geeks, unless we work for them. Be VERY afraid and very careful. I'll get my life back but the past 52 months were not fun.

Re:Been there. The Feds hate geeks. (4, Funny)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006188)

Look on the bright side, at least you've still got your 5 digit Slashdot user ID!

Re:Been there. The Feds hate geeks. (1)

jbeach (852844) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006230)

Wow. I am very sorry to hear of your situation.
Are you writing about this, or getting other attention to it? Getting some silver lining out of that dark cloud?

new tag - I dont care (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006088)

Is there an "irrelevant california douchebag" tag we can apply to stories?

Boycott (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32006132)

Look. I know IT doesn't have a union. And I wouldn't want one as a programmer and sysadmin based one everything I've ever seen about a union. But this is the time to speak out through actions.

Any IT professional of any competence, and with any amount of self respect needs to refuse to do business with ANYONE who services the city of SF--directly or indirectly. I will be, and will indicate as much explicitly to anyone acting for or on behalf of the city--directly or indirectly that until a full pardon and compensation is paid to Childs, and the relevant individuals are removed from office for corruption, I will not provide any professional services.

If the relevant DA or mayor retires or resigns without reprimand and appropriate court sanctions, I will *never* provide such services.

Yes, I know many people say Childs acted unprofessionally--that's not the point. By refusing to provide the passwords, it would have been arguably justifiable to fire him. He was arrested for refusing to provide passwords after he was already fired--not his problem any more. Had they arrested him before firing him there *might* have been an argument.

I refuse to work for any organization that supports this. And I hope that the members of /. refuse to as well, unless or until the city releases far more compelling evidence of destructive intent than has come to light thus far.

Of course, it's easier for me to say as I'm two states east...but I've a client or two out there.

guilty of what? (2, Interesting)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006176)

Are we getting too hung up on the password issue? Was his refusal to divulge the passwords what he's being found guilty of?

Or is it the fact that if he stepped in front of a bus, the city had no hope of being able to manage the network? My place of employment has "the password list" and it's known to more than one person. If the city allowed Childs to hold all the keys, they're pretty stupid. If they had a policy prohibiting that, I could understand why violating it could get you jail time.

Epic fail (4, Insightful)

hsthompson69 (1674722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32006178)

I wonder how the guys who took over Terry's job feel now. I'd be looking for alternative employment at this point -> like maybe a ditch digger or something that just might not get you pooched by the judicial system.

Talk about setting a dangerous precedent.

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