Mitnick computer hearing set for Monday

Summary:Kevin Mitnick has been behind bars for more than three years, with no access to a computer.But that may change Monday, when a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on whether America's most famous hacker will be able to use a laptop computer to prepare his defense.

Kevin Mitnick has been behind bars for more than three years, with no access to a computer.

But that may change Monday, when a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on whether America's most famous hacker will be able to use a laptop computer to prepare his defense.





Should Kevin Mitnick be given access to a computer?




Mitnick, currently being held without bail at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, is due in U.S. District Court at 1:30 p.m. PT

He is awaiting trial on 25 federal counts of allegedly stealing millions of dollars' worth of software and access codes from companies including Motorola Inc. (MOT), Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW), NEC (NIPNY), and Novell Inc. (NOVL) A trial date has been tentatively set for September.

Monday's hearing won't be on those issues, but rather the ancillary question of whether a person suspected of being a notorious hacker should be given access to a computer -- even one not connected to a network.



Should Kevin Mitnick be granted access to a computer to prepare for his own defense? Add your comments below.





Computer security expert Tsutomo Shimomura arrested Mitnick in February 1995 in Raleigh, N.C., following a cross-country manhunt. Mitnick pled guilty last June to using 15 stolen numbers to dial into computer databases.

U.S. District Judge Mariana Pfaelzer sentenced him to 22 months in prison, adding, "I think more is in order, but this is what the law expressly describes. So that's what I'm going to give him."

Pfaelzer made it clear that Mitnick was not to have access to computers in prison.

Prosecutors say Mitnick could compromise security at the jail if allowed to use a personal computer.

Mitnick's attorney, Donald Randolph, said his client poses no risk with an isolated computer, and needs the laptop to review evidence against him, which includes computer files, phone and credit card numbers, and computer codes, many of them only in electronic form.

But prosecutors have told Pfaelzer that he could compromise security at the jail if he were allowed to use a personal computer -- even without a modem connecting it to the outside world.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schindler urged the judge, "Security interests are particularly compelling in this case given Mitnick's history of criminal conduct involving computers."

Topics: Laptops, PCs

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