Bad News for Sysadmins Everywhere

On several occasions in my career I have been asked to do things that were against my better judgment. It is going to happen to you, and I suggest you put some thought into how you will handle it. I feel sorry for Terry Childs, because it would seem to me that he hadn’t thought things through before he dug his heels in with his managers and wound up not only in jail, but now convicted of a crime just for doing his job. Worse for everyone, a horrific legal precedent has now been set.

Terry Childs Found Guilty In SF Computer Tampering Trial
Posted: 3:17 pm PDT April 27, 2010SAN FRANCISCO — A jury has found Terry Childs, a former San Francisco Department of Technology employee accused of withholding the passwords to the city's main computer network in 2008, guilty of computer tampering.The verdict was read in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday afternoon.After deliberating for nearly three days, the jury found Childs guilty of one felony count of computer tampering, and found true the allegation that the losses from the crime exceeded $200,000.The trial spanned four months. Childs now faces a maximum of five years in prison at his sentencing.

via Terry Childs Found Guilty In SF Computer Tampering Trial – News Story – KTVU San Francisco.

The first time an executive commanded me to bring a system on-line that was in the middle of maintenance I had a decision to make. Cave in, stand firm, or convince him that I knew what I was doing. Well, there was actually a fourth option: Attach responsibility to the act of Authority. I told the CIO of a multi-national corporation that I would be perfectly willing to carry out his orders, if he would just put them in writing and sign it. After a perplexed look on his face, he decided that the tech team had the situation in hand and left us to do our jobs. I’m betting Terry Childs wishes he had thought of that option.

I use Amazon affiliate links in some of my posts. I think it is fair to say my writing is not influenced by the $0.40 I earned in 2022.