Hackers being jobbed out of work

Tuesday, 3 September 2002, 11:33 AM EST

These are tough times for hackers. Federal agencies now have broad new powers to spy on them, thanks to provisions in the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act. The House of Representatives has passed a new law that will send convicted hackers to prison for life. And, the information technology job market is so soft, it's tough finding straight work.

"We don't hire former hackers," said Jim Chapple, who leads security teams at Computer Sciences Corporation. "There are enough highly skilled people out there that we don't need ones with checkered backgrounds."

That certainly rules out Vision, aka Max Ray Butler, a 30-year-old Idaho native. He recently served a year in a federal prison for intruding onto government and military computer networks in 1998.

Life on the inside at Taft Correctional Institution, a low-security facility in the California desert, was bearable. The showers were private. His cellmate was harmless, a professor who had misspent federal grant money.

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