Admin who kept SF network passwords found guilty

Terry Childs now faces a maximum of five years in prison

Terry Childs, the San Francisco network administrator who refused to hand over passwords to his boss, was found guilty of one felony count of denying computer services, a jury found Tuesday.

Childs now faces a maximum of five years in prison after jurors determined that he had violated California's computer crime law by refusing to hand over passwords to the city's FiberWAN to Richard Robinson, the chief operations officer for the city's Department of Technology and Information Services (DTIS).

Although the city's network continued to run, San Francisco went 12 days without administrative control of the FiberWAN, and that constituted a denial of service -- illegal under state law.

Childs' lawyers had argued that he was a buttoned-down, security-obsessed administrator who believed he was simply doing his job.

Jurors didn't buy that argument. "Being able to administer the FiberWAN services themselves is a service," said Jason Chilton, one of the jurors, in an interview after the verdict was announced.

San Francisco spent about US$900,000 cleaning up the mess caused by Childs' actions, according to Assistant District Attorney Conrad del Rosario.

Sentencing is set for June 14, he said.

Childs could be released immediately or face another year in prison before parole, depending on his sentence. He has been held in San Francisco county jail since his July 12 arrest on a $5 million bond.

Valerio Romano, one of Childs' attorneys, says his client intends to appeal the decision.

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