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Former computer hacker Kevin Mitnick has won his right to renew his ham radio license.

Mitnick, 39, and a ham radio enthusiast for 25 years, spent more than $16,000 in legal costs in a three year fight to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to renew his license. Normally such renewals are free.

"It's the most expensive amateur radio license in the world," Mitnick told AP.

2003 is shaping up to be a good year for the one-time "most wanted computer criminal in US history".

Mitnick can also begin legally surfing the Internet again from January 20, when his period on probation expires. He plans to get more involved in computer security work after this time, with plans to run his own consultancy business.

Christopher Painter, deputy chief of the Justice Department's computer crime section and the former assistant US attorney who prosecuted Mitnick, told AP that once his probation is over the former hacker won't be under any special surveillance.

"Not any more than anyone else would," Painter told AP, adding that the Feds would investigate any reports of illegal activity by Mitnick.

Mitnick was released in January 2000 after serving five years in prison for hacking into networks of major corporations, including Motorola and Sun Microsystems, stealing software and altering data. Many believe his sentence was harsh, and reflected not so much his crimes bas the frustration of authorities outwitted for three years by Mitnick up until his eventual arrest by the FBI on February 15, 1995, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Since his release three years ago Mitnick has testified before Congress on computer security and written a book on social engineering, called The Art of Deception. ®

External Links

The Official Kevin Mitnick site

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