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Released From Prison, Hacker Barred From Cyberspace for Three Years

August 20, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Employment prospects are grim for Kevin Lee Poulsen, a computer whiz imprisoned five years for his cyberspace havoc.

The 30-year-old hacker has been barred from getting near a computer for the next three years and he now fears selling cowboy boots at a Western store will be his only opportunity to make some money.

``It’s the only place where I’ve been greeted with a positive attitude,″ he said during an interview last week. ``I can’t get a job that I am qualified for, basically.

``The only thing I am qualified to do is computer stuff. Computer programming. Computer administration.″

Poulsen was so adept at manipulating Pacific Bell computers that he was able to spy on FBI agents while they spied on crooks. Before his 1991 arrest, he won a Porsche by using computers to rig radio station phone-in contests.

But now he’s in a computer-less world. He’s even had to ask his probation officer for permission to drive because most cars these days contain tiny on-board computers that regulate the engine.

His parents had to get rid of their computer before he could live with them in suburban North Hollywood.

On Sept. 3, he goes to federal court in hopes of having some of the computer restrictions relaxed.

``All of these restrictions reach well beyond public safety concerns and are clearly punitive,″ the motion said. Prosecutors disagreed.

``Given the havoc he wrought with computers, absolutely it would be irresponsible to allow him to have untethered access to computers at this juncture,″ said Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schindler.

Poulsen also wants the judge to allow him to go to college (majoring in computer science) rather than work full time to make restitution to the three Los Angeles radio stations that lost more than $20,000.

``They were giving it away anyway,″ he said about the radio station prizes.

The radio station managers weren’t amused by the comment.

``Hearing that upsets me,″ said Marie Kordus, general manager of KPWR. ``He has that attitude after five years? Is this how he is going to continue to make his living?″

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