Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Terry Childs Denied Motion For Retrial

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the out-of-options dept.

The Courts 223

snydeq writes "The former San Francisco network administrator who refused to hand over passwords for one of the city's networks has been denied a new trial and is expected to be sentenced Aug. 6. Terry Childs had been due for sentencing Friday but the court instead heard two defense motions, one requesting a new trial and the other for arrested judgment — essentially to have his original conviction overturned. The motions were both denied but the court then ran out of time before the sentencing phase could be conducted."

cancel ×

223 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

while ( 1 ) delay(); (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116750)

Given the byzantine nature of the case, I have little doubt it will be appealed until his lawyers realize he's run out of money.

Check the date? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117096)

August 6, 2010 will be exactly 65 years after the first Atom Bomb was used in war.

Re:Check the date? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117362)

August 6, 2010 will be exactly 65 years after the first Atom Bomb was used in war.

Are you trying to imply that Terry Childs kept the SF wifi network root password to prevent Gavin Newsom from nuking Japan again? And only on the day of his sentencing will Darth Gavin have the power to destroy the world?

It seems plausible enough. Gavin seems very unlikely to have plans for world domination, which of course means that they are no longer mere plans.

Re: I have little doubt it will be appealed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117394)

His and your mistake was/is to assume that Slashdot approval equals to Real World (RW) approval (also to remember Hans Reiser trial).
Another examples of RW denial and lunacy at Slashdot are denial of Windows' success in past and denial of iPad's success in present (and those denials ate not over yet).
Remember kids: geeks are really bad in RW smartness. If Slashdot screams "ZOMG! SELL!!!", you buy. And if t's a call to buy, you sell. PROFIT!

Re:while ( 1 ) delay(); (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117686)

His appeal is most likely paid for by the Bar Association and the First District Appellate Project.

Oh, Christ, Not This Tedious Tale Yet Again...! (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118166)

snydeq, tell your puppetmasters at InfoWorld to just give this a rest, won't you? Childs was the kind of uber-dickhead SysAdmin that even normal, run-of-the-mill garden-variety dickhead SysAdmins are afraid to associate with lest they appear as parodies of the type.

He didn't have a higher calling. He's not Batman. This ain't no Ayn Rand novel. He was fired and refused to release property that belonged to his former employer. Period, end of story.

And it *would* be the end of the story if the friggin' Drama Club at InfoWorld would stop flogging it on slashdot..

Re:Oh, Christ, Not This Tedious Tale Yet Again...! (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118274)

He was fired and refused to release property that belonged to his former employer. Period, end of story.

If you're saying that he refused to release a password for a database, then either hire a consultant to forcefully reset the password, or contact the vendor of the software for a solution.

The same is already done for OSs like Windows or Linux - there's special Boot CDs that bypass the issue. There's no reason why you can't do the same with more complex databases. If you need to take the system down for this, then do it at night time when the impact is minimized.

Re:Oh, Christ, Not This Tedious Tale Yet Again...! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33119228)

He was fired and refused to release property that belonged to his former employer. Period, end of story.

The agreement he had with his (former) employer specifies who he was to release that information to, and under what circumstances. The request did not come from an authorized person, and the circumstances were suspect.

If you work helpdesk in a corporate environment, you might need to handle passwords. If the rules say you are only allowed to give out a an employees password to the employee, you don't give the passwords to anyone else. Not even the employees boss, or the employees boss's boss. Not even your boss, or the CEO. NO ONE, except the employee.

That's basically what happened here.

http://www.cio.com.au/article/255165/sorting_facts_terry_childs_case/?fp=&fpid=&pf=1 [cio.com.au]

"...what actually happened was that Childs refused to provide his superiors the passwords to the city's core FiberWAN network, effectively preventing them from administering the network. The network continued to function, and no city applications, data, or resources were lost or inaccessible."

Lets see what the "California Counties “Best Policies” for the Countywide Information Security Program" [ http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/dtis/coit/Policies_Forms/CCISDA_security.pdf [sfgov.org] ] has to say about that:

"Here is a list of things to avoid:
  Giving your password over the phone to ANYONE. ...
  Telling your boss your password"

So, the "Best practices" told him to NOT give his superiors the password, and certainly not over the phone (as they requested).

tl,dr: He followed the rules, and got screwed for it.

pwned (-1, Troll)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116756)

For all the admins who get god-complexes in the line of work - rape isn't just a term used in gaming. It's also found with words like prison.

Re:pwned (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117480)

...and for all the admins who think passing out sensitive passwords at the mere verbal request of nontechnical schmuck superiors is a good idea, rape isn't just a term used in gaming. it's also found with words like prison.

damned if you do and damned if you dont these days. such corner-traps are formed when social ideology (employment hierarchies in this case) are allowed to trump technical pragmatism.

It's The Law! (3, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116762)

Withhold a password, go to jail.

Not really sure that justice was served here but the guy really was a first-rate dickhead.

Re:It's The Law! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116852)

    You gotta watch what you say on here. I agree, but I've had people go off on me saying it.

    Myself, I kinda like the idea of job security, where I lock down the whole network so no one else can manage it. "Nope, you can't fire me, I'm the only one with the passwords."

    I've had to do cleanups after those a few times though. No one knew the passwords to a bunch of networking equipment in the datacenters, as well as quite a few servers. Nothing makes me warmer and fuzzier than sitting in a datacenter booting into single user mode to change passwords. It's always nice to tell the bosses "Don't panic, you'll see a lot of machines going down for a few minutes each. I'll bring 'em all back up."

    It's so much easier to manage the equipment when you have access to all of it. :)

Re:It's The Law! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117172)

Except if you had done that in this particular case you would of been rebuilding the entire network from the ground up. Terry Childs deleted the startup-config on most of the network equipment so that the only copy was in running-config. He kept the configuration of every device in an encrypted drive on his laptop. If a network device was restarted or power cycled, he would log into the device and copy over the running-config.

that is the high security mode that is used some t (2, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117218)

that is the high security mode that is used some times and they did not use this he just turned off the password recovery forcing you to do a full reset to get back in.

Re:that is the high security mode that is used som (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117780)

We don't know what state each device was in. He did have some systems setup with no, or minimal, boot config. Others had recovery disabled. Rebooting them is asking for trouble.

Re:that is the high security mode that is used som (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118468)

    If I remembered it right, he left the routers with the config just in memory (like running-config on a Cisco). I'd guess the startup config was enough to bring it online, but not enough for it to do it's job. Sounds like a pain in the ass though, if someone were to accidentally unplug a cable at the datacenter. Not only do they have to wait for it to boot back up, but they also have to wait for him to send up the working configuration.

    Ya, it'd be a job of getting into machines and cleaning up, but it's not like it's an impossible job. It wouldn't be a job I'd want, but I'm sure there was someone there who knew enough about the network to make educated guesses at the correct configuration.

Re:that is the high security mode that is used som (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118844)

Some were, some weren't. He learned about "no service password-recovery" and thought that was sufficient to keep people from messing with the device and so saved the config. But not all devices support that. And we don't know which are setup like that and which aren't. I'm not rolling those dice.

Re:It's The Law! (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118560)

    Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, even if that includes getting a few good people to figure out what the design should be. I'm not saying it would be me, even though I have done more than my fair share of figuring out other people's mistakes. A half dozen CCIEs (assuming it's all Cisco equipment) could likely do it in a day, if they had enough information to work with. If there were no network maps, and they only knew the sites where the equipment resided, it could likely take longer.

Re:It's The Law! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118966)

A half dozen CCIEs (assuming it's all Cisco equipment) could likely do it in a day

LMAO. Half a dozen Cisco engineers could rebuild the City of San Francisco's entire network infrastructure configuration in a day? Show me these guys, please.

if they had enough information to work with

Well, shit. It's a good thing that the City had all that information, and that the only copy of network maps and configs wasn't stored on Childs laptop... oh, wait... Shit.

See the above? That's what makes Child a first degree asshat who is largely deserving of the treatment he is receiving. He ain't no sysadmin martyr.

Re:It's The Law! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33119192)

    Show me the network map and details, and I can give a slightly better estimate. But since this is all hypothetical it really doesn't matter.

    It's not impossible to rebuild the map. I'm assuming we're talking about a bunch of LANs with WANs connecting them. Just follow the trails. I believe I said it would take longer without all the details. That would mean following every circuit and finding out where each end terminated. Some beancounter has the bills and knows every circuit they're paying for. Knowing the circuits and termination points, you'd have to check out each physical location and see what's there.

    I didn't say that would be a quick process. It would actually be quite time consuming. But I'd suspect someone at various sites would know at least some details of their setup. I seriously doubt he was running the whole network, and running around the city managing all the desktop machines.

    I have been dropped into situations where folks on site have no clue, so you spend time wandering around back rooms and looking in closets to find something resembling a demarc. A few times when I've been sent off looking for things, I'm not even on the right floor. Sure the office is on the 12th floor and the telco says it's in a particular place on the first floor. A few years ago the moved from a suite on the 4th floor, and before that they were in a very small suite on the 7th floor. Voila, smartjack on the 7th floor. Now you have to wonder which rocket scientist extended it from the ground floor, to the 7th floor, to the 4th floor, then to another wiring closet across the floor, and then up to the 12th floor.

    Another place I did work for had a wiring closet at the end of their building (building 4 of 10). It sure looked like where the telco ended. Nope, they ended in a locked closet in various buildings on the site arbitrarily. The line I was trying to find went from the closet building 1, to the closet in building 3, to the closet in building 3, and then finally to the customers suite. Even the guy who was responsible for the cabling confessed that he was thrown into the mess, and was trying to make sense of it as customers needed it. Most customers don't care where the wires go, they only care that if they plug into a jack it works.

    It's not an impossible job. It just wouldn't necessarily be very fun.

Re:It's The Law! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118936)

Except if you had done that in this particular case you would of been rebuilding the entire network from the ground up. Terry Childs deleted the startup-config on most of the network equipment so that the only copy was in running-config. He kept the configuration of every device in an encrypted drive on his laptop. If a network device was restarted or power cycled, he would log into the device and copy over the running-config.

...AND then tried to flee the state with $10,000 and the configs.

But no, everyone rushes to defend him, insisting he did what any competent sysadmin would do.

Re:It's The Law! (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117740)

... until you reboot the web server and don't have the password to the ssl cert. That's the beginning of a Bad Day(tm).

Re:It's The Law! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118520)

    Well, it's not all that bad. If you're the admin for the company, you can likely buy new certs. It's not like they're all that expensive any more.

    Most folks I've known fix their cert so they don't have to type the password every time they reboot the machine. A server should come up into a good running configuration when powered on. It shouldn't require any sort of manual intervention. One place I was at didn't, and it caused all kinds of problems. Just imagine the loving phone calls that were coming in, when the machine was found hung at 6pm, and the guy with the password left at 5:30pm. The next shift reboots the hung machine, the web server didn't come up, and plenty of rather strong language flew around.

Re:It's The Law! (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118954)

I've worked in places where the cert was left encrypted. An unencrypted cert can be stolen by anyone who gets into the server. For most people, that's not the end of the world. But if it happens to your bank or paypal, then it's a very different mess.

(Those people should be using SSL hardware where the key is protected. But that stuff isn't cheap, or easy to manage.)

Re:It's The Law! (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116914)

Yeah, seems like this should have been a civil case, but I don't know if lives or people's welfare were on the line because of this jerk. If that's the case, then a-slammer he should go!

Re:It's The Law! (1, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117606)

please explain how this crosses the line into criminal conduct. From his perspective, it would be criminally negligent to turn over the passwords to a bunch of unknowns on a concall.

Re:It's The Law! (4, Insightful)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118310)

'From his perspective' is the key phrase here.
Judging the competence of his superiors is outside the scope of his job responsibilities.
Denying the company access to their legal property, i.e. the passwords, is considered theft.

"His perspective" isn't a license for anything (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118616)

He was a front-lines IT grunt. His job was to do whatever his superiors told him to do, barring any requests to do something illegal. If his superiors order him to open the admin interface to the outside world, and change the password to "password"... other than requesting that the demand be put in e-mail to protect his name, he is supposed to do so.

Exactly what criminal law would not allow him to turn passwords over to his management on request, no matter how unqualified they are? None.

Holding your employer's equipment hostage pending an audience with the mayor? Yeah, that was, and is, criminal. It's called extortion.

SirWired

Re:It's The Law! (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117008)

If being a dickhead is a crime, I'm in serious trouble. Can someone please provide a list of countries that won't extradite to the US? Soonish, please.

Re:It's The Law! (2, Insightful)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117610)

Why not just not be a dickhead? Lots of people manage it every day.

Re:It's The Law! (2, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118444)

Withhold a password, go to jail.

Not really sure that justice was served here but the guy really was a first-rate dickhead.

I like the prescedent.

Cops: "We confiscated your external HDD, only it's encrypted. Give us your password."

SuspecT: "No."

Cops: "Passwords are property and thus you have to, as it's part of the HDD."

Suspect: "I claim 5th amendment rights."

Cops: "We have a Warrant for the seizure and search of this HDD, and you're blocking us from doing it. Therefore, you can rot in jail until you give up and give us what we want."

The Court "then ran out of time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33116766)

Huh? Is the Judge an hourly worker? Did (s)he have to punch a timecard? What am I missing here?

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (2, Interesting)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116812)

When you've got more pressing legal matters to preside over other than some self-righteous dickhead with a God-complex locking a whole city out of their own network, you will quickly find that you're running out of time.

The legal system is overloaded enough as-is. Just because His Holiness the Network Administrator doesn't want to go to federal PMITA prison is no good reason to cram more stupid shit into our crowded legal system.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116908)

"self-righteous dickhead with a God-complex "

please explain why the mayor of the city was the [one of the] only person he was willing to password/key to?

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116946)

What does the mayor have to do with Childs and his God complex? Your question makes no sense.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118080)

Because the Mayor decided to turn up at the prison with his publicity advisor instead of anyone else employed by the city. The bullshit floating around here insists that Terry Childs had the power to choose who he would see instead of the reality of him being locked in a cell until somebody came to visit.
A petty press event designed to make the Mayor look like a "peacemaker" was yet another nail in his coffin.
The only lesson we get from this case is that it's better to quietly resign like one of Terry Child's co-workers did instead of arguing with weasels.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116824)

Schedules in some courts can be pretty inflexible when transport of a prisoner is involved.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33116826)

The judge isn't the only person in a courtroom, and the other people are generally hourly workers, yes.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117452)

Even salaried workers like to leave at 5:00 PM. I mean, let's say you aren't paid hourly, would you like to pull an all-nighter for something that can wait until next week?

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (4, Insightful)

droopus (33472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117502)

Happens all the time. There are very fixed time allowances on appeals. For example, if you plead or are found guilty in federal court, you have ten days to file an appeal, or at least preserve your right to appeal. If you do not file within that ten days [2fedlaw.com] (even if you tell your lawyer to do so and he does not) you effectively waive your right to appeal. You may collaterally attack [alanellis.com] but collateral attacks are civil actions and you are no longer entitled to counsel.

Think that's unfair? There are cases that would blow your minds. How about a death row inmate [cornell.edu] who filed his pro se [wikipedia.org] appeal late, and was denied appeal of his death sentence. He finally got heard in the US Supreme Court but Scalia and Thomas dissented, saying "too late, too bad, so sad.."

Time limit injustice is way too common, (and tolling [wikipedia.org] is not often granted) but this injustice is not often discussed, because as I often say, citizens in the US know NOTHING about the system that can suck them in at a moment's notice.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117830)

you effectively waive your right to appeal.

If you can't re-assert it at any time, it's not a right. (The conclusion, from the information that you give, is that you therefore don't really have a right to appeal.)

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (1)

droopus (33472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118038)

you effectively waive your right to appeal.

If you can't re-assert it at any time, it's not a right. (The conclusion, from the information that you give, is that you therefore don't really have a right to appeal.)

You raise a very interesting point, with which I heartily agree. The US justice system is neither fair nor equitable. Here [cornell.edu] is Scalia's dissent in Holland where he quites statutes and time limits, and as the final arbiter of the law, gets to decide what "rights" we have or not.

Re:The Court "then ran out of time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118834)

How about a death row inmate who filed his pro se appeal late, and was denied appeal of his death sentence. He finally got heard in the US Supreme Court but Scalia and Thomas dissented, saying "too late, too bad, so sad.."

As you're well aware, Holland v Florida was a 7-2 ruling in favor of the defendant. That is the same margin as Roe v Wade which is still here 37 years later despite massive opposition to it. Just because two judges dissented doesn't mean the whole justice system is broken.

Miscarriage of Justice (0, Troll)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116806)

Guy does his job even AFTER he's fired and he goes to prison for it? Ugh.

Sure he had a god-complex, but then again he designed the system from the ground up and was tasked with making it secure. I'd say he went above and beyond the call of duty. This is a notice to network admins that your bosses don't want security or good workers. They want "Yes!" men.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (4, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33116942)

"He does his job AFTER he's fired?" HUH?!?!

When you're fired, your job is OVER. Your right to exercise control over the City's stuff is DONE.

Terry Childs is a stupid, neurotic fool. But there's no indication that he's a thief or a scumbag. He's been punished way more than enough by now. I hope the judge gives him credit for time served and ends this.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (2, Interesting)

dougmc (70836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117048)

"He does his job AFTER he's fired?" HUH?!?!

When you're fired, your job is OVER.

... then you are no longer under any obligation to provide passwords or anything else related to your previous job whatsoever.

You can't have it both ways. Was his job OVER or not?

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (2, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117098)

Said passwords were company property he was holding on to.

You're suggesting thoughts are property? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117306)

Dangerous ground indeed. And I suppose you have a MiB flashy thing to erase his knowledge of the network too? After all that is company property...?

Re:You're suggesting thoughts are property? (1)

AnttiV (1805624) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117554)

Indeed. Most, he should've been under an NDA not to disclose those passwords to third parties but considering knowledge gained while working "property of the company" is very, very dangerous road to go on. Just think. You work for the FBI/CIA/KGB/SUPO and you quit, or are fired. All you know is "company property"? Do they shoot you?

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117832)

The passwords MIGHT be company property.

But someone who doesn't work for you has no obligation to do recovery work for you to get you back into possession of property, on your behalf.

I suppose you would think if he used biometric access controls, that his fingerprints and possibly his fingers became company property.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (2, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118014)

When terminated, he has to rescind said property.
Biometric systems would simply need to be reconfigured on the last day of employment.

Refusal to do so is criminal.

It's no different than being told to "clean our your desk by Tuesday", and then locking the keys to your desk inside the desk.

He is criminally at fault and he is liable to pay to fix it. The fact that he was given the option to fix it himself (relinquish the passwords) has no legal bearing. He was actually given a break by his employees (as he would have been financially broken if he had been forced to cover the costs of having it "fixed" by a third party).

Let's try a car analogy.
You take your car into the dealer to have it serviced.
You don't like the work they do because it's taking to long, they're increasing the estimate, etc. and you decide to take the car somewhere else.
You go to pick up your car and the dealership thinks you're a jerk.
They lock the keys in the car and tell you to fuck off.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

ncohafmuta (577957) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118442)

in your analogy I assume you actually own the car, i.e. have the title.
I wonder if you leased it, if the dealer is under the same obligation, since they own the car. Granted, you might be able to sue them for breach of contract, depending on the wording of said contract.
Similarly if you had a loan with the bank for the car, would the dealer be legally required to only release the keys to the bank?

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117108)

His job wasn't over at first. He was told that he was being reassigned and should hand over the password. After he refused to do that he was told to create new administrator accounts for the people taking over. It was only after refusing to do that and trying to leave the state that he was arrested and lost his job.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33119292)

He was told that he was being reassigned and should hand over the password to someone who did not have authorization to have it.

FTFY.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (5, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117280)

Sorry, but that's retarded. It's like saying you don't have to return a company laptop when you're fired if they forget to take it from your office before they throw you out of the building.

Just because your job is over doesn't mean you are allowed to hold on to things that do not belong to you. These aren't his passwords and it's not his network. It never was, despite what he obviously thinks in his little mind, but it certainly isn't anymore.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117508)

No, it's like saying you don't have to spend your own time documenting everything you did while there. They asked him to work after they fired him, then arrested him for not working for free after being fired. Writing down information is work. Returning a laptop to someone that shows up and asks for it isn't work.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117938)

They asked him to work after they fired him, then arrested him for not working for free after being fired.

No, they didn't. He was arrested because:
1) He refused to either provide passwords or create new accounts for the people taking over after he had been told he was being reassigned.
2) He hadn't submitted his passwords to a central repository, as required by the policies.
3) Had set up the equipment in such a way that recovery wouldn't be easy, like configuration files only being kept in RAM.
4) Tried to leave the state.

At that point he hadn't been fired yet. He had been told that he was being reassigned and had been put on leave after he refused to cooperate.

Childs had plenty of opportunity to get out of this. While it's certainly debatable whether or not he had malicious intent, I can't see how after the trial ended and all that information came out people still believe he was completely right or was put into a Catch-22 like situation that got him arrested, like you seem to believe.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33119394)

He was arrested because:
1) He refused to either provide passwords or create new accounts for the people taking over after he had been told he was being reassigned.

The people requesting the passwords be turned over were not authorized to have them, as per the rules.

2) He hadn't submitted his passwords to a central repository, as required by the policies.

Cite?

3) Had set up the equipment in such a way that recovery wouldn't be easy, like configuration files only being kept in RAM.

It's called Security. Hackers can't get the password from the config file if there's no config file left around. From http://www.cio.com.au/article/255165/sorting_facts_terry_childs_case/?pp=3&fp=&pf=1&fpid= [cio.com.au] :
"Common practices portrayed as nefarious.
The documents filed by the city in opposition to Childs' bail reduction contained many vague references and claims of nefarious actions. But to those with experience in network administration, these activities seem like common practice.
For example, the documents portrayed the fact that Childs had configured some number of routers to disable password recovery as a subversive action, when it's common to use that function to secure routers and switches that cannot be physically secured."

4) Tried to leave the state.

OH MY GOD! THE BASTARD! TRYING TO TRAVEL FREELY IN AMERICA! HANG THE S.O.B.!!!

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (2, Insightful)

Cramer (69040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118032)

They asked him to work after they fired him...

Nope. He was arrested for failing to return City property -- namely the password(s), but in searching his house, he still had other City property. (the facts are far more complicated than we'll ever know.) Had he simply turned over the password(s) (in person, in writing) upon termination, there'd be no story. Instead, he was an ass and refused to give the password(s) to any of his "idiot" (former) coworkers/bosses. To be fair, his boss(es) do share some of the blame for letting things get like this to begin with.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118478)

Nope. He was arrested for failing to return City property -- namely the password(s),

If he had them written on paper that belonged to the city, they yes. But if he just has them in his mind (or even written on paper owned by him) then they are not city property. To claim some knowledge learned by an employee while on the clock is "property" and must be extracted at the expense of the former employee is to assert slavery is legal.

I don't care who was or wasn't an ass. I care whether you are required by law to work for free after being fired, and whether you are required to submit knowledge learned on the job to the former employee at your time and expense.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

Cramer (69040) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118926)

You are completely, 100%, WRONG. Passwords are not simply "knowledge"; they are virtual keys. And since he heald the only key, it is not unreasonable for him to provide it. Writing down a password is not work. By that definition, the paperwork one signs in the process of termination is "work"; cleaning out your desk is "work"; pushing an elevator button is "work".

I strongly advise you talk to your lawyer before clinging to such nonsense and ending up in prison along side Childs.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33119044)

they are virtual keys.

How do you return them, then? You can't. You can share the information that is the virtual key, but they are all still nothing other than information.

And since he heald the only key, it is not unreasonable for him to provide it.

Irrelevant. Whether it's "reasonable" or "unreasonable" for him to do so is unrelated to whether he should be forced by law to do so. I guess that's the issue here. People think asses should go to jail for being an ass. "He got what he deserved." That's why all the obscenity cases are trialed against the most horrible, so that people push for a bad application of the law for a precedent, rather than letting that one guy go and adjusting the law after.

Writing down a password is not work.

Then what is it? It may be trivial work, but it is work none the less. It's creating documentation. I've made lots of documentation in my time, and my bosses and me both considered it work. So, what do you consider the creation of documentation to be?

By that definition, the paperwork one signs in the process of termination is "work"; cleaning out your desk is "work"; pushing an elevator button is "work".

Yes, No, and No. The process of termination is still part of the work. You aren't terminated until that's done, and it's work until the last signature. Cleaning out your desk isn't work. You can walk away without guys with guns running after you and holding you against your will. At worst, they'll take the cleaning of your office out of your last pay check. And pressing the elevator button isn't in any way required as part of the job duties (assuming you aren't an elevator operator) and is not related to any useful output by you for the company.

That you can't understand this shows you've chosen "sides" in this case and you are manipulating reality to fit your preferences. When you employer calls you up and says "I want this done and on my desk in the morning" it is work. When your employer calls you up and says "have a good weekend" going to the beach that weekend isn't work. Everyone else on the planet gets it but you. They demanded work after he was fired, and he was arrested for not doing the work under the terms they asserted. I don't care how much of a paranoid ass he is. I'm only concerned that after this case is done, there will be a clear precedent that failing to work for free after being fired can get you thrown in jail.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117928)

Sorry, but that's retarded. It's like saying you don't have to return a company laptop when you're fired if they forget to take it from your office before they throw you out of the building.

Well, you can't keep the laptop, but that's because it is actually a possession that belongs to the person who purchased it, and it's not part of your body like your brain and facts in your brain are.

You won't be legally required to come to their office, and scan your thumb with the laptop to unlock it, or allow your finger to be removed for their use, if you had a biometric lock on the laptop.

If the laptop was passworded and protected with TrueCrypt, you don't have to go through the extra effort of informing the former employer of all the passwords and providing all decryption keys when you return it, unless you signed an agreement that you would do so.

You don't have an obligation to take the laptop and transport it back to your employer's office, if they had authorized you to leave it at home when you were employed; you can call and tell them to come and pick it up, and you can turn it over to law enforcement as abandoned property if they fail to come pick up their property after notification.

If the laptop was broken, even if you accidentally broke it or mistreated it when you were employed, repair will be their responsibility, unless there is an agreement to the contrary

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117976)

You are correct, just like company equipment, he shouldn't use the passwords after leaving a job. Is that really what the case was about?

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (5, Insightful)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117392)

In a black and white world maybe.

But both you and OP are being silly.

When your job is over that does not mean that legal obligations end.

I suppose my boss could invite me out for lunch, fire me, and then keep my car, which is parked on company property and accessible via a locked gate with a keycard. My keycard would no longer work, and he'd be under no obligation to do anything for me, a non-employee. Heck, my iPod in my desk drawer. Gone.

The law is rarely black and white and this case is no exception.

Child's went to lenghts to ensure that no one else had the passwords and to ensure that only HE could access the networks. Read some of the juror comments from the trial. This was not a black and white case.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117974)

I suppose my boss could invite me out for lunch, fire me, and then keep my car, which is parked on company property and accessible via a locked gate with a keycard. My keycard would no longer work, and he'd be under no obligation to do anything for me, a non-employee. Heck, my iPod in my desk drawer. Gone.

He absolutely could do all these things, and none of them would be criminal.

You could have to go write legal demand letters, and possibly to court to take civil action for getting an order to compel the employer to release your property to you.

In reality he will probably come back in a few hours with police officers who will order your security folks to let them in, to allow him to confiscate his own property, and direct you to take it up as a civil matter if you object to him retrieving his iPod from the desk.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33119476)

You are still entitled to the retrieval of your property... hate to break it to you. They are not entitled to free labor. If they wanted him to write the password down they needed to have that in a policy somewhere / job description / clearly laid backup plans in the event of death / job loss / change etc.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (2, Informative)

Ceseuron (944486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118972)

... then you are no longer under any obligation to provide passwords or anything else related to your previous job whatsoever.

You can't have it both ways. Was his job OVER or not?

Your assessment is incorrect. You're implying a second option where none exists. Unless the terms of hiring Terry Childs consisted of a complete transfer of ownership of the entire network from the City of San Francisco to Terry Childs himself, he had zero right to withhold any account credentials, both during his employment tenure and after his job was terminated. He also had no right to go through their network and booby trap the systems so only he could gain administrative access to them, rendering the entire system useless to anyone who might be filling his position in the future.

I work in IT for a mid-sized business involved in healthcare. Security is my top priority as it relates to our network and infrastructure and I stringently control who has access to what. However, if the person who signs my paycheck comes to me and informs me of a shift in my responsibilities away from the network or is terminating my position and demands that I hand over security credentials so the person coming in after me can do the job, I'll hand it over. I'll ask politely to be given a written request to cover my own ass before turning any information over, a reasonable request that any employer would probably willingly fulfill, be they government or not. But I don't have the right to go out of my way to sabotage the infrastructure to prevent future IT administrators from doing their job, even if I'm being terminated.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117122)

Actually he was a thief. The report indicated he had harvested hundreds of passwords for various city employees. They were found on his home equipment.

The guy was an scumbag, and made the entire industry look bad.

Most people use home equipment for work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117420)

Firstly, unless you work in Military or classified networks, I can pretty much guarantee that every IT person uses their home equipment to perform remote admin. Secondly he was a network admin, he's bound to have a few TCP dumps or copies of DBs lying around. Thirdly, every bit of information spouted by non IT-literate managers and spokesmen, has gone through several layers to get to them, so unless it's a tech publication with an inside source take it with a pinch of salt. Finally if he'd been hacking into other city employee's accounts they would have charged him with that.

Re:Most people use home equipment for work (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118000)

You mean the list of VPN passwords?

Network admins are supposed to have and keep those. If they forget them, or can't find them, that means they cannot set the VPN concentrator back up if it should die an untimely death.

VPN group passwords are quite important. And having to change them causes a big mess for all the VPN users of the network, since every single vpn client using lost credentials will have to be manually reconfigured..

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117154)

Stupid and neurotic... Well there you go.. diminished capacity... Worked for Dan White. He got away with murder

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117318)

The city (or more specifically, the department he served in) should have had a plan to prevent this from occurring. We was terminated for insubordination (for not turning over the passwords or creating the new accounts), at that point, he was essentially "dead" to his employers and it should have been handled as if he had died while still employed. Would they have brought criminal charges against a dead man if no one knew the passwords? Of course not.

Terry Childs may be an asshole, but last time I checked, that wasn't a crime.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118990)

Terry Childs may be an asshole, but last time I checked, that wasn't a crime.

No, but denial of service is. And he did that.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (2, Informative)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117482)

>Terry Childs is a stupid, neurotic fool. But there's no indication that he's a thief or a scumbag. He's been punished way more than enough by now. I hope the judge gives him credit for time served and ends this.

He probably could have cut a deal for time served, if he wanted to at any time. However, he has now seriously pissed off the judge, the prosecutors, and probably the folks writing the pre-sentencing probation report. Not a good percentage play.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117792)

When you're fired, your job is OVER. Your right to exercise control over the City's stuff is DONE.

And so is your obligation to do any work.

Writing down or telling people lists of passwords is work.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118234)

Your job may be over but you are still bound by the NDA you signed and if said NDA states "Tho shall not give out the password to those not authorized to have it." and your contract said only the Mayor is authorized to ask for the password your kind of stuck.

That, or something like it, was what I heard was the case with Childs. Whether it is accurate I don't know, and I don't care. I lost any real interest in this case long ago.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33119484)

He's been punished way more than enough by now. I hope the judge gives him credit for time served and ends this.

It's not that simple:

Jackson ruled Friday that under a new California law that went into effect this year, Childs would receive fewer jail credits because he has prior felony convictions for robbery and burglary. Judge Delays Sentencing For SF City Tech Worker [cbs5.com]

No matter how old it is, a felony conviction tends to stick like glue. It surprises me a little that Childs is being cut any slack at all.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33116950)

Of course they want Yes men. Anything else is a Hollywood fairy tale. To be successful in real life, always say Yes, and stab the boss in the back when you're sure you won't get caught. This is how fortunes are made.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33116962)

You're full of shit. Nothing in his job description gave him permission to not cooperate with his supervisors in performance of his job.

And doing a job after b

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117722)

as long as he's going to be held accountable for his supervisor's behavior concerning those passwords (ie his boss fucks shit up), then yes, it did. It has to.. You can't hold someone accountable for something he has no power to control...in this case, his boss behavior.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117560)

>Guy does his job even AFTER he's fired and he goes to prison for it? Ugh.

If I fire my network administrator, and he tries to do anything to or with my network after that, he is a criminal, and hell yes he deserves to go to jail. I want his keys, his ID badge, his company laptop, cell phone, etc., and every password to everything; all of which will be changed immediately. If that isn't SOP where you work, you have problems.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (3, Interesting)

deek (22697) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117854)

This is a notice to network admins that your bosses don't want security or good workers. They want "Yes!" men.

They also want workers that will give access to authorised personnel. Terry didn't do that. Withholding his password is fine, but he also refused to give admin access to people he _knew_ were authorised for it.

I once had a co-worker that disabled admin rights for me (and some others) to the network switches and routers at work. He wanted to lock it down just to people that maintained it (his justification), although I learnt that he had given access to his clique, which included people that were certainly not responsible for network maintenance. Anyway, this prevented me from debugging issues that were handed to me to solve. I tried dealing with him directly, but he was frustratingly obstinate, dismissing out of hand any argument that I gave for my access. I eventually had to ask management to talk with him. Access was grudgingly given back to me.

Thankfully, the guy has now left the company. He caused me enough grief. If he had been like Terry Childs though, it would have been worse.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (4, Informative)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117934)

Guy does his job even AFTER he's fired and he goes to prison for it? Ugh.

Nope. Wasn't his job anymore. Before he was fired he was reassigned to a different job. He was still employed by his job responsibilities no longer included maintaining that equipment. He was introduced to the new person that had that job and asked to give over the passwords. He didn't. It turned out he had booby trapped all the equipment so that only he could make any changes or repair the equipment if it lost power. Still, they were working with him to turn over the passwords to the new guy which he refused to do. The city was setting up another meeting to discuss this even when he decided to withdraw lots of cash and make signals that he was fleeing the country. That's when fed agents decided to arrest him. That's when he was fired. Only then did he say he would turn over the passwords to the mayor when he previously refused to turn them over to anybody because he was playing the "You can't fire me because I have all the passwords." routine a little to hardball. This was not a case of a worried system admin, it was a case of extortion. Perhaps a case of extortion because he is a paranoid nutcase rather than money, but still extortion.

Still, all of that is IIRC. Go back and look at the replies by one of the jurors here on /. who answered everybody's questions about the case and their decision and decide for yourself.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (1, Troll)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118322)

Wow, how did the above poster manage to get so many things wrong?

There were many articles on this case, I suggest reading one of them and ignore the extra "spin" (eg. "He was introduced to the new person that had that job" WTF did that come from?) put on by the above poster for some unknown reason. Painandgreed - why are you going on about things being "booby trapped" when the reality was just settings in memory, why lie about such things? Is there some sysadmin you hate and you want to project an idealised monster based on Terry Childs on them?
This was a case full of many WTF from start to finish - for example the Mayor didn't turn up becuase he was the only one that could solve the problem, he turned up because it made him look like some kind of diplomatic hero. Nobody can find the quote "I'll only give it to the Mayor" becuase I'll bet he never said it, but we all fell for such bullshit becuase we grew up watching Batman on TV.
I'm hoping some decent journalist shovels through all this bullshit and writes a decent book on the case, it's likely to be interesting.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0, Redundant)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118422)

Wow, how did the above poster manage to get so many things wrong?

I read /.

Re:Miscarriage of Justice (0, Troll)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33119126)

Some of that stuff definitely came from somewhere else. I'd say your own imagination.
So who is that person that was given Terry Child's job before he left, when did he meet him and what was the name of that imaginary person's imaginary dog?
Stirring up trouble may be fun but it's quite childish.

Passive Aggressive DoS (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117206)

A new kind of security threat? Needs a shrink to solve?

For those who haven't been watching... (4, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117272)

A couple summations:

Let's see:

Terry Childs:

  • God complex and delusions of grandeur
  • Anger management
  • Obsessive/possessive
  • Paranoid
  • General creepy behavior

City of San Fran

  • Poorly managed IT by definition when only one person knows the passwords to your routers
  • Budget cuts reduced IT to impossible support levels

So I recommend that Terry Childs be put to death just for being a jerk and to make sure non of us ever have to work with him again/interact with him again. Then we fire the City of San Fran CIO and forbid him from ever working in IT again.

(bangs gavel)

Re:For those who haven't been watching... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117528)

Given that they apparently were really out to get him, doesn't that mean he was rational, not paranoid?

Re:For those who haven't been watching... (1)

Cerium (948827) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118372)

Even so, that still puts him at -4 or -5 on the bad-thing-o-meter.

Tosh.0 GAY host or not gay? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117302)

The host seems alota gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but come on. I saw him do a weird number with some wacked out chick, and I don't usually so much gay in a non-gay guy.

SysAdminDay (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33117338)

Was sentencing delayed because Friday was System Administrator Appreciation Day?

Not really news (2, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33117904)

These kinds of (defense) motions are pretty much rote - and for that reason rarely granted. Don't make too much of the fact that they weren't granted.

This should be expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118028)

If you work for the government, expect to be tried and jailed
If you don't like those consequences don't work for the government
This applies to all government jobs

My integrity is worth breaking the rules, but... (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118086)

My integrity is worth breaking the rules, but I know that if I rebel against the system in power, it's not likely that they'll publicly appreciate it.

Fight for civil rights or stand up against what you believe to be a corrupt and incompetent system that will only put public information in danger-- either way, you're going to get hurt.

A good person knows this, does it anyway, and just hopes that history can tell the difference between criminal and person with a good cause.

bytebytch got 10-to-20 (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 4 years ago | (#33118766)

So the byte-bytch got 10-20 ... with time off for not programming in BASIC. It's a lesson all arrogant byte-boyz could learn.

dont perform IT for US companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118820)

let them outsource

Other article (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33118898)

I RTFA, and I didn't really know what the back story was... I found this article to have a better background of the case:

http://www.cio.com.au/article/255165/sorting_facts_terry_childs_case/?fp=&fpid=&pf=1 [cio.com.au]

The hit by the bus scenario or wants job security comes to my mind in all of this foolishness...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>