Feeds

Third ex-NASA Ames worker jailed for child porn

Yes, third

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A third former worker at the NASA Ames Research Center in California was sentenced Wednesday to federal prison for using a government computer to download child pornography.

Ernst John Rohde, 64, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of receiving materials relating to the sexual exploitation of minors while working at the Mountain View NASA base as a contract worker. Prosecutors said Rohde downloaded a "voluminous number" of child porn images and videos from his NASA-issued computer and from his home in Stockton, California.

Rohde estimated he accumulated "a million" images and media files of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct over the course of 6-10 years. He explained to prosecutors that he used a program which continuously searches the internet and downloads such files, according to court documents.

On May 22 and 23 2006, IT specialists at Ames were alerted to an internet connection searching for "pre-teen" and "13-17," originating from the account "jacks4" on research center's wireless network. The connection also searched newsgroups with similarly incriminating names. During the second day, IT workers triangulated the wireless signal to a location near Ames lodging buildings. The workers contacted Ames lodging and discovered Rohde was staying there during that time.

On July 26 and 27 2006, tech workers were again alerted to suspicious connections. The same "jacks4" account accessed similarly shady newsgroups to download images and additionally accessed the account jackroh@hotmail.com. A review of the data captured during the internet connections in May and July included 50 images of child pornography.

At a hearing in San Jose on Wednesday, a judge ordered Rohde to surrender January 30 to begin serving a five-year sentence. Afterwards, he will be put on supervised release for the rest of his life.

Bizarrely, Rohde isn't the first NASA Ames worker to serve prison time for using government computers to download child porn in recent years. Nor his he the second. In July, former Ames center engineer Christopher Burt Wiltsee was sentenced to five years in federal prison for possessing child pornography. In March, another ex-engineer, Mark Charles Zelinsky, was sentenced to three years in prison for child porn. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.