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A year and a half after his arrest, San Francisco municipal network admin Terry Childs' hacking trial has finally begun.
"Prosecutors allege that a top engineer and administrator held San Francisco's central computer network hostage, while a defense attorney claims that the defendant was perhaps just a little overzealous in doing his job."
To recap: in July 2008, climaxing a series of disputes with his superiors, Childs refused to turn over passwords for the city networks, and was arrested on hacking charges. In jail, he finally turned over the passwords to mayor Gavin Newsome (which were swiftly disclosed by the city prosecutor accidentally). Childs remained in jail on $5 million dollars bail, as city officials maintained that he was a continuing threat to the city network, even after most of the charges against him were dismissed.
It won't surprise you to hear that Childs has filed his own lawsuit against the city.
Trying to explain Childs' extended wait for a trial, InfoWorld's Paul Venezia, who's been harshly critical of San Francisco officials, suggests:
"Maybe the city did figure out just how ridiculous the whole scenario is, but was too far down the line to pull back the reins and is continuing with the prosecution just to save face.
Nevertheless, the trial has begun opening arguments, and may soon see Mayor Newsome himself on the stand. But there's a new problem. As the San Francisco Examiner reports:
"The relentless barrage of computer jargon that saturated the trial’s opening statements in a San Francisco courtroom Monday had the judge wondering if jurors and court officials could be kept from falling asleep."