Closing the Net

Will overzealous investigations of computer crime render freedom of the press technologically obsolete?

Back in early February, newspapers

across the country reported that computer hackers were interfering

with emergency calls over the 911 communications

network. The reports said the hackers had penetrated the system

using information from a secret computer document.

The scare grew out of an indictment by a grand jury in

Lockport, Illinois. On February 7, Craig Neidorf and Robert

Riggs were indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, violation of

the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, and interstate

transportation of stolen goods.

Prosecutors alleged that Neidorf and Riggs had conspired

to steal, using fraudulent methods, a confidential and proprietary

document from the Bell South telephone company.

This document, it was claimed, could allow computer hackers

to disrupt the 911 emergency network.

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