After enduring nearly four months of excruciatingly boring testimony (as reported by tech blogs, which have followed the trial pretty closely), a San Francisco jury now has the case of Terry Childs (free reg. req.), the architect of the city’s computer network who walked off the job in 2008 and refused to hand over network passwords to his superiors. He ultimately gave the information to Mayor Gavin Newsom, who testified at trial.
In closing arguments today, Assistant District Attorney Conrad del Rosario portrayed Childs as a manipulative, brilliant egomaniac who prioritized protecting his job over protecting the city’s network. “This was nothing more than his attempt to become an indispensable employee,” he told jurors in the courtroom of Judge Teri Jackson.
Del Rosario wants jurors to find Childs guilty of violating California Penal Code 502(c): (disrupting or denying computer services to an authorized user of a computer, computer system, or computer network). He said Childs’ actions cost the city at least hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Childs’ lawyer, San Francisco solo Richard Shikman, told jurors Childs was motivated by the hyper-vigilance that permeates the world of network security, and that the case didn’t belong in a criminal courtroom. “Clearly this case smacks of an employment dispute that went awry,” he said.
Del Rosario also argued that Childs had sought to copyright the network he built for San Francisco. The prosectuor said that fact showed Childs didn’t prioritize the city’s network security. Shikman called that argument a “total red herring,” and and that it was “highly unlikely” that a hacker would go to the copyright office to look at documents about the network.