Andrei Freeman (lordandrei) wrote,
Andrei Freeman

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This is just plain awesome...

I'm going to put a cut in here because I don't know how many people want to read about my evening chatting in a diner with Kevin Mitnick

Free Kevin

Sunday has been an interesting day. I woke up at 9, 10:30, and 12. I'd been camping on Saturday and knew that I needed to sleep in. We had a Blue Horizon Meeting (our Glendale chapter of the OTO) where the camp officially took on a new master... or mistress as the case may be. This was way cool and we had a nice picnic.

Towards the end of the meeting and shindig, my close friend and brother "P" asked if I wanted to join him to see the screening of Freedom Downtime(imdb link) the 2600 documentary of the hacker culture/"Free Kevin" movement at Paramount studios on Melrose in L.A.. On the drive down, "P" looked at me and said, "Well sir, do you think there's an FBI file on you? "cause if there isn't there will be after we watch this film." I laughed with him.

I will not comment in this forum concerning my knowledge or experiences in the "Hacker" communities. Especially because I don't think 15 years is still outside statute of limitation ;) "Zaphod Beeblebrox where are you today :?) -- The Doctor" However, I've read enough 2600 and enough news stories over the years to be familiar with the case of Kevin Mitnick. So the idea of a documentary that was not the debacle that Miramax has yet to domestically release called, "Takedown"

The movie was someone who works in the industry. It was badly in need of editing. And as I saw the two hour cut that had been trimmed from a three hour cut....Well.

The film ends with a "where are they now" montage that finishes with the caption, "Kevin Mitnick was not permitted to attend the screening of this film." The lights came up and Kevin answered some questions from the small geek-oriented audience. I got two questions in during the Q/A... Now, a few years after his captivity, what is his current technological limitations. Kevin is now permitted to use a computer, but he is not allowed to access the internet. I also asked if he felt that the 2600 movement has helped cases of 'Hackers' who find themselves in this kind of situation. In the case of "Bernie S" he feels that the public awareness brought about largely by 2600 did help get Bernie released sooner. Also, in his own case, he credits the contact he had with 2600 demonstrators and other "free Kevin" movement activities, in giving him the strength to push through and survive.

Needless to say, several of the hackers who have faced the law to such a horrible degree now have a viciously low opinion of the legal system. In their eyes they see the legal system as a game that you win with money, not truths. And often use the example of OJ's case. After the film, Kevin invited attendees to a local diner for more chat. Kevin's 'entourage' was 5 people including himself. "P" and I went to the diner as well as 2 other audience members. (One of the other two guys was a starry-eyed, youngish geek type. When asked his name by Kevin, he could only muster, "What sir" and thus people thought the poor boy's name was 'Wutsir" for a moment or two.

The diner and conversation was quite fun. And I spoke with one of Kevin's friends "E" for a good bit of the time. She was quite fascinating and had also worked in radio in the mid-west during the same years that I did. We also seemed to agree a great deal on philosophy on the ever changing and evolving world of 'geek culture'

Kevin is a very friendly and pleasant man. He has very strong attitudes about the legal system that I feel are grandly justified considering what he went thru and what he actually did (or didn't do). Kevin signed a menu for the diner and gave both "P" and I signed copies of the video for Freedom Downtime For those 'Back Home' there are some wonderful shots of Pittsburgh, CERT, and the Cathedral as the production team tries to gain access to CERT on a Saturday to leaflet the building with "Free Kevin" materials. There is also a really annoying CMU-rent-a-cop as well. Sadly, I think I recognize the guy.

Kevin's companion was a behind-the-scene's person at "Tech TV" I found this out after I was asked what I thought about Tech-TV. My comments weren't to pleasant, but then again..I'm a Mac person. To which she replied "Ah yes, 5% of the audience" I laugh every time I hear that statistic. Oddly, Kevin spoke up at that point to say that he really wanted to get a Titanium G4 laptop. Teeheehee. All I have to say is chatting to Kevin about a Mac G4 laptop and his interest in that can give a guy a warm fuzzy. He also took marked interest in the company I work for. Kevin will be 'truly free' in January when his probation ends and he can do as he will without having to verify his activities with a probation officer. Personally, I can think of worse fates than getting Mitnick hooked up with my company in january. (Me, the guy that connected the famous Anti-virus company {the one that keeps its books legit) with the guy who made computer security a NY Times front page issue.) Okay.. but enough back patting....

His book on security education is sitting in store-rooms waiting to be released. Unfortunately, if it releases before a certain point in his parole, he has to turn over all profits to the government. So, the book will sit and wait. But you can pre-order it.

On the side to people who know me very well. Yes, My father's mother's mother's maiden name is in fact "Mitnik." I did at the diner ask Kevin what his lineage was. He said Russian. (Which is what my family claims as well.) However, he's never really researched it, nor have I. So that topic remains a mystery. So,'s possible that not only have I now met him, but I may in fact be related. However, from an onomostic point of view, one must understand that "Mitni(c)k" is Yiddish for With nothing which is simple enough to be a name given to a poor family in a Russian, Jewish settlement.

I swapped email with "E." I think "P" got Kevin's Cell phone number. Which "P" commented was probably enough to have his entire life confiscated over. Agent looking at "P"'s phone. Well, I see you have here numbers for ... for... Oh, my. Please come with us... So, I'm just going to assume he doesn't have it.

I got home at 2:30 am. And it's a school night. It's 3:45 am. And I'm flying on a geekish high. I hung with Kevin Mitnik tonight and chatted about a myriad of topics. I don't mean to come off as egotistical, or some poseur freakoid hacker wannabe....but this was just waaaaay cool.

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