Judge refuses to rule on Mitnick's probation status

Catch-22: Probation officer had asked for guidance


US District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer has refused to step between Kevin Mitnick and his probation officer, who has denied the legendary phreaker's request to take a job writing a column for "Contentville," an e-zine scheduled for rollout next month.

Mitnick is forbidden to use mobile phones or computers, or work in a computing-related field as a condition of his release. His probation officer, Larry Hawley, nixed the job even though Mitnick says he would willingly write his columns on a typewriter, assuming he can borrow one from a museum.

According to court documents filed by Mitnick's lawyer, Officer Hawley appears willing to re-visit the job offer, but said he would "appreciate the filing of an application in order to clarify the court's intentions."

Mitnick lawyer Sherman Ellison said he had been given to understand that the probation office would not object to Mitnick's "working in the capacity of a technology journalist, commentator, media spokesman, information security consultant or the like if the court had no objection."

"Hawley essentially commented that the broad, undefined language in the Judgment and Probation/Commitment Order regarding acting as a 'consultant or advisor to individuals or groups engaged in any computer related activity' would seem to prevent Mr. Mitnick from speaking and/or communicating to such entities about computer security and information/computer technology," the document states.

But the judge has declined to give any clarification of her intentions, saying that Mitnick should instead submit additional details of the job offer to Hawley for further consideration. The judge did ask the probation officer to discuss the issue again with Mitnick's lawyers.

"I'm not interested in hacking any more," Mitnick told the court. "I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons. I'm just trying to turn myself around."

But the judge was unmoved. "We've had a terrible, terrible time with this defendant," she said. "And [Officer Hawley] has a right to be concerned about [Mitnick's] travel. We couldn't find Mr. Mitnick for a very long time."

It is unclear whether Pfaelzer meant to encourage the probation office to use their own judgement in the matter, or whether she was hoping that withholding guidance would put a chill on their further consideration of it. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

    Prosecution seems to be first of its kind in America

    A Tesla driver has seemingly become the first person in the US to be charged with vehicular manslaughter for a deadly crash in which the vehicle's Autopilot mode was engaged.

    According to the cops, the driver exited a highway in his Tesla Model S, ran a red light, and smashed into a Honda Civic at an intersection in Gardena, Los Angeles County, in late 2019. A man and woman in the second car were killed. The Tesla driver and a passenger survived and were taken to hospital.

    Prosecutors in California charged Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, in October last year though details of the case are only just emerging, according to AP on Tuesday. Riad, a limousine service driver, is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and is free on bail after pleading not guilty.

    Continue reading
  • AMD returns to smartphone graphics with new Samsung chip for your pocket computer

    We're back in black

    AMD's GPU technology is returning to mobile handsets with Samsung's Exynos 2200 system-on-chip, which was announced on Tuesday.

    The Exynos 2200 processor, fabricated using a 4nm process, has Armv9 CPU cores and the oddly named Xclipse GPU, which is an adaptation of AMD's RDNA 2 mainstream GPU architecture.

    AMD was in the handheld GPU market until 2009, when it sold the Imageon GPU and handheld business for $65m to Qualcomm, which turned the tech into the Adreno GPU for its Snapdragon family. AMD's Imageon processors were used in devices from Motorola, Panasonic, Palm and others making Windows Mobile handsets.

    Continue reading
  • Big shock: Guy who fled political violence and became rich in tech now struggles to care about political violence

    'I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,' billionaire VC admits

    Billionaire tech investor and ex-Facebook senior executive Chamath Palihapitiya was publicly blasted after he said nobody really cares about the reported human rights abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China.

    The blunt comments were made during the latest episode of All-In, a podcast in which Palihapitiya chats to investors and entrepreneurs Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg about technology.

    The group were debating the Biden administration’s response to what's said to be China's crackdown of Uyghur Muslims when Palihapitiya interrupted and said: “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? ... I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about … yes, it is below my line.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022