Network admin Terry Childs gets 4-year sentence

He was convicted of criminal charges after refusing to hand over passwords

A City of San Francisco administrator who refused to hand over administrative passwords to the city's network was sentenced to four years in state prison Friday.

Terry Childs was convicted in April of violating California's hacking laws after he refused to hand over administrative control to the city's FiberWAN network in July 2008.

He was sentenced Friday by Judge Teri Jackson, according to Erica Derryck, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco district attorney's office.

Although the city's network continued to run during the 12 days that Childs refused to hand over control, jurors found that by denying the city the administrative control to its own network, he had violated state law.

Childs defended his actions during a long court trial, saying that he was only doing his job, and that his supervisor, Department of Technology and Information Services Chief Operations Officer Richard Robinson, was unqualified to have access to the passwords. Childs eventually handed over the passwords to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Prosecutors characterized the former network administrator as a power hungry control freak who couldn't be managed.

His attorney, Richard Shikman, disagreed, saying that Childs is a "man of great character."

"He clearly is not a hacker. The state's case is based on a theory which needs to be tested on appeal," he said via e-mail. "The case stands as a metaphor for both human folly and human achievement."

Childs has already served 755 days in county jail, Derryck said.

That time served will be applied to his sentence, so Childs could be paroled within the next four to six months. He had faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Childs may also have to cover the city's US$900,000 bill, spent on trying to regain control of its network. A hearing on financial penalties is set for August 13.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimebusiness issueslegalpersonnelterry childsprisonCity of San Francisco

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?