[ISN] Jury to get case of fan accused of hacking

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Jan 6 06:06:42 EST 2005


By L. Stuart Ditzen
Inquirer Staff Writer
Jan. 06, 2005

Though he moved away from the Philadelphia area 18 years ago, Allan E. 
Carlson's obsessive interest in the Phillies - and his hostile 
opinions about the team's management - only increased with time.

Sitting in his apartment in Glendale, Calif., Carlson, 41, spent 70 
hours a week hacking into other people's computers and using their 
e-mail addresses to spread his baseball gripes on the Internet.

Carlson, who grew up in South Jersey, yesterday told a jury in U.S. 
District Court in Philadelphia, where he is on trial for computer 
crimes and identity theft, that he meant no harm.

In 2001 and 2002, he was jamming computer systems at the Phillies and 
Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., which owns The Inquirer and the 
Philadelphia Daily News, with thousands of e-mails, but Carlson 
testified: "There's no way for me to know what was going on. I'm 
sitting in my apartment."

That he might be causing problems "never occurred" to him, he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy, who is prosecuting the case, 
contended in his closing argument that Carlson caused a great deal of 
harm - and knew he was doing it.

Levy said Carlson created havoc with a Phillies online ticket service 
and inundated the computer system of Knight Ridder Corp., parent of 
Philadelphia Newspapers, with so much spam e-mail that the company 
briefly had to take its computers off-line.

Carlson, who is unemployed, said his main gripes were that Phillies 
management was spending too little money to build a winning team and 
that sports reporters and columnists in Philadelphia were not holding 
the team bosses accountable.

Among other things, Carlson used the e-mail addresses of sportswriters 
to send ranting messages to tens of thousands of random e-mail 
addresses. That triggered masses of return e-mails to the writers 
whose names were used. One columnist received 60,000 returned e-mails, 
some with angry replies.

Carlson also sent what Levy described as a racist e-mail to staff 
members at The Inquirer in 2002 in the name of Walker Lundy, the 
newspaper's editor at the time. Lundy testified as a prosecution 

Carlson's lawyer, Mark T. Wilson, said in his closing argument that 
his client's behavior was "reprehensible" and maybe "crazy," but not 

"There is no evidence that he knew damage was occurring," Wilson said. 
"Nobody came back to him and said, 'Yo, you've got to stop this.' How 
does he know that all this damage is occurring?"

Carlson is charged with 79 counts of computer-related crimes involving 
misuse of e-mail, unauthorized access of computers, and using the 
identities of other people with the intent to commit crimes.

The jury is to begin deliberations today.

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