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Losing His Religion: Adrian Lamo Interview

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the that's-me-in-the-spotlight dept.

The Courts 208

digidave writes "Six months after the sit-down, TechFocus.org has published their interview with renowned hacker Adrian Lamo. Done before his arrest, TechFocus kept the interview secret so as not to influence the outcome of his trial. It remains his only interview since being arrested."

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First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817049)

First Post!

Only interview? (5, Informative)

Chris Parrinello (1505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817065)

Except for this one [publicradio.org] he did for NPR's Marketplace that aired Wednesday.

Re:Only interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817194)

What, do you expect "editor" michael to do things like verify facts? Surely that falls outside the realm of his "editor" title.

Ancient burial looks like human and pet cat (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817257)

About 7,500 years before Egyptians, a surprising find in Cyprus

By Marsha Walton
CNN
Friday, April 9, 2004 Posted: 10:46 AM EDT (1446 GMT)


(CNN) -- Archeologists say they have evidence that a bond between cats and humans was forged thousands of years before previously thought.

An elaborate Neolithic burial site uncovered in the Shillourokambos settlement on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus reveals that the friendship between cats and humans may go back 9,500 years. Prior to the discovery, Egyptians were thought to be the first to keep cats as pets, around 2,000 to 1,900 BC.

Scientists, who published their findings Thursday in the journal Science, say a skeleton of a young cat was found just a few inches from the remains of a human, buried in a similar fashion.

"We don't know if the human was a male or a female, but we do know that he or she had a special status in society," said Jean -Denis Vigne, vice president of the Scientific Council of the Museum of Natural History in Paris.

The cat was the Felis silvestris species, a wildcat, a bit larger than modern domestic cats. It was about eight months old when it died.

Researchers found many items not often found in other graves, including flints, a small green stone axe, and two dozen shells. The cat skeleton was just 15 inches from the human skeleton. Vigne said the animal skeleton showed no sign of having been butchered, and its proximity to the human suggested some respect or reverence. It is possible, he said, that the cat was killed to accompany the human in the afterworld.

Vigne said there is no way to know if this cat was a pet. But he said the burial find in Cyprus indicates that the relationship between cats and people involved spiritual links.

Stone and clay figurines of cats have also been found at archeological sites in Syria, Turkey, and Israel from the Neolithic period, the latest period of the Stone Age.

Archeologists examining early bonds between cats and humans usually describe the benefits to the pet owners as rodent control. The cats would benefit from easier access to food, the researchers said.

But in the case found in the Cyprus dig, the cat would likely have been brought to the island from a mainland location, some 35 to 50 miles away.

Vigne said other animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs, were probably also transported from the mainland around the same time.

"This is an important site for the whole of western Asia," said Vigne. "Because it has told us this civilization crossed the sea to this island both for culture and to domesticate animals."

Until this Cypriot excavation, the Egyptians were long considered the earliest civilization to both tame cats and to show a great reverence toward them. The Egyptian goddess Bastet often appears with a human body and a feline head.

Along the Nile River, cats were viewed as protectors of the home, keeping the household free of pests. The Egyptians even bred a new species of cat 3,900 to 4,000 years ago.

The Cyprus site was first excavated in 1992. Vigne expects about two more years of study there, which will probably mean the French scientist will put off owning a pet cat for a bit longer.

"Perhaps when I retire," he laughed.

Re:Only interview? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817361)

Umm, there were about half a dozen articles covering Lamo on securityfocus, and 22 articles about him overall... none were an actual "interview" per se, but Kevin Poulsen quoted him several times after talking with him on the phone.

And you didn't have to wait six months to see that... use their search engine to find all 22 articles [securityfocus.com] ...

Re:Only interview? (3, Informative)

SteelWheel (769945) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817479)

He also did an interview with "Off the Wall", the hacker(?) radio show from the 2600 people, which airs on WBAI in New York.

Re:Only interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817648)

Actually, Marketplace is distributed by PRI (Public Radio International), not NPR. Unless that was a typo and you meant MPR (Minnesota Public Radio), which produces Marketplace.

It Figures the Times would do him in (5, Funny)

Yonkeltron (720465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817074)

It Figures the Times would do him in. He prob tried to read a story without registering.

Re:It Figures the Times would do him in (1)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817244)

If he actually read the Times, then I think he's been punished enough.

Re:It Figures the Times would do him in (4, Funny)

bfg9000 (726447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817281)

No, he registered, but he apparently "lied" about his address on the form, saying he was "homeless". Lying on those forms is a crime, you know.

Re:It Figures the Times would do him in (2, Informative)

robslimo (587196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817431)

Actually, he might have been all right with the Times if he hadn't run up a $300,000 bill using their access to Lexis-Nexis.

Re:It Figures the Times would do him in (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817916)

Please. I don't condone any of his actions, but he didn't exactly "run up a $300K bill" for the Times. I'm sure the Times has something like unlimited access to Lexis-Nexis for a fixed price. They just decided to "charge" him with full "retail" price.

It'd be like a 7-11 saying they sell bags of ice for $2, but individual ice cubes for $100 a piece, then accusing someone of Grand Larceny for stealing two bags of ice "worth over $80,000."

It's joke.

Re:It Figures the Times would do him in (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817529)

the Times publishes a bunch of made up stories, about life and death stuff, and considers an apology to be good enough for us.

Lamo tells truth and they want to send him to jail.

Luckily, the Times gets more irrelevant every day.

Religion isn't all he's going to lose... (4, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817083)

...cute young guy like that isn't ever going to want for cigarettes while he's in the joint.

Re:Religion isn't all he's going to lose... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817208)

yep, he is going to get so raped.

Adrians first day in Prison (1, Funny)

andy666 (666062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817777)

Adrian is led to his cell, which contains a large burly, hairy cellmate. Adrian is really worried about this guy, but they start talking and he thinks "hey maybe this will be OK", until..

Cellmate: So, we gonna play house, you want to be the husband or the wife ?
Adrian: Errr...the husband.
Cellmate: Well OK then, get over her and suck your wife's dick!!!

before arrest (5, Insightful)

AyeFly (242460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817087)

wait, this doesnt make sense "Done before his arrest, TechFocus kept the interview secret so as not to influence the outcome of his trial. It remains his only interview since being arrested." How can it be both before his arrest, ... and then be the only interview after being arrested??

Re:before arrest (3, Insightful)

VivianC (206472) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817144)

Um... You are expecting the "editors" to edit? You must be new here.

No, I'm New Here (2, Funny)

New Here (701369) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817234)

No, I'm New Here

parent poster is WEIRD!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817566)

Take a look at the posting history [slashdot.org]

Someone's troll and other's idol?

Re:before arrest (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817178)

I think you're being too literal. It must mean it's the only interview PUBLISHED since his arrest.

Re:before arrest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817266)

I think you're being too literal. It must mean it's the only interview PUBLISHED since his arrest.

I think you're being too not-reading of the article. It clearly states that the interview took place after his arrest.

Re:before arrest (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817445)

When the comment was posted, the article wasn't available.

michael posted it... duh! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817256)

michael posted it, and everyone knows the M in michael stands for moron.

I personally don't understand why Taco and the rest don't fire his sorry ass.

Cheese! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817090)

No one wanted to interview me. Funny, cause I've beaten all the good systems.

Re:Cheese! (4, Insightful)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817167)

Well, they'll never be able to track you via your slashdot account.

Seriously, there's a rather supernatural school of thought that says we'll never hear interviews from the "best hackers," because they'll never get caught. I don't believe in superhackers -- but you have to wonder, with these guys catching interview with Lamo right before his latch, if an ego is REALLY the best thing for any criminal to possess. I mean, you need respect and renown to make it in a world without structure, but it seems having the blackhats known your name makes it easier for it to fall in the laps of the whitehats.

Re:Cheese! (1)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817856)

They exist. And no, they're not going to talk to anyone except the guys that they catch infiltrating their honeypots like me. :)

Or this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817105)

And don't forget the one he did on Off the Hook on Wensday nite.

Slashdotted (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817126)

Losing His Religion: Techfocus Interviews Hacker
Adrian Lamo
Posted by Bill Royle on April 08, 2004
The companies he broke into reads like a Forbes ranking list. Yahoo! Excite@Home. MCI WorldCom. Microsoft. SBC Ameritech. Cingular.

He got away with it by notifying those companies of the weaknesses, and in some cases helped fix them, for free. Then he set his sights on the New York Times. They were less forgiving. Today, April 8th, Adrian Lamo will be sentenced - having plead guilty.

I first worked to get an interview with Adrian Lamo in July, 2003. Having compromised the networks of some of the most influential companies in the world was not incredibly unusual, but the manner in which it was done was intriguing. Adrian Lamo has been termed the "homeless hacker," the "helpful hacker" and numerous other nicknames - because instead of disappearing into the ether, he would make the company aware of the flaw he had exploited, and in some cases would advise them on how to resolve it. Based on that approach, Lamo was fortunate to have dealt with companies that didn't choose to press charges.

Then, during an interview with SecurityFocus (not affiliated with Techfocus), he admitted to having broken into the NY Times network. The interviewer contacted the New York Times in a request for comment. Shortly thereafter, the FBI started an investigation. He was ultimately arrested in September for the penetration of the New York Times network, and for using their resources. Today he has pleaded guilty to breaking into their network, and for conducting unauthorized searches on Lexis/Nexis - all on the Grey Lady's tab. You can read the original criminal complaint here.

Lamo had another distinction from many hackers - he did so while homeless. While his family was willing to house him, he set off on his own, traveling from place to place via Greyhound. Occasionally he slept on the couches of people he knew in different cities, at other times he would sleep in abandoned buildings or anywhere feasible. All the while, he traversed networks using a battered laptop with a wireless network card.

Adrian Lamo is most assuredly unique. A month after his arrest, I received an email from him asking how the weather was. A bit puzzled, I contacted a mutual acquaintance to verify that it was Adrian. Indeed it was, so we met the next weekend near his home to discuss his background, and the serious charges he faced.

This was no ordinary interview. Not only had Lamo not given any interviews since the arrest, but the FBI had been exerting tremendous pressure on journalists that had spoken with Lamo, demanding that they turn over all notes and correspondence with him. It was only after a strong outcry from the journalistic community and their attorneys that the FBI grudgingly relaxed their demands, but there was little solace in that. As such, there was nothing written down - just a digital voice recorder with a limited battery. Upon the conclusion of the interview, the recording was transcribed to the PC, then sent to an offshore server outside of my control, in the event that an order was made to surrender it. The digital recording was destroyed.

We hope you enjoy the interview.

Update: Sentencing has been delayed until June.

When did you get started getting interested in security online?

"That'd depend on how you define started, I guess. My first exposure to computers was my Dad's Commodore 64 when I was six or seven, and as you may have read somewhere, I was interested in making things work differently than the way they were intended - loading, then inputting it and using the list command to see all of the code contained within it to see what the hell I was supposed to do with this blind corner that didn't seem to go anywhere."

What kind of games?

"Text-based adventure, like Zork-style."

What moved you to move from disk-based security to a larger scale type of interest?

"To me there's never been that much of a differentiation, in the sense that what I do is less about a particular methodology of technology that's applicable to some technology but not applicable to others. And more about seeing things differently - seeing things that people see everyday, but seeing them in a way that they never saw, that people who created them never intended them to be seen. To see them, to see what is around them and make them more as the sum of their parts and in doing so cause them to operate in a way that was never intended, expected or even thought possible."

Have you always done this type of thing alone, or do you prefer doing it in a team of other people?

"I've always worked alone pretty much. I will occasionally give pointers, but I very much believe that nobody should look at me as an example to be followed - in the sense that if there's anything that I've done, it's... occupied a space in our world that previously was not occupied. And if there's anything that I can say to anybody that is considering starting out on their own, it's to do something that nobody before them has done. And as such, if I was to really try to unduly influence anybody's path, even by working with them, I'd think that I'd be being untrue to the nature of what I do."

There was a question on the site from someone asking if there were any "schools" or any places to become a "pro hacker." Do you have any suggestions as to where people could go or what you suggest for people who were interested in being an enthusiast?

"The mean streets of Washington D.C. on two dollars a day. Surviving on that - that's a hack."

What was your favorite city in terms of your travels?

"I don't think I have one particular favorite. I have strong affinities to DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco and probably Sacramento, as well as Pittsburgh."

You've been referred to as the "homeless hacker," or "helpful hacker." What started you on the road? Did you have to leave your home against your will - did your parents kick you out or was it something you chose to do?

"No, my parents have always been very good to me. They've always been there for me, no matter what, and they're really great people. When I was seventeen or so, they moved to Sacramento."

Did you like her? Was she a good mom?

"Yeah, she's a great mom. How many moms would stand on the doorstep of a home and tell the FBI "thou shalt not pass," essentially?"

She had said that she wished that you would do something something that everyone would see as positive. Is there any sort of discontent between your family and you when it comes to this field, or is it something you're moving past now?

"The family's in some hard financial straits right now. In many ways I think they don't see what I do as I see it, and certainly not be involved in that respect. They, I believe, view it (computing) more as a hobby and don't really understand, and it seemed to be much closer to being about religion for me."

A religion?

"Yes."

You were saying that your Dad stays up late at night, or wakes up in the middle of the night, that sort of thing. What kinds of things does he worry about, from what you can see?

"Everything. The mortgage, my brother, the possibility of jailtime for me. Whether or not my attorney can competently represent me."

Does the prospect of jail concern you, or is it something you think you can handle?

"I'd be a fool to say that it didn't concern me, and I don't believe that we don't really know what we can handle until such a time that we're faced with it. It's easy to lead armchair lives and engage in armchair theorization, and I think it's really best to leave that sort of thing to SecurityFocus and Slashdot message boards. I won't know if I can handle it until I actually have to."

"I will say that the one day I spent in lockup could have been a very traumatic experience for me. I was in severe pain from an aggravated tooth infection, and the US Marshals wouldn't let me take my meds - they wouldn't let me take pain medication or antibiotics. And I was incarcerated with four or five other inmates who were there from jail awaiting court appearances. The general impression was that they were the sorts of people that, you know, you could have called central casting saying, "We need inmates for a prison movie," and that's what you'd have got. It would have been easy to be a scared white boy in the corner who didn't talk to anybody, but I found that I'd be skipping a chance to be engaged, to talk about their problems that brought them there - about what they wanted out of their lives, about who they were. They really all warmed up and opened up. They were all really good people, and like many things, that day was what I made of it."

"I certainly don't want to spend an extended amount of time in prison. I find that faith in knowing that these things do happen for a reason, that I'm in the right place at the right time - it sees me through many moments that otherwise be dark and traumatic. And in that vein I've found that... some may be slightly more right than others in that the things that I allowed to happen to me, rather than the things that I bring about... tend to be the most valuable ones for me and those around me.

Everything that we do is often colored by our own desires and beliefs about what is right for us, and what situations we should find ourselves in."

So you think that sometimes the things that we wish for aren't necessarily the things that are meant for us?

"I think that the vast majority of the time the things that we want for ourselves, that we try to bring about for ourselves - certainly if they happen, they have their place. They're brought into the right place for the right function in the universe, just like anything else. But many times, the things that we've wished for ourselves, once they happen they don't turn out to be all that hot - whereas the things that have happened to me while I was making other plans... are the ones that have been ultimately the most valuable to me."

In terms of your life and everything you've done on the road - you had friends in every town pretty much. How do you arrange things like that? Do people just come to you and offer their place, or was it kind of (by) word-of-mouth... from one friend to another, "Hey, he's going to be here?"

"Frequently it's word-of-mouth. I'll let somebody know I'll be in town and I'll start getting phone calls. But more often it's really just showing up somewhere and going on walkabout, and there'll be a rightness about people when I meet them. And sometimes I won't necessarily see the direct benefit, but I'll know that intangibly the benefit is there.

One time I was sitting on the steps in front of an abandoned Western Union Telegraph building, and - it's not like a Western Union Money Transfer, it's Western Union Telegraph, back when that's what Western Union was. I'm sitting there, I'm using 802.11, and this kid walked up to me and he asks me point-blank if I can give him ten dollars to go and buy heroin with - because it's been some time since he's had any, and he's starting to feel withdrawal. I had very little money at that point. I had to live off thirty bucks or so, but I talked with him for a long time. There was a very significant sense of rightness around my meeting with him, and although I can't strictly point at anything since that has been colored by that or any particular way that that's impacted my life, I know with a great deal of certainty that that was the right place at the right time for me. I ended up giving him five bucks. Which is more than I've ever spared when somebody asked me for money to buy cigarettes, incidentally."

One of the things we've talked about is getting in a mind-frame or mindset when you're getting to work, when you're trying to make something conventional work in an unconventional way. What types of things would you do to get you in that frame of mind, or would it just come to you when you'd be working on something?

"To an extent it sort of works in the reverse from that for me, in that I rarely sit down with a goal in mind and set about bringing it into reality. It's more often that I'll sit down with no clear goal in mind, and my attention will be caught by something that seems to be the right thing at the right time. I'll follow it, and it will take me somewhere... different."

The recorder ran out of space after this question, so the remainder of the interview was done off-record for context.

Where Adrian Lamo chooses to go following the conclusion of his sentence is up to him. Following his arrest, Lamo returned to school and began studying journalism as a staff writer for the American River Current. As of April 7th, his voicemail at the paper remained active.

We appreciate his time, and wish him the best as he rebuilds his life.

Re:Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817300)

Thank gawd someone posted it here.

Otherwise the interview wouldn't have been viewable to the RIAA.

Re:Slashdotted (0, Offtopic)

bluephone (200451) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817346)

So, how long will it take for someone to call this anonymou spost a karma whore? I've got a pool running...

Re:Slashdotted (1, Funny)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817499)

Why would an AC want to collect karma?
void assign_karma (user poster)
{
if (poster.id == ID_ANONYMOUS)
give_karma (poster, 0);
else
give_karma (poster, 1);
return;
}

your sig (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817843)

Your sig reads as follows: Sick of gentoo zealots throwing plugs in completely unrelated topics? Me too!

All I gots to say is that Gentoo is teh bizomb ya'll. Yo, props to Dick Cheney

Re:Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817486)

The recorder ran out of space after this question, so the remainder of the interview was done off-record for context.

Ah, god bless modern technology. :)

and 6 minutes after posting the interview (1)

T SPIGOT (719476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817128)

They got /.'ed and their server went down.

Re:and 6 minutes after posting the interview (1)

Hanzo (65066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817235)

Hey, that's gotta be some kind of record. Since /. only seems to kill servers running a poorly designed page (poorly designed in the sense that it is very resource intensive, lots of scripts for fruity UI and the like) and this site *should* be hosted on some decent hardware... I officially award them the

"Good Server, Bad Code, Evil /.'ers" award.

Re:and 6 minutes after posting the interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817328)

6 minutes is a not record at all. try something like one minute, dumbass.

Lamo (5, Informative)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817133)

The interview linked to in the story is not really the best I have read. There was one done in Wired a while back that had a lot more about his exploits. A particular favorite among the stories he told was one where he and some friends were exploring a Gypsum factory while high on methanphetamines. The police came and just when they were about to get arrested Lamo hears a cat and tells the officers he had come in to rescue it. Sure enough they find the cat and Lamo and his friends are not arrested.

Re:Lamo (0, Troll)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817718)

I agree with you. This article was a shitload of blabla and foofoo, nothing to do with hacking at all. You could have interviewed any crystal-wearing hippie and gotten the exact same interview.

'I just try to make things work in a different way.' WTF does that have to do with breaching security on networks? Am I missing something here?

And it remains a secret (2, Funny)

jht (5006) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817134)

Because the server was Slashdotted so quickly. Anyone get this mirrored in the 30 seconds it stayed online?

Re:And it remains a secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817288)

Better not click that link, or next the papers will complain about the DDoS "sympathy strike" we organized in his honor... (AKA a slashdotting) ... ;)

(OT) Whatever you do, don't view the interview in. (1)

incom (570967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817138)

Konqueror! Trust me, don't, you'll get very dizzy.

Re:(OT) Whatever you do, don't view the interview (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817698)

Don't worry.. I'm not going to use some half-assed browser that doesn't even have type-ahead find.

Audio link (4, Informative)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817157)

here's [publicradio.org] (bottom of page) an interview with Lamo I heard on Marketplace a couple days ago. It's really pretty good, he also rags on the computer security industry. Not entirely justified, but he makes some valid points.

Re:Audio link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817548)

That interview pissed me off royally. Primarily for it's misuse of the term 'hacker' for what is clearly nothing more than a glorified script kiddie. Then for giving this kid more publicity than he deserves.

New /. record (2, Funny)

backtick (2376) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817158)

That was fast. I even tried to hit it before it went 'live', and it was already /.'d. *sigh*

IANAL, but... (4, Insightful)

chachob (746500) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817163)

it seems to me that unless the comanies specifically hired him as a security consultant, then he has no legal support in these matters.
However, he did not damage/alter any of the sites he hacked (excluding NYTimes, which was a minor addition to the list of "experts"). This does not help him in the courts though, because the act of breaking into the company's networks was illegal in itself.

Re:IANAL, but... (2, Insightful)

cluckshot (658931) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817407)

The United States Constitution holds that no warrant shall issue without probable cause. This means that no Arrest can take place without a Direct Connection to an Injury or the imminent liklihood of such. This NEGATES all this "Law" stuff. There has been no INJURY. For the minor addition line, That is not a material injury.

I love all the ILLEGAL stuff that goes around these days. If we followed the US Constitution such absurd thinking would be drummed out of town. There simply is no probable cause for this person's arrest.

Actually since he tends to encourage good things, there is genuine question if he is not doing a public service maritorious of a reward! I respect a Hacker who helps. I have no respect for the type who steals and damages. What he has done would be the equal to telling somebody that he found your door unlocked on your car and sent you a picture of him with the door open to prove it.

The issue of Network Security and locking data is a difficult one and most difficult for company types to get taken serously. He helps them see the need without damaging anything.

The reaction he gets from others is almost like I got when some years ago I suggested that the State where I live outlaw some farming practices that spread Mad Cow disease. The reaction was not that I was trying to help but that I was trying to hurt. Today one can see the damage of not doing what I suggested.

Enforcement of LAW without regards to the real damage and real merits of the situation is absolutely INSANE. It assumes that we must follow the law even when it is absurd to do so. I see nowhere in law or common law where we are required to do so.

Re:IANAL, but... (2, Interesting)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817657)

There has been no INJURY.

I personally consider $300k pretty injurious.

Actually since he tends to encourage good things...

Like giving an underage (said he was a "kid") herion addict $5 to help fund his habbit.

I'm not saying this guy is completely bad, or that he hasn't been helpful, but he seems to just do things, good or bad, that he feels like doing at the time. Not a problem until he starts breaking the law.

good job (1)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817172)

Bill et al,

Good job. Keep up the good work.

Hope they remove testicals so he can't reproduce (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817193)



Hope they remove his testicals so he can't reproduce. The world doesn't need his kind.

Re:Hope they remove testicals so he can't reproduc (2, Funny)

Pflipp (130638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817381)

you mean the kind that can spell testicles?

He was on Off The Hook on Wednesday (Apr 7) (5, Informative)

c4Ff3In3 4ddiC+ (661808) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817210)

If you go to 2600's website, you can get an mp3 of the last show here [2600.com] . Adrian Lamo was present and spoke about a few things. Also, check the archives, he was on the show previously.

Adrian's sentencing has been delayed (3, Informative)

nemaispuke (624303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817249)

According to this article in PC World, Adrian Lamo's sentencing has been delayed until June:

http://www.snpx.com/cgi-bin/news5.cgi?target=www.n ewsnow.co.uk/cgi/NGoto/55549714?-2622

I wonder if the the NY Times or the Feds decided to change the terms of the plea agreement at the last minute?

Fresh taste of burnt spin in the morning (3, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817258)

Done before his arrest, TechFocus kept the interview secret so as not to influence the outcome of his trial.

That's a nice bit of spin. They did it because they're a website, so in the eyes of the legal system, they're not decisively a "real" news organization, so they knew they'd get subpoenaed in a second by either prosecutors and have to turn over everything; it'd be a legal battle that would get drawn out for months given the stakes. The EFF would probably get involved, etc. A good deal of their notes etc would probably be very, very incriminating to Lamo, since hackers, like most stupid criminals, love to brag about their crimes.

So, in other words, they danced on the line of hiding criminal evidence. It would not be a stretch for them to get charged themselves. I'd be absolutely amazed if they didn't at least get subpoenaed within the next few days and the evidence used to file new charges against Lamo.

Re:Fresh taste of burnt spin in the morning (1)

pimpin apollo (664314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817393)

By "in the next few days" i think you mean to say, "back when the trial started"

There is no new evidence there ; the fbi already got their conviction and the author explains that he destroyed the originals. Also, i'm not sure of the arbitrary distinction between 'news' and 'web site'. It may be some justice department rhetoric but I'd want to see the case where a court substantially upheld a non-trivial difference between the two.

Re:Fresh taste of burnt spin in the morning (5, Informative)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817402)

There are a couple of things wrong here, which indicate that you've not read the article (and that the original poster got it a bit wrong.)

First off, we knew we'd get subpoenaed, and were ready if that happened.

Second, the notes aren't incriminating to Lamo beyond what some might find offensive regarding his personality (ie. giving someone money to help them get drugs.) If that's pretext for additional charges, we're all in trouble.

Third, none of the the questions or the answers related to his crimes or hacks. What you see in the interview is the transcription of our interview, verbatim.

Thus, under your criteria, prepare to be amazed.

You're new here, right? (3, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817758)

There are a couple of things wrong here, which indicate that you've not read the article

You're new here, right?

(and that the original poster got it a bit wrong.)

Er, um...again...you're new here, right?

Re:Fresh taste of burnt spin in the morning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817460)

RTFA. The interview doesn't say _anything_ about anything related to the trial, or other hacks, or basically anything incriminating at all. I don't know what you'd possibly charge him with based on this.

Interview text (5, Informative)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817280)

Here's the interview, folks... we've been /.'ed before, but never at this magnitude. The server op is working to get things evened out, but in the meantime here is the text:

When did you get started getting interested in security online?

"That'd depend on how you define started, I guess. My first exposure to computers was my Dad's Commodore 64 when I was six or seven, and as you may have read somewhere, I was interested in making things work differently than the way they were intended - loading, then inputting it and using the list command to see all of the code contained within it to see what the hell I was supposed to do with this blind corner that didn't seem to go anywhere."

What kind of games?

"Text-based adventure, like Zork-style."

What moved you to move from disk-based security to a larger scale type of interest?

"To me there's never been that much of a differentiation, in the sense that what I do is less about a particular methodology of technology that's applicable to some technology but not applicable to others. And more about seeing things differently - seeing things that people see everyday, but seeing them in a way that they never saw, that people who created them never intended them to be seen. To see them, to see what is around them and make them more as the sum of their parts and in doing so cause them to operate in a way that was never intended, expected or even thought possible."

Have you always done this type of thing alone, or do you prefer doing it in a team of other people?

"I've always worked alone pretty much. I will occasionally give pointers, but I very much believe that nobody should look at me as an example to be followed - in the sense that if there's anything that I've done, it's... occupied a space in our world that previously was not occupied. And if there's anything that I can say to anybody that is considering starting out on their own, it's to do something that nobody before them has done. And as such, if I was to really try to unduly influence anybody's path, even by working with them, I'd think that I'd be being untrue to the nature of what I do."

There was a question on the site from someone asking if there were any "schools" or any places to become a "pro hacker." Do you have any suggestions as to where people could go or what you suggest for people who were interested in being an enthusiast?

"The mean streets of Washington D.C. on two dollars a day. Surviving on that - that's a hack."

What was your favorite city in terms of your travels?

"I don't think I have one particular favorite. I have strong affinities to DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco and probably Sacramento, as well as Pittsburgh."

You've been referred to as the "homeless hacker," or "helpful hacker." What started you on the road? Did you have to leave your home against your will - did your parents kick you out or was it something you chose to do?

"No, my parents have always been very good to me. They've always been there for me, no matter what, and they're really great people. When I was seventeen or so, they moved to Sacramento."

Did you like her? Was she a good mom?

"Yeah, she's a great mom. How many moms would stand on the doorstep of a home and tell the FBI "thou shalt not pass," essentially?"

She had said that she wished that you would do something something that everyone would see as positive. Is there any sort of discontent between your family and you when it comes to this field, or is it something you're moving past now?

"The family's in some hard financial straits right now. In many ways I think they don't see what I do as I see it, and certainly not be involved in that respect. They, I believe, view it (computing) more as a hobby and don't really understand, and it seemed to be much closer to being about religion for me."

A religion?

"Yes."

You were saying that your Dad stays up late at night, or wakes up in the middle of the night, that sort of thing. What kinds of things does he worry about, from what you can see?

"Everything. The mortgage, my brother, the possibility of jail time for me. Whether or not my attorney can competently represent me."

Does the prospect of jail concern you, or is it something you think you can handle?

"I'd be a fool to say that it didn't concern me, and I don't believe that we don't really know what we can handle until such a time that we're faced with it. It's easy to lead armchair lives and engage in armchair theorization, and I think it's really best to leave that sort of thing to SecurityFocus and Slashdot message boards. I won't know if I can handle it until I actually have to."

"I will say that the one day I spent in lockup could have been a very traumatic experience for me. I was in severe pain from an aggravated tooth infection, and the US Marshals wouldn't let me take my meds - they wouldn't let me take pain medication or antibiotics. And I was incarcerated with four or five other inmates who were there from jail awaiting court appearances. The general impression was that they were the sorts of people that, you know, you could have called central casting saying, "We need inmates for a prison movie," and that's what you'd have got. It would have been easy to be a scared white boy in the corner who didn't talk to anybody, but I found that I'd be skipping a chance to be engaged, to talk about their problems that brought them there - about what they wanted out of their lives, about who they were. They really all warmed up and opened up. They were all really good people, and like many things, that day was what I made of it."

"I certainly don't want to spend an extended amount of time in prison. I find that faith in knowing that these things do happen for a reason, that I'm in the right place at the right time - it sees me through many moments that otherwise be dark and traumatic. And in that vein I've found that... some may be slightly more right than others in that the things that I allowed to happen to me, rather than the things that I bring about... tend to be the most valuable ones for me and those around me.

Everything that we do is often colored by our own desires and beliefs about what is right for us, and what situations we should find ourselves in."

So you think that sometimes the things that we wish for aren't necessarily the things that are meant for us?

"I think that the vast majority of the time the things that we want for ourselves, that we try to bring about for ourselves - certainly if they happen, they have their place. They're brought into the right place for the right function in the universe, just like anything else. But many times, the things that we've wished for ourselves, once they happen they don't turn out to be all that hot - whereas the things that have happened to me while I was making other plans... are the ones that have been ultimately the most valuable to me."

In terms of your life and everything you've done on the road - you had friends in every town pretty much. How do you arrange things like that? Do people just come to you and offer their place, or was it kind of (by) word-of-mouth... from one friend to another, "Hey, he's going to be here?"

"Frequently it's word-of-mouth. I'll let somebody know I'll be in town and I'll start getting phone calls. But more often it's really just showing up somewhere and going on walkabout, and there'll be a rightness about people when I meet them. And sometimes I won't necessarily see the direct benefit, but I'll know that intangibly the benefit is there.

One time I was sitting on the steps in front of an abandoned Western Union Telegraph building, and - it's not like a Western Union Money Transfer, it's Western Union Telegraph, back when that's what Western Union was. I'm sitting there, I'm using 802.11, and this kid walked up to me and he asks me point-blank if I can give him ten dollars to go and buy heroin with - because it's been some time since he's had any, and he's starting to feel withdrawal. I had very little money at that point. I had to live off thirty bucks or so, but I talked with him for a long time. There was a very significant sense of rightness around my meeting with him, and although I can't strictly point at anything since that has been colored by that or any particular way that that's impacted my life, I know with a great deal of certainty that that was the right place at the right time for me. I ended up giving him five bucks. Which is more than I've ever spared when somebody asked me for money to buy cigarettes, incidentally."

One of the things we've talked about is getting in a mind-frame or mindset when you're getting to work, when you're trying to make something conventional work in an unconventional way. What types of things would you do to get you in that frame of mind, or would it just come to you when you'd be working on something?

"To an extent it sort of works in the reverse from that for me, in that I rarely sit down with a goal in mind and set about bringing it into reality. It's more often that I'll sit down with no clear goal in mind, and my attention will be caught by something that seems to be the right thing at the right time. I'll follow it, and it will take me somewhere... different."

Re:Interview text (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817305)

it's already been posted. you redundant karma whoring asshat. it's already been posted. you redundant karma whoring asshat. it's already been posted. you redundant karma whoring asshat. it's already been posted. you redundant karma whoring asshat. it's already been posted. you redundant karma whoring asshat. it's already been posted. you redundant karma whoring asshat.

Re:Interview text (1)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817314)

It looks like the php portion of the site is up (of course, probably only until I state that it is) - here's the link:

Techfocus [techfocus.org]

Homeless script kiddie? (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817282)

I can't get to the interview, but the wired article seems to imply this guy is just a script kid. Basically it sounds like he's doing the modern day equivalant of war dialing.

He gets the press coverage because he's "homeless", but doesn't fit the alcoholic loser bum image of most homeless people. People like hearing such stories because it gives them hope that all the homeless (or more accurately, bums) might be able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Total bullshit of course, but it makes for good copy.

overrated. (5, Insightful)

dan2550 (663103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817311)

I dont mean to flame or anything, but im not to impressed by Lamo. he did some crazy things, but any lucky script kiddie could do the same. besides the fact that he was a meth addict, his "hacker skills" consist of using a web browser to snoop in unprotected directorys. In fact, he does not even know c++ or java.

Re:overrated. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817360)

i agree. i don't find his little "i talked with a heroin addict kid" interesting either. people have been in a lot more interesting city situations. fuck this idiot.

Re:overrated. (2, Insightful)

pimpin apollo (664314) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817432)

I agree. I think it's a wired article that portrays him in less than favorable terms. The spin, on both sides, of this case is remarkable. It would be more so if it wasn't so common in these kinds of cases. We should be more careful however about making these guys into martyrs. IMHO there haven't been very honest accounts of this case outside of basic facts.

or maybe the guy just rubs people the wrong way

Re:overrated. (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817637)

In fact, he does not even know c++ or java.

Well, if that's not a good enough reason to lock him up, I don't know what is. Just for that they should tack on another 5 years.

Bad Links (1)

Blitzenn (554788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817329)

The links in the article as posted do not work. The destination server appears to be offline.

Re:Bad Links (0)

Deitheres (98368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817954)

It's called being "slashdotted"
As defined by Webster:

Slashdotted: the effect of 1 million geeks querying a webserver during the same half of a second.

You must be new here ;-)

More celebrating of criminals on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817342)


If this guy really wanted to be "helpfull" maybe he would've contacted the companies in private or anonymously and explained their problems to them.

Just another nerd craving and reveling in the attention he's getting.

Why don't you put on a skirt and do a little cheer for him too?

Poor guy (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817345)

Just judging from this interview and the other things people have linked here, he comes across as a someone with mental problems but smart and relatively functional. If that's the case, hopefully he'll get some help in prison. Making him into some sort of hero isn't going to do him any good in the long run.

Also, hopefully, Roblimo's not going to line him up for one of his "Hey, everybody, let's laugh at the mental case!" interviews. Thankfully we haven't had one of those in quite a while.

Re:Poor guy (1)

cipher chort (721069) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817630)

I met him in person and talked for a few minutes, then again several times over IM. He doesn't come across as having "mental problems", just different priorities. I would draw a comparison and say he's somewhat like other very gifted, but misunderstood people, but that would probably be too grandiose.

Why not just take him at his word? He doesn't see things like other people do. That's how he describes himself, and it seems like the most accurate characterization to me.

Re:Poor guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817753)

Of course he doesn't see things like other people do, he's a meth addict. And being a script kiddie does not make someone gifted.

Re:Poor guy (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817866)

He doesn't see things like other people do

I know this is supposed to be "a good thing", but Ted Kazinski didn't "see things like other people did", and neither does anyone who's schizophrenic.

He's no Unabomber, and he's not schizo, but not "seeing things like other people do" isn't something that should be considered a universal good. Let's face it, he gets press because he's homeless. Homeless people get sympathy value in the press, especially when big corps like the NYT are pitted against them. The contrast of big rich super-corp vs. penniless homeless guy with computer is just so compelling that people eat it up. Of _course_ people are going to identify with poor, innocent homeless guy and not big NYT. People love the story of some seemingly powerless guy toppling the great powers of super-corp.

He doesn't seem like a bad guy.. my main complaint is all the people holding up some script kid like he's a hero, or genious or something. He's just a guy with a lot of time to open a lot of doornobs, so to speak. The takehome here is that you don't HAVE to be some genious to break into the NYT, you just have to try a lot.

Re:Poor guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817943)

-----
People love the story
-----
People love the story. For them the story lives on. For the main character it means a progressive life of recidivism and lost opportunity.

Oh cruel world...

+++ATHZ

Re:Poor guy (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817935)

Obviously, there's a lot of subjectivity between different and abnormal, but -- what's the best case you can make for him? That he's a socially clever, technically deficient, relatively nondestructive script kiddie and drug addict? This isn't Alan Turing or Paul Erdos, just a particularly notorious nuisance.

In any case, I don't know what his lawyer is planning on telling the judge, but obsessive-compulsive disorder or some other mental illness is going to fly a lot better in court than "different priorities" or "doesn't see things like other people do" is going to.

sentencing delayed (1)

ph43thon (619990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817359)


Well... sentencing has been delayed until June so I'm sure it was worthwhile waiting all this time to release the interview.

p

Exclusive interview? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817365)

It remains his only interview since being arrested.

Except for all the others...

http://www.securityfocus.com/news/6934
http://w ww.wired.com/wired/archive/12.04/hacker_pr .html
http://news.com.com/2100-7348_3-5135351.htm l
http://www.internetweek.com/story/showArticle.j htm l?articleID=17300322
http://www.wired.com/news/in fostructure/0,1377,618 31,00.html
http://www.2600.com/offthehook/2003/09 03.html
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/ c/a/2003/ 09/22/BUGR11R7L91.DTL
http://marketplace.publicra dio.org/shows/2004/04/0 7_mpp.html

Re:Exclusive interview? (1)

Shurhaian (743684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817707)

Whoever posted about this article didn't RTFA. It states in there that at the time of the interview, none other had been made, but others have since.

Interview (in easier to read format) (0, Redundant)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817413)

The companies he broke into reads like a Forbes ranking list. Yahoo! Excite@Home. MCI WorldCom. Microsoft. SBC Ameritech. Cingular.

He got away with it by notifying those companies of the weaknesses, and in some cases helped fix them, for free.

Then he set his sights on the New York Times. They were less forgiving. Today, April 8th, Adrian Lamo will be sentenced - having plead guilty.

I first worked to get an interview with Adrian Lamo in July, 2003. Having compromised the networks of some of the most influential companies in the world was not incredibly unusual, but the manner in which it was done was intriguing. Adrian Lamo has been termed the "homeless hacker," the "helpful hacker" and numerous other nicknames - because instead of disappearing into the ether, he would make the company aware of the flaw he had exploited, and in some cases would advise them on how to resolve it. Based on that approach, Lamo was fortunate to have dealt with companies that didn't choose to press charges.

Then, during an interview with SecurityFocus (not affiliated with Techfocus), he admitted to having broken into the NY Times network. The interviewer contacted the New York Times in a request for comment. Shortly thereafter, the FBI started an investigation. He was ultimately arrested in September for the penetration of the New York Times network, and for using their resources. Today he has pleaded guilty to breaking into their network, and for conducting unauthorized searches on Lexis/Nexis - all on the Grey Lady's tab. You can read the original criminal complaint here.

Lamo had another distinction from many hackers - he did so while homeless. While his family was willing to house him, he set off on his own, traveling from place to place via Greyhound. Occasionally he slept on the couches of people he knew in different cities, at other times he would sleep in abandoned buildings or anywhere feasible. All the while, he traversed networks using a battered laptop with a wireless network card.

Adrian Lamo is most assuredly unique. A month after his arrest, I received an email from him asking how the weather was. A bit puzzled, I contacted a mutual acquaintance to verify that it was Adrian. Indeed it was, so we met the next weekend near his home to discuss his background, and the serious charges he faced.

This was no ordinary interview. Not only had Lamo not given any interviews since the arrest, but the FBI had been exerting tremendous pressure on journalists that had spoken with Lamo, demanding that they turn over all notes and correspondence with him. It was only after a strong outcry from the journalistic community and their attorneys that the FBI grudgingly relaxed their demands, but there was little solace in that. As such, there was nothing written down - just a digital voice recorder with a limited battery. Upon the conclusion of the interview, the recording was transcribed to the PC, then sent to an offshore server outside of my control, in the event that an order was made to surrender it. The digital recording was destroyed.

We hope you enjoy the interview.

Update: Sentencing has been delayed until June.


When did you get started getting interested in security online?

"That'd depend on how you define started, I guess. My first exposure to computers was my Dad's Commodore 64 when I was six or seven, and as you may have read somewhere, I was interested in making things work differently than the way they were intended - loading, then inputting it and using the list command to see all of the code contained within it to see what the hell I was supposed to do with this blind corner that didn't seem to go anywhere."

What kind of games?

"Text-based adventure, like Zork-style."

What moved you to move from disk-based security to a larger scale type of interest?

"To me there's never been that much of a differentiation, in the sense that what I do is less about a particular methodology of technology that's applicable to some technology but not applicable to others. And more about seeing things differently - seeing things that people see everyday, but seeing them in a way that they never saw, that people who created them never intended them to be seen. To see them, to see what is around them and make them more as the sum of their parts and in doing so cause them to operate in a way that was never intended, expected or even thought possible."

Have you always done this type of thing alone, or do you prefer doing it in a team of other people?

"I've always worked alone pretty much. I will occasionally give pointers, but I very much believe that nobody should look at me as an example to be followed - in the sense that if there's anything that I've done, it's... occupied a space in our world that previously was not occupied. And if there's anything that I can say to anybody that is considering starting out on their own, it's to do something that nobody before them has done. And as such, if I was to really try to unduly influence anybody's path, even by working with them, I'd think that I'd be being untrue to the nature of what I do."

There was a question on the site from someone asking if there were any "schools" or any places to become a "pro hacker." Do you have any suggestions as to where people could go or what you suggest for people who were interested in being an enthusiast?

"The mean streets of Washington D.C. on two dollars a day. Surviving on that - that's a hack."

What was your favorite city in terms of your travels?

"I don't think I have one particular favorite. I have strong affinities to DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco and probably Sacramento, as well as Pittsburgh."

You've been referred to as the "homeless hacker," or "helpful hacker." What started you on the road? Did you have to leave your home against your will - did your parents kick you out or was it something you chose to do?

"No, my parents have always been very good to me. They've always been there for me, no matter what, and they're really great people. When I was seventeen or so, they moved to Sacramento."

Did you like her? Was she a good mom?

"Yeah, she's a great mom. How many moms would stand on the doorstep of a home and tell the FBI "thou shalt not pass," essentially?"

She had said that she wished that you would do something something that everyone would see as positive. Is there any sort of discontent between your family and you when it comes to this field, or is it something you're moving past now?

"The family's in some hard financial straits right now. In many ways I think they don't see what I do as I see it, and certainly not be involved in that respect. They, I believe, view it (computing) more as a hobby and don't really understand, and it seemed to be much closer to being about religion for me."

A religion?

"Yes."

You were saying that your Dad stays up late at night, or wakes up in the middle of the night, that sort of thing. What kinds of things does he worry about, from what you can see?

"Everything. The mortgage, my brother, the possibility of jailtime for me. Whether or not my attorney can competently represent me."

Does the prospect of jail concern you, or is it something you think you can handle?

"I'd be a fool to say that it didn't concern me, and I don't believe that we don't really know what we can handle until such a time that we're faced with it. It's easy to lead armchair lives and engage in armchair theorization, and I think it's really best to leave that sort of thing to SecurityFocus and Slashdot message boards. I won't know if I can handle it until I actually have to."

"I will say that the one day I spent in lockup could have been a very traumatic experience for me. I was in severe pain from an aggravated tooth infection, and the US Marshals wouldn't let me take my meds - they wouldn't let me take pain medication or antibiotics. And I was incarcerated with four or five other inmates who were there from jail awaiting court appearances. The general impression was that they were the sorts of people that, you know, you could have called central casting saying, "We need inmates for a prison movie," and that's what you'd have got. It would have been easy to be a scared white boy in the corner who didn't talk to anybody, but I found that I'd be skipping a chance to be engaged, to talk about their problems that brought them there - about what they wanted out of their lives, about who they were. They really all warmed up and opened up. They were all really good people, and like many things, that day was what I made of it."

"I certainly don't want to spend an extended amount of time in prison. I find that faith in knowing that these things do happen for a reason, that I'm in the right place at the right time - it sees me through many moments that otherwise be dark and traumatic. And in that vein I've found that... some may be slightly more right than others in that the things that I allowed to happen to me, rather than the things that I bring about... tend to be the most valuable ones for me and those around me.

Everything that we do is often colored by our own desires and beliefs about what is right for us, and what situations we should find ourselves in."

So you think that sometimes the things that we wish for aren't necessarily the things that are meant for us?

"I think that the vast majority of the time the things that we want for ourselves, that we try to bring about for ourselves - certainly if they happen, they have their place. They're brought into the right place for the right function in the universe, just like anything else. But many times, the things that we've wished for ourselves, once they happen they don't turn out to be all that hot - whereas the things that have happened to me while I was making other plans... are the ones that have been ultimately the most valuable to me."

In terms of your life and everything you've done on the road - you had friends in every town pretty much. How do you arrange things like that? Do people just come to you and offer their place, or was it kind of (by) word-of-mouth... from one friend to another, "Hey, he's going to be here?"

"Frequently it's word-of-mouth. I'll let somebody know I'll be in town and I'll start getting phone calls. But more often it's really just showing up somewhere and going on walkabout, and there'll be a rightness about people when I meet them. And sometimes I won't necessarily see the direct benefit, but I'll know that intangibly the benefit is there.

One time I was sitting on the steps in front of an abandoned Western Union Telegraph building, and - it's not like a Western Union Money Transfer, it's Western Union Telegraph, back when that's what Western Union was. I'm sitting there, I'm using 802.11, and this kid walked up to me and he asks me point-blank if I can give him ten dollars to go and buy heroin with - because it's been some time since he's had any, and he's starting to feel withdrawal. I had very little money at that point. I had to live off thirty bucks or so, but I talked with him for a long time. There was a very significant sense of rightness around my meeting with him, and although I can't strictly point at anything since that has been colored by that or any particular way that that's impacted my life, I know with a great deal of certainty that that was the right place at the right time for me. I ended up giving him five bucks. Which is more than I've ever spared when somebody asked me for money to buy cigarettes, incidentally."

One of the things we've talked about is getting in a mind-frame or mindset when you're getting to work, when you're trying to make something conventional work in an unconventional way. What types of things would you do to get you in that frame of mind, or would it just come to you when you'd be working on something?

"To an extent it sort of works in the reverse from that for me, in that I rarely sit down with a goal in mind and set about bringing it into reality. It's more often that I'll sit down with no clear goal in mind, and my attention will be caught by something that seems to be the right thing at the right time. I'll follow it, and it will take me somewhere... different."

The recorder ran out of space after this question, so the remainder of the interview was done off-record for context.

Where Adrian Lamo chooses to go following the conclusion of his sentence is up to him. Following his arrest, Lamo returned to school and began studying journalism as a staff writer for the American River Current. As of April 7th, his voicemail at the paper remained active.

We appreciate his time, and wish him the best as he rebuilds his life.

Favorite Quote (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817513)

I remember reading an interview with him in the SF Bay Guardian several months ago. He spoke about having to spend twenty or more minutes walking to a place where he could get internet access. He said that if everyone had to spend 20 minutes walking to get online, the Internet would be a much, much better place.

awww, not Adriana Lima (3, Funny)

zapp (201236) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817569)

Every time i hear bout this Adrian Lamo guy, I get excited thinkin its the Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima [google.com] , only to realize its just this loser :)

Re:awww, not Adriana Lima (1)

zapp (201236) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817898)

For reference, I don't really think he's a loser...

Just wanted to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817640)

Thanks for the five bucks it was a hell of trip!

Does anyone really.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817680)

Give a shit?

Seriously, this guy is just craving attention. Homeless hacker my ass. Maybe if he actually tried to make something of his life or contribute to society I could give a shit. But he has done nothing for the real 'hacker' community.. stop giving hackers a bad name and refer to him as homeless 'criminal' please.

the phrase... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817685)

..."Losing My Religion" is an old Southern saying that means 'at your wit's end' or 'at the end of your rope.

Good interview, but... (1)

Dinglenuts (691550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817739)

Good interview, but talk about spacy. That kid is way out in the ether.

Re:Good interview, but... (1)

davi_bock (582213) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817978)

Spacy people can have a lot to contribute. The way Lamo describes himself reminds me of George Fox, founder of the Quaker religion (as quoted by William James in Varieties of Religious Experience [gutenberg.net] ):

"As I was walking with several friends, I lifted up my head and saw three steeple-house spires, and they struck at my life. I asked them what place that was? They said, Lichfield. Immediately the word of the Lord came to me, that I must go thither. Being come to the house we were going to, I wished the friends to walk into the house, saying nothing to them of whither I was to go. As soon as they were gone I stept away, and went by my eye over hedge and ditch till I came within a mile of Lichfield where, in a great field, shepherds were keeping their sheep. Then was I commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes. I stood still, for it was winter: but the word of the Lord was like a fire in me. So I put off my shoes and left them with the shepherds; and the poor shepherds trembled, and were astonished. Then I walked on about a mile, and as soon as I was got within the city, the word of the Lord came to me again, saying: Cry, 'Wo to the bloody city of Lichfield!' So I went up and down the streets, crying with a loud voice, Wo to the bloody city of Lichfield! It being market day, I went into the market-place, and to and fro in the several parts of it, and made stands, crying as before, Wo to the bloody city of Lichfield! And no one laid hands on me. As I went thus crying through the streets, there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the streets, and the market-place appeared like a pool of blood. When I had declared what was upon me, and felt myself clear, I went out of the town in peace; and returning to the shepherds gave them some money, and took my shoes of them again. But the fire of the Lord was so on my feet, and all over me, that I did not matter to put on my shoes again, and was at a stand whether I should or no, till I felt freedom from the Lord so to do: then, after I had washed my feet, I put on my shoes again. After this a deep consideration came upon me, for what reason I should be sent to cry against that city, and call it The bloody city! For though the parliament had the minister one while, and the king another, and much blood had been shed in the town during the wars between them, yet there was no more than had befallen many other places. But afterwards I came to understand, that in the Emperor Diocletian's time a thousand Christians were martyr'd in Lichfield. So I was to go, without my shoes, through the channel of their blood, and into the pool of their blood in the market-place, that I might raise up the memorial of the blood of those martyrs, which had been shed above a thousand years before, and lay cold in their streets. So the sense of this blood was upon me, and I obeyed the word of the Lord."

Cracker vs Hacker (1)

Shurhaian (743684) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817776)

And the hacker community loses a little more ground with this... "Hacker" is already common public usage for what some others who wear that name [catb.org] would rather call "cracker"; how long before it crowds even farther?

Doesn't help that the two opposing groups both lay claim to the same name.

why the court case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817793)

can someone explain why the NY Times went to the bother of prosecuting and chasing this guy - seems like he just wants a job! :)

Re:why the court case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817900)

The lawyers were bored and jealous of his notoriety. They don't want to infect their yuppie elitist society by giving him a real job with real opportunity. Any wage-slave job they would offer him he'd refuse. Homeslessness negates most job applications when you get to the "present address" field.

He's already lived on $2/day. If there isn't real advancement potential (ie. not lip-service) he won't take it.

+++ATHZ

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817840)

Everything else aside, this guy is a true poet. I want his children.

Roulette wheel of society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8817841)

Money buys opportunity.

Some people get opportunity and other people get chances. People who take chances and lose get prison. People who take chances and win get a chance at another chance.

Notice that winning a chance doesn't bring money.

Lamo ran out of winning chances. It's a good thing that he sees things differently than other people. The majority of you pampered rich kids with real opportunity would've jumped off a bridge by now.

+++ATHZ

Moral of the Adrian Lamo story (5, Insightful)

twigles (756194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817883)

If you break the law shut up about it. Seriously, people bend and break laws all the time. Good, honest people. They cheat a little on their taxes, they don't stop all the way at stop signs, maybe they visit a prostitute occasionally.

No one really cares until:
1) The problem becomes extreme - instead of going 5 miles/hour over the speed limit you go 25 over.
2) You trumpet your illegalities all over the place.

If a sysadmin at the NY Times had received a discreet phone call from Lamo they would have had the option to ignore the whole situation and just quietly fix the problem. Instead they got a phone call from a reporter who was about to write a news piece on how this guy broke into their network.

I'm not saying that they were right, just that it's understandable and Lamo shot himself in the foot with his lack of discretion. I learned this same lesson in high school when I wrote a creative writing paper that was so bloody offensive that I had to have a conference with my parents, the principle, the teacher and the school psychologist. My teacher told me in private that he wouldn't have done anything but make me re-write the paper but since I showed it to a bunch of people (whose parents called in) he had no choice.

grammar idiots (-1)

james3v (594478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817948)

Done before his arrest, TechFocus kept the interview secret so as not to influence the outcome of his trial.

It remains his only interview since being arrested.

ok, nice logic, buddy.

i love justice! (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8817988)

Look guys just remember that if you 'break in' to a computer system and use its search system to the tune of $300000 (even though its not actually costing the victim much except an annoyence) your gonna go down like the bad ass terrorist-criminal you are and i dont wanna meet you in a dark ally! On the other hand if you just stick to minor crimes like assult and maybe carrying a concealed weapon, a little bit of theft and the odd speeding at 150 down the road past a school at home-time, you'll only get a little bit of a sentence you scally-wag!

So remember minor violent crimes: ok, minor computer crimes: OMG YOU DIRTY TERRORIST ANTI-AMERICAN EVIL HACKER YOUR GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL WHERE YOU BELONG AND DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT A FAIR TRIAL, OR EVEN _ANY_ TRIAL (skilarov 2001) YOU BASTERD YOUR WORSE SCUM THAN A RAPIST!!

just to clear things up: stabbing someone repeatedly: ok, DMCA violation: going to hell.
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