[RC5] Criminal Charges Settled In Distributed-Computing Case

Aaron W. Swenson aswenson at frontiernet.net
Mon Jan 21 13:06:13 EST 2002


Also, D.net doesn't use bandwidth 24/7, just for a minute to upload and 
download work units.  You can't even tell that d.net is using the line!!!

At 01:27 AM 8/26/2001 +0200, you wrote:

>On Friday 18 January 2002 11:42, you wrote:
>
>I don't know where those bozo's get their bandwidth but if I were them I'd
>find a cheaper provider.... 59c a second for bandwidth? geez.... I can
>consume as much as I want a month long for like 45$ ?! (512kbit down 64up)
>
> > >http://www.newsbytes.com/news/02/173751.html
> > >
> > >By Steven Bonisteel, Newsbytes
> > >DECATUR, GEORGIA, U.S.A.,
> > >17 Jan 2002, 5:05 PM CST
> > >
> > >A computer technician at Georgia-run college who found himself facing
> > >criminal charges after installing software for a volunteer
> > >distributed-computing effort will face probation instead of prison.
> > >
> > >David McOwen, once a systems administrator at DeKalb Technical
> > >College, faces a year of probation and a $2,100 fine for connecting a
> > >number of DeKalb computers to Distributed.net so that the spare
> > >computing cycles could assist in a communal code-breaking challenge.
> > >
> > >But McOwen's supporters, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation
> > >(EFF), said today that an agreement reached with state prosecutors was
> > >far better than the worst-case scenario: years in prison and hundreds
> > >of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.
> > >
> > >"David never should have been prosecuted in the first place, but we're
> > >glad that the state decided to stop," said Lee Tien, a senior staff
> > >attorney at the EFF. "He very likely could have won if the case had
> > >gone to trial, but trials cost money and you never know what will
> > >happen."
> > >
> > >Tien said McOwen, who was to face a criminal trial later this month,
> > >will also have to perform 80 hours of community service "unrelated to
> > >computers or technology." However McOwen will not end up with a felony
> > >or misdemeanor record under Georgia's First Offender Act.
> > >
> > >The criminal charges stunned many participants in
> > >distributed-computing efforts, who frequently are also denizens of
> > >university or college computing departments.
> > >
> > >In early January 2000, when the San Diego Supercomputer Center of the
> > >University of California was issuing press releases about its
> > >number-crunching prowess via Distributed.net in an RC5-64
> > >code-breaking challenge, DeKalb was suspending McOwen for
> > >participating in the same event.
> > >
> > >A suspension wasn't all McOwen faced. This spring, long after he had
> > >resigned from DeKalb in the wake of the suspension, McOwen learned
> > >that he was being investigated by the state attorney general's office
> > >as a result of his Distributed.net participation. This fall, he was
> > >officially charged one count of computer theft and seven counts of
> > >computer trespassing.
> > >
> > >Tien in a prepared statement said that the dispute centered on a on
> > >whether McOwen had fair notice that the distributed-computing software
> > >was prohibited at DeKalb.
> > >
> > >"From what I can tell, the state would have had a hard time proving
> > >beyond a reasonable doubt that David knew he wasn't authorized to
> > >install the software," Tien said. "I can't help but feel that this was
> > >a face-saving deal for the state."
> > >
> > >Originally, the state had calculated that McOwen had drained hundreds
> > >of thousands of dollars worth of DeKalb computing time since
> > >installing the software early in 1999, arriving at its figure by
> > >calculating that the software sapped 59 cents worth of bandwidth each
> > >second.
> > >
> > >A pro-McOwen site is at http://www.freemcowen.com
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