Kevin Mitnick's first job denied by his probation officer.
June 30, 2000 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Kevin Mitnick's first job denied by his probation officer. Now I'm not one of the people who has any sympathy for Mitnick, but the terms of his probation are interesting: "Mitnick is forbidden to use mobile phones or computers, or work in a computing-related field". MORE
posted by Steven Den Beste (15 comments total)
CONTINUED And that got me to thinking: computers are omnipresent; just what kind of job can Mitnick get which doesn't bring him into contact with computers in some way or other?

He can't work at any store or restaurant, for instance (computerized cash registers, among other things). Maybe it's time for him to learn how to operate a back-hoe.

Evidently the probation officer is interpreting these rules quite strictly. It may take some major creativity to try to find a primitive part of our economy which hasn't yet embraced computers in any way. Any suggestions?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:44 PM on June 30, 2000

Even some farmers are using GPS systems, etc. Mechanics use computer diagnostic tools, but I think it would be cool if he started hacking cars.

Hmm, I guess landscaping or becoming a mover are some of his very options left. Will he get arrested for buying a calculator to do his taxes?
posted by john at 3:02 PM on June 30, 2000

Sounds like he'll be working that frier in McDonald's after all.

We can only wait and see what he can do with a timer and a vat of hot oil! (Mitnick == MacGuyver?)
posted by teradome at 7:10 PM on June 30, 2000

Isn't that frier controlled by a computer?
posted by alan at 7:23 PM on June 30, 2000

It is, but the computer is operated by the Green Lantern, who would under no circumstances allow a convicted cracker access to it.
posted by EngineBeak at 8:06 PM on June 30, 2000

Well, I have a lot of sympathy for Mitnick. The punishment is out of all proportion to the crime, and this is intentionally so. He is being made an example of, and it is a shame that no-one in a position to do anything seems to care. This is a travesty of justice.
posted by Paul Dunne at 3:24 AM on July 1, 2000

I find this situation extremely scary. Our American government is clearly pretty scared of all this weird technology stuff, and a guy like Mitnick who's so good at it is even scarier. What it means for the rest of us is that if we're ever in a situation that looks a little fishy to the Law, we could be screwed just by the government's ignorance.
posted by owen at 5:04 AM on July 1, 2000

You would think they'd hire Mitnick. I'm sure the CIA or the NSA would be very interested in his talents....
posted by tomcosgrave at 5:47 AM on July 1, 2000

Someone should smuggle Mitnick out of the country. There are plenty of people who'd arrange it, given his talents. Get him to an embassy, have him declare a desire for political asylum, and fly him away on the next diplomatic helicopter...
posted by holgate at 7:27 AM on July 1, 2000

Why is it technology laws are written and approved by people who have no comprehension of the tech they are seeking to control? The conditions of his parole are unreasonable. They won't even let him write on a godamn typewriter? What idiots.
posted by thirteen at 9:15 AM on July 1, 2000

My feelings are that he was already punished, he served his time in prison, and he shouldn't continue to be punished.
posted by Mark at 1:12 PM on July 1, 2000

Is Mitnick really a 'super hacker'? I mean, there's no denying he can (or could) compromise systems, but lots of people can do that. The only difference between them and Mitnick is who he decided to take on.
posted by alan at 1:56 PM on July 1, 2000

Mark, the point is that he didn't serve his entire term. "Parole" means that he's been released before the end of his sentence to try to reintegrate with society. The period of parole continues until the end of his formal sentence.

If, in fact, he had served his entire sentence in prison, there would be no parole officer and no limits on what he does. These limits are the price he pays for getting out of jail early. I think that if you were to ask him, he'd rather be out on parole then back behind bars, even with such draconian limits on his behavior.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:58 PM on July 1, 2000

> Is Mitnick really a 'super hacker'?

Most of the hacking that he did was actually just tricking people into letting him access things. He did plenty of command line hacking, but he says that the majority of it was just taking advantage of human nature.

Plus, most of the exploits he used had been known for years. The patches had also been known for years. Computer security generally sucks. The ILOVEYOU "virus" is a good example of this. People just don't think about security.

Mitnick was very good at finding the easy way into a computer. sometimes that was just convincing someone he needed access to a locked office.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:35 PM on July 1, 2000

In an odd kind of way, this reminds me of "The Man Without a Country". Maybe there's a secret documentary being filmed about Mitnick to serve as an advisory to keep young programmers in line, the same way they hoped that TMWaC would keep us all patriotic...
posted by plinth at 5:39 AM on July 3, 2000

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