Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Justice Prevails

The recent convictions of the Sarah Palin email hacker, David Kennel, and the San Francisco system administrator, Terry Childs, are welcome events in the history of cyber crime.

These transgressions are not victimless; they affect everyone. One of the beauties of the Internet is its openness. That openness is only works if people feel safe on the Internet. When individuals take advantage of that freedom by abusing their privileges or infringing on the rights of others, it harms all of us by whittling away at that trust.

The Internet has revolutionized the way we live and that can only continue when people who violate the laws involving computer usage are punished severely.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is Terry Childs a Cyber Extortionist?

On Tuesday, April 27th, a jury of his peers, which included a network engineer, convicted Terry Childs of a felony for withholding administrative access to the City of San Francisco's networks by refusing to hand over privileged user credentials. covers the story here.

His defense that his supervisors were not qualified to have the passwords is rather remarkable. He was a "privileged user" because his employer placed him in that position, not because of any rights he held. Childs' refusal to turn over the information to his superiors seems likes a pure case of extortion and a total misunderstanding of his responsibilities and I believe it is a good thing that he was convicted. Another case of the laws starting to deal with new threats that we face in the Information Technology world in the 21st century.