The trial of former graduate student Ning Ma has begun, and the University is busy demonizing someone who stole some uniquenames and passwords using elementary technology and techniques in what sounds to me like a pathetic cry for help. Ma remains in prison on $1 bail even though he didn’t inflict any damage more serious than sending a few fraudulent emails, and violent felons have recently been released on bail. To me, the whole affair has a tragicomic air about it, and I strongly suspect if the son or daughter of wealthy, well-connected Detroiters had done the same crimes they would instead be secretly disciplined under the much more lenient part “O” of the Code of Student Conduct about “violating University computer policies,” revealing once again the University’s fast-and-loose approach to any sense of a consistant enforcement of their own policies.
“William Rhee, a computer system’s consultant in the U-M’s Information Technology Division, testified Friday that the focus of the investigation turned to Ma after Ma’s Internet Protocol address records showed simultaneous access to several e-mails from his University Towers apartment. An IP address identifies a sender or a recipient of information that is sent in packets across the Internet.
> AANews: “Hacker suspect to be tried”