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San Francisco sysadmin stays in jail for now

Parts of city network still locked out

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The sysadmin accused of hijacking San Francisco's network may have surrendered the passwords needed to regain control of key parts of the system, but the move hasn't gotten anyone very far. A judge has refused to lower his $5m bail, and officials say they are still locked out of some portions of the network.

The decision came after prosecutors said during a hearing Wednesday that Terry Childs intentionally rigged the network to fail during maintenance or any time it experience a power failure. Childs's decision two days ago to cough up the passwords during a jail-house visit by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom came only after a scheduled power outage on July 19 failed to trigger the meltdown, they argued.

The decision by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Lucy Kelly McCabe means that Childs will remain in jail for the time being. He has been held since July 13 on $5m bail, an amount that is about five times higher than most murder defendants face. He is charged with counts of tampering with the city's network.

Childs's attorney portrayed him as a capable engineer who withheld passwords to five network devices to protect the system from incompetent managers. She took strong exception to allegations Childs acted out of malice and said managers' allegations were an attempt to drive him out of his job.

Sheriff's officials told The San Francisco Chronicle that their network still operates but they are unable to access it to perform routine maintenance. San Francisco's Park and Recreation Department also remains locked out, prosecutors said.

Coverage from PC World and The San Francisco Chronicle is here and here. ®

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