What I find amusing about this article, is how quickly the media forgets the truth of things. It’s irrelevant to me that Kevin Mitnick’s web site was hacked. What I do find interesting is this:
Mitnick’s name is synonymous with “notorious hacker” for many. He was caught by the FBI in 1995 after a well-publicised pursuit and spent five years behind bars for wire and computer fraud. Today he is a consultant, has written two books, and spends much of his time on the road at speaking engagements.
Mitnick didn’t just spend five years in prison. He spent four years in prison being held without bail, without a bail hearing and without trial. Four years. His case is an example of how hard our government and our society fights against the advancement of technology and against change. While Mitnick wasn’t some innocent young lad who was being framed, there is no excuse for the treatment he received while he was in jail, and there was no excuse for him to have to spend four years in jail waiting for bail to be set. That process takes weeks, not years.
What happened to Kevin Mitnick was not just a punishment to fit the crime. It was the response of a legal system that had no clue what to do with a guy who scared the crap out of a bunch of people who owned computers. It was the response of a legal system filled with technologically ignorant judiciary, legislative and enforcement branches.
This is an attitude that permeates our government, even today. The idea of a judge presiding over a case that involves technology who has never even used a computer, and has no way to grasp how the technology works frightens me. It should frighten you too. When this sort of thing happens, we end up with more people, patents and issues getting put on the back burner, spending years of their useful lives being left to rot while the court tries desperately to play catch up.
Kevin Mitnick is lucky, at least it didn’t completely fail.