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    I thought the whole thing was pretty cool right up until I realized that the system was used to steal identities. That took some of the fun out of it.

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      I’d bear in mind that while necessary, forcing the inmates offline really wallops their ability to restart their lives on release. I don’t expect them to yap about how they used their little rig any time soon, but I suspect I’d sympathize with at least some of it.

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        I’d sympathize with it if it were being used to help them establish themselves upon release, not as a conduit for identity theft.

        IMO in anyone’s morality, stealing someone’s identity so you can take a giant crap all over it is just bad.

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          Identity theft is a term invented by banks to blame their customers for their losses.

          These guys are stealing from banks, not individuals (also bad, but not the same thing). It sucks that the corps have convinced the mainstream to let them pass the buck (and cost) for their poor security processes onto their customers.

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            OK so let’s put the term ‘identity theft’ aside for a moment. Having your credit card number get stolen SUCKS. There’s that moment of panic where you see the charges on your statement, and the resultant mess you, the innocent schmoe, have to clean up.

            Also, people seem to want to view “banks” as a single entity. They’re not. Sure, there are plenty of big banks that are chock full of morally questionable practices, but there are also thousands of small community banks around the country, and when THOSE cards get stolen, actual people get hurt.

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        Same here. Felons gonna be felons I guess.

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          Bear in mind that these people have no access to basic goods - AFAIK the food, medicine and toiletries in the US prison system are not even third-world standard - and no access to earn an income.

          Not sure I’d behave that differently in the situation.

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            You won’t get any argument from me about prison conditions being terrible in spots, but victimizing innocent people because they can’t get creature comforts seems beyond the pale to me.

            On the whole they put themselves there by choosing to commit a crime. I am NOT saying “they deserve what they get” but I’m also not going to sanction them victimizing people either.

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        The article wasn’t clear on whether the computers were in the crawlspace powered on (e.g., used for BitTorrent) or whether they were stored there and used intermittently as terminals. I wonder how frequently the inmates had access to the ceiling? That they were detected by “Exceed[ing] a daily internet usage threshold.” suggest the answer to be ‘at least a bit of awhile.’

        For a bunch of, well, literal scrappers, this is impressive. I’d guess there are going to be disciplinary hearings, but the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction gives a nods to the hack value of the whole operation:

        We appreciate the time the Inspector General’s office has taken to conduct these investigations and we have already taken steps to address some areas of concern. We will thoroughly review the reports and take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again. It is of critical importance that we provide necessary safeguards in regards to the use of technology while still providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming.

        You might think the job market is rough, but imagine trying to employ <strike>inmates</strike> people who will actually build computers.

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          Or you could employ people who would build computers who were never convicted of a felony.

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            How about those whom, whilst paying their debt to society, learned to program by “participating in meaningful and rehabilitative programming?”

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              I’m quite sure that computers work the same whether assembled by a felon or a saint.

              (Setting aside the fact that felonies don’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong, or that you’re still a bad person, etc.)

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            The Office of the Ohio Inspector General also found that MCI staffers were also at fault. First for failing to supervise inmates, and second for failure to force employees to change passwords every 90 days. [taken from different article]

            Well, they should have totally been supervised. Also, having non-secure switch physically available to inmates is pretty bad idea. But blaming someone for not forcing password changes is quite sad.

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              I guess this guy got a job in security as soon as he is out, if he can.