No New i-Phone 4 for Convicted CFAA Felon Randal Craig

One person you will not see waiting in line to buy the new i-Phone 4 at the Apple Store is Randall Craig who pleaded guilty to violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. (“CFAA”).  Craig, a subcontractor at the Marine Corps Reserve Center, communicated by email with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Chinese agent.  In the course of their dealings Craig provided the FBI agent with the names and social security numbers of approximately 17,000 Marine employees from a private Marine database in exchange for $500.

During their email correspondence, Craig told the agent that he had tried to sell the data to other countries and said, “I’m a hacker.  Even if I was caught, I’d get out of jail and keep hacking.”  U.S. v. Craig, 2010 WL 2546082 *1 (5th Cir. June 23, 2010)  After Craig was arrested and indicted, he pled guilty to exceeding authorized computer access in violation of the CFAA, Title 18, U.S. C. § 1030(a)(2)(B) and (c)(2)(B)(I).

Despite his claim to be able to get out jail, the court sentenced him to 6 years in prison.  But the court did not stop there.  So that he would not “keep hacking” the court “also imposed three years of supervised release, during which Craig would be ‘prohibited from access to computers of any type or access to any device that can interface with the Internet, including cell phones and any other electronic devices.’”

Craig appealed the restriction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on his use of a cell phone.   He argued “that the effects of the restriction on his ability to communicate with others and to obtain employment call for reversal” claiming that “the burden imposed by the cell-phone ban is quite high.”  The court found that the district court’s prohibition on the use of a cell phone was not plain error justifying reversal because “the district court was reasonably concerned about potential access to the Internet and the condition reaches only cell phones that can access the Internet.”  Recognizing there was no precedent for this ban on cell phones in the 5th Circuit, the court pointed out that “other courts have allowed bans on all cell phones or placed the decision in the probation officer’s discretion.”  Id.

Sorry Craig, no i-Phone for you.