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