Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

When information technology people go bad

Search for aliens costs school employee his job: Man used computer program that bogged down system; will cost $1M to fix

Now SETI@home is not that difficult to remove from one computer (I've run it on and off on mine)...but Brad Niesluchowski, who was an Arizona school system's information technology director, put it on 5,000 computers for nearly 10 years. While that speaks of dedication to the cause of finding alien intelligence, it also bogged down computers in the system and will cost a great deal to remove it from all of the computers. SETI@home specifically states (as I recall) that you should only put it on computers that you have a complete right to.

In many ways far worse, although somewhat more limited in scope but much darker in intent, one of the University of Kentucky's systems integration analysts for information technology, Robert N. McAllister, was charged with possession of child pornography. Officers found more than 500 images and videos of partially naked children and children involved in sexual acts on his laptop and have seized a computer owned by UK.

UK employee pleads not guilty to child porn charges

Which reminds me of this piece:

The dark side of the internet

"The darkweb"; "the deep web"; beneath "the surface web" – the metaphors alone make the internet feel suddenly more unfathomable and mysterious. Other terms circulate among those in the know: "darknet", "invisible web", "dark address space", "murky address space", "dirty address space". Not all these phrases mean the same thing. While a "darknet" is an online network such as Freenet that is concealed from non-users, with all the potential for transgressive behaviour that implies, much of "the deep web", spooky as it sounds, consists of unremarkable consumer and research data that is beyond the reach of search engines. "Dark address space" often refers to internet addresses that, for purely technical reasons, have simply stopped working.

And yet, in a sense, they are all part of the same picture: beyond the confines of most people's online lives, there is a vast other internet out there, used by millions but largely ignored by the media and properly understood by only a few computer scientists. How was it created? What exactly happens in it? And does it represent the future of life online or the past?
The article discusses Freenet, a software programme that allows the user to explore the web without being detected. It's been used by paedophiles, criminals, terrorists, and other nefarious types in addition to law-abiding citizens wanting anonymity. Of course, a lot of that type of material appears on the normal Internet as well, but the deep web is estimated to be much larger and largely unsearchable by standard search engines. The article's worth a look at.

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