Intel 'hacker' sentence expunged

Randall Schwartz, a former Intel contractor, has been cleared of a conviction for hacking into Intel systems.
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor
A former Intel contractor has seen his conviction for hacking into the company's systems expunged, after a battle lasting more than a decade.

Randall Schwartz had his arrest and conviction for bypassing Intel security systems "set aside" at the beginning of February, legally giving him a clean slate.

Schwartz was arrested in 1993 after using a program called "Crack" to find out the passwords of various former colleagues in the Intel Supercomputer Systems Division (SSD). Schwartz had left SSD under a cloud, and told the court he decided to crack the Intel passwords to show that SSD's security had gone downhill since he had left, and to reestablish respect he said he had lost when he left SSD.

In late 1995, Schwartz was convicted of three counts of computer crime and ordered to pay Intel $68,000 restitution. His sentence also included five years of probation, 480 hours of community service and 90 days of deferred (cancelable) jail time. His legal bill exceeded $170,000 by the end of 1995.

Schwartz has argued that his conviction was unfair, as he had not intended to cause any malicious damage. After an appeal, the restitution was dropped in 1999.

In October 2006, Schwartz appealed for clemency from a Democratic governor who "had already granted a few pardons," Schwartz explained on the Yahoo Tech Groups site. At the beginning of February 2007, an Oregon court ordered an expungement of his conviction.

Schwartz said that it will take a while for him to absorb the result.

"Even a few weeks later, I'm still in a bit of shock that I've reached this point in this over-13-year journey," Schwartz said. "It probably won't fully sink in until the first time I travel freely into Canada, or fill out a contractor form that asks the question about criminal history, or apply for a Small Business Administration program that was formerly unavailable to me."

Tom Espiner reported from London for ZDNet UK.

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