Kevin Mitnick was probably the most notorious hacker of his generation. He was so well known that the authorities couldn’t wait for an excuse to jail him, which they did several times over. The film is a road movie of sorts in which members of the 2600 collective drove from the east coast to the west coast and back again trying to bring attention to Kevin’s plight.
By that time Kevin had been in prison for three and a half years, without a trial, and even denied a bail hearing. He was being held in maximum security prisons, despite the fact that no violent crime had been committed and many of the charges against him were simply false.
The film makers attempt to interview some of the corporations making the charges (and fail miserably, as they cannot get past the reception desk in most cases). They certainly do better with Joe Public, many of whom are sympathetic, and others resigned: “This is the way it is, man!”
The film also has an interview with Bernie S., another hacker arrested for non-violent crime, who was thrown in with violent thugs and was beaten so badly he was hospitalised and has a titanium plate in his arm now.
Eventually the only way for Kevin to get out of jail was to strike a plea bargain with the state prosecutors, who had all the resources in the world, and as much time as they need to break someone. He was eventually released from prison in 2000.
Cases like this show that there is a pattern, especially in the USA, of using whatever legal resources there are to isolate, capture, torture and break those who do things the state doesn’t approve of. And the media play along by portraying the ‘stars’ of these hypes as criminals, unworthy of support.
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