January 18, 2007 6:10 PM PST

Feds out for hacker's blood

Adrian Lamo, the hacker best known for illegal pranks aimed at companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and The New York Times, is free once again.

But his legal battles over handing over a DNA sample to the federal government are just beginning.

After pleading guilty to breaking into the paper's internal computer network in January 2004, the terms of Lamo's probation had confined him to the eastern district of California, which includes his parents' home near Sacramento where he is living. That probation, which included mandatory "computer-monitoring software and filtering equipment," expired Monday.

What isn't over is Lamo's refusal to give federal authorities a sample of his blood, which he says violates his religious convictions. He has offered to give a cheek swab as an alternative, a practice used by a number of states including California--but not the federal system.

During a hearing this week in Sacramento, U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell Jr. said he would hold a status hearing on the DNA question on February 26.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento said she did not know whether the pending hearing meant that Lamo would still be fettered by his probation restrictions: "We don't know the answer to that right now."

Lamo's attorney did not return phone calls, and an aide to the judge declined to comment. No additional restrictions beyond the one scheduled to expire Monday are listed in Lamo's court records, however.

In an e-mailed statement late Thursday, Lamo said he was glad that he was off probation and government supervision, which he said cost him "the loss of liberty, privacy and dignity." He also said he planned to open a computer security consulting business.

Mary French, a federal public defender representing Lamo, and the U.S. Attorney's Office have been fencing through a series of briefs since last May about whether the "homeless hacker" can be forced to relinquish a blood sample instead of a skin scraping.

"If Mr. Lamo sheds blood for a DNA test, he would not only be violating his religious beliefs and the scripture in which he believes, but he would also be causing anyone who facilitates the act to commit a sin, multiplying Mr. Lamo's culpability and sinfulness," French wrote in a legal brief filed on January 8.

Lamo has invoked a passage in the Christian Bible, Genesis 9:6, which says, according to one translation: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man."

A 2000 federal law called the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act required that DNA samples be taken from anyone convicted of or on probation for certain serious crimes. This was challenged in court on Fourth and Fifth Amendment grounds, but a federal appeals court upheld (click for PDF) the DNA collection requirement as constitutional.

In the Times intrusion, Lamo said he was able to view employee records, including Social Security numbers. He said he could access the contact information for the paper's sources and columnists, including such well-known contributors as former President Jimmy Carter and former Marine Col. Oliver North. The charges against Lamo also involved running up the paper's bill for LexisNexis, a commercial database of news and other articles.

In interviews with CNET News.com before his surrender to the FBI, Lamo claimed to be responsible for intrusions into systems at MCI WorldCom in December 2001, Microsoft in October 2001, Yahoo in September 2001, and Excite@Home in May 2001. When he entered Yahoo's system, Lamo said, he was able to alter news articles on the company's site.

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Adrian Lamo, DNA, probation, blood, Sacramento

41 comments

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They will only loose it anyway
I am sure it will get lost or contaminated anyway.
Posted by georgescott (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a crock
That is totally not what that scripture means. All the have to do is
examine it in its context to see that is so.
Posted by sigzero (62 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Translations...
That's the problem with any passage in the Bible. They are all open to translation to fit the purpose of the individual doing the translating.

How much blood shed has been justified by the Bible, yet here we see that no blood should be spilled even for scientific and legal uses?

I am however glad that the religious right is pushing back on all the separation of church and state that has taken away many religious freedoms it was meant to protect.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
It's not like the bible is crystal clear reading
Much of it is subject to interpretation. If you need proof just look at the different denominations of Christianity. The bible even conflicts with it's self in some places. So I have to think his interpretation is just as valid as anyone else's.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Link Flag
clarity
Declan's otherwise excellent article fails to make clear that the state DNA results, which can be taken by cheek swab, are uploaded into the same federal database as a federal finger stick.

The DNA doesn't vary, and we are not asking the government to employ a procedure it is not already equipped for.

Thank you for reading, and for your replies. Unfortunately, I can't reply to questions, but I will check back.
Posted by Adrian Lamo (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Religious Convictions?
Your religious convictions forbid the drawing of your blood but not the commission of criminal activity? How convenient...
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
violation of religious convictions?!
I wonder what his religious leaders would think of his persistence
in breaking the law? Surely if he has respect for his religion and
expects his "rights" to be upheld he should act following a decent
moral code!! And he forfeits his legal "rights" when he decides to
break the law in the state that he's in, surely? If the feds want his
blood, they should (and in my opinion rightly can) take it. Maybe
he'll consider that in future before reoffending
Posted by tomrussell (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What An Idiot
Damn religious moron... it's completely ok for him to hack, play pranks and take down systems, but god forbid he have his blood taken.

$50 says he's just playing the system because there's no way this idiot believes this little bit of religious scripture which is completely retarded!
Posted by SeizeCTRL (1333 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I believe him.
I used to go to church with Adrian. Such a nice boy.

May I point out that calling Adrian an idiot is a violation of the rules that govern CNET News.com's message boards?
Posted by nanotekman (4 comments )
Link Flag
Rather a Genius in my eyes, who's job is outsourced, by shortsited Idiots
What do you expect from a genius who lives in a country that is run by a group of destructive idiots, greedy megalomaniacs and news-media oppressors. With a legal system that caters only to the $ and the above group.
Idiots are those who do not want to know much about how misguided they are from those above, nor posses the ability tho think on their own, nor are concerned about anyone else but themselves.
The smart ones have to use the same defence weapon,
which comes to ?= use idiotic methods to fight idiotic laws. It belongs within the same class.
Posted by cyberblatt (35 comments )
Link Flag
*SIGH*
Apparently you didn't read my post.
Posted by ShadowGryphon (52 comments )
Link Flag
NO
Nobody forfeits their rights when they commit a crime. The ramifications of that are enormous. Imagine, a guy cheats on his wife - illegal in my state, and since he no longer has rights, I can do anything (including killing him) to him with impunity. I swear, some people don't see past their own noses.
Posted by zboot (168 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe so...
But that doesn't mean he's entitled to "liberty, privacy and
dignity" (the things he said were taken away) anymore. Sure, you
can't have anyone going and punishing him, since we do have the
guilty until proven innocent policy (which I will admit, is imperfect,
just like any other system).

Is he simply trying to play the system? Personally, I think so. Do I
know that? No I don't. I just hope he never asks for a blood
transfusion.
Posted by Dr. B (91 comments )
Link Flag
Actually, you are very wrong
In your misguided case, you are correct, he would not lose the right to live. However, most people forfeit many rights when convicted of a felony, as was the case here. He loses the right to vote for a significant period of time, and in some states, permanently. He also loses the right to keep and bear arms for a significant period of time, sometimes for life. Finally, he loses the right for freedom of movement, and in that end, he was given probation, and a stipulation of him not being jailed for his crime was that he was required to provide a DNA sample of sufficient quality.

The law is not unconstitutional, as shown in Federal Appeals Court cases, and as such, he can be required to comply before being released from probation. If the price he has to pay for his freedom, after being convicted of a felony, is a simple blood test, I seriously doubt he will win that case before any competent court, even a conservative one. I doubt his religious "convictions" are the real problem here, but rather what else he's done for which he's afraid to have his DNA coded and entered in the CODIS (Combined DNA index System) database. That is similar to the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database for fingerprints, and stores DNA profiles for many convicted state and Federal felons, as well as samples taken from serious unsolved cases. It was those unsolved cases, and the number of inmates later found to have committed many crimes for which they were not prosecuted before going to prison, that led to this law being enacted.

I'm sorry, but the guy committed a serious crime, and deserved to be put in jail. He broke many US and international laws, and frankly, his probation conditions seem a bit weak to begin with, so he needs to give up the blood sample before the probation gets revoked and he does his full term in jail. I bet all the fun he'll have in prison does violate his religious convictions, just as not stealing (which is basically all criminal hacking is) has a very clear prohibition in the Bible. This is another example of someone abusing religion for personal gain.
Posted by 527nrhpd (44 comments )
Link Flag
A hacker with religious convictions? Oxymoron
It's a crock. I don't believe for one minute that a hacker has religious convictions at all.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just like anyone else
I've personally never known a Christian whose convictions went beyond the point where they were self serving. Religious convictions typically serve only to allow people to believe whatever they want to and have traditionally been used to support racism, genocide and every atrocity imaginable. What makes hacking worse than that?
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Link Flag
Having Trouble Figuring this out...
I don't see how this can relate to a DNA sample. If you look at the passage of scripture, this verse relates to the one before it which pretty much reads if someone kills someone else, kill the killer.

If you were going to take that passage as "no shedding blood" what if someone threw something at you and it made a small scrape?

Plus, I bet if he was laying on a bed somewhere and only a blood test could save his life, he'd take it. the whole thing is a messed up, in my opinion, but it's his views.

P. S. I'm a saved Christian. I have also attached the verse he is talking about.

" 4 "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God
has God made man. "
Posted by MannaPC (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Why do they require his DNA anyway?
While a buccal swab(check sample)will give you acceptable amounts, the blood gives higher quality DNA. However, I think the more pertinent issue is why the Federal government wants to collect DNA from a person convicted of computer crimes. One can see the reasonableness of maintaining DNA profiles of people convicted of violent crimes like murder or rape. This evidence is related to their detection and their seriousness warrants privacy intrusion. But there is no personal contact involved in this type of crime, nothing that that can be determined by the absence of presence of his DNA. Taxpayer dollars should not be spent to extract these samples from and maintain a database of people convicted of nonviolent crimes.
Posted by lonegunwoman74 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Screw them
They don't need our DNA They want it so they can screw us even more than they do today.

Americans should stand up against such BS.
Posted by mobilexile (4 comments )
Link Flag
You people are sheep.
I agree with and support Mr. Lamo and his stand. Any sane, sober person should.

Q: WHY exactly does the federal government need his blood?

A: they don't.

I, for one, am tired of our corrupt and pathetic federal government imposing such actions against the people. If we don't stand up and tell them off we stand to lose the few rioghts we still possess.

Sure, Mr. Lamo broke the law. But, if you do your homework, you'll see that he was actually trying to help the NY Times rather than hurt it. His record shows that he's done the same with Microsoft and Yahoo! without prosecution.

Finally, breaking the law (which, BTW, I have not done) does not give the government right to my blood.
Posted by mobilexile (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Forget religion...
...out of principal I would tell them off. The feds don't need our blood. Their time would be better spent chasing down the criminals in their midst. People like Mark Foley, Rep. Ney, etc.
Posted by mobilexile (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Another one buying the media lie
I'm not defending Lamo, because he broke the law, but..

You need help with the definition of the word "hacker."

If you equate the word "hacker" with "criminal", then I could see how you have this view point.

However, many of us "hackers" get paid to hack. We keep your money safe in your online bank, doing a service to prevent people with no "religious convictions" from stealing that money. We even have families and morals and religious convictions.
Posted by 0x90 (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Central America
I'm moving to Central America and never coming back. I just wish we used a bit more common sense.


John
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.monomachines.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.monomachines.com</a>
Posted by delaisaac (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thank God for the end of this post....
I was getting a little creeped out there for a minute. TY mobileex and ox90. Way too many people need to pay attention. Since when is any sample of any bodily fluids required unless to prove guilt by direct 'correlation' or some crap like that. Rape seems the only thing that comes to mind immediately. Unfortunately, I think it's already legal to require a blood sample in many states for DUI/DWI.


We should be testing these creeps. What sense does it make that we allow way too many BUMS decide what, when and where "I" can do something, under what conditions including the contents of my urine or blood (o be presented upon request); as I slave away at some repetative menial, low paying stipend and watch these same creeps spend ALL OUR MONEY like it was going out of style.
The Vice gets to shoot somebody in the face with a buzz on I suspect.
"The Shrub" gets to make a joke at the Press Club Hootenanny (while looking under chairs and the podium no less)with his 'natural creepy lear(near Quote?) ...."I know those weapons of mass destruction are around here somewhere?"...

(Unf%cking Quote)

enterthefray
Posted by cmgweb (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Blood and the Bible.
First let me say that I don't know why they government can't just get a DNA swab from the guys mouth. Maybe blood DNA is better or maybe it's policy, but this could have been settled if they would have just taken the swab.

My next subject. First let me say I'm not going to talk scriptural meaning here as my view on the subject would probably just end up a 'mine against yours' debate. What I will say is that it is my opinion that the KJV of the bible (and many other versions as well) are not complete. For the sake of consistency in the story they wish to tell many other scriptures are left out. Now with that said I'm not saying that those bibles are wrong or incorrect. I'm simply saying that there is much more out there that would probably lead people to different conclusions about Jesus and maybe God.

As for references, since I know you all like them, I don't have any and I'm not going to provide any. I gave my opinion based on what I believe and what I've researched myself. That's all that's required.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blood
Finally someone making sense after the ravings of the religous! NO one has the right to set any staandards of religous belief on anyone else or judge that belief!
Posted by Sir Limey (43 comments )
Link Flag
Interpretation problem...
Most people interpret the shedding of the blood as speaking about the laying down of that life in sacrifice.

Others might want to interpret it otherways...

It's all about interpretation of the word.

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Link Flag
Hacking is Terrorism
Hacking is nothing less than terrorism. Hackers should be kept in Gitmo with the other terrorists. Just like their terrorist friends from the Middle East, they steal and destroy our property, their existence requires us to spend unnecessary money for security and protection. They threaten our lives by compromising medical research data and other important data. Companies that hire "ex-hackers" should be prosecuted for supporting terrorism. When Congress comes around to understanding this, we'll get much better protection against these terrorists.
Posted by robmclaughjr (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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