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This site is dedicated to exposing the great injustice that was being done to David McOwen.
It could happen to any of us!
Edit: This site is now re-dedicated to all of those around the world that saved my life from the tyranny of one State Government and to help prevent or stop something like this from ever happening again to anyone, anywhere in the world. Also to the cause of Distributed Computing Technology that has the possibility of doing many great things for all of mankind by the linking together of every Computer in the world.


This was the first News airing about the case:

Click here to see this case discussed on TechTV's Silicon Spin


A Documentary story and interview was aired on TechTV Tuesday June 25th at 9 PM EST,23008,3389528,00.html

Here is the show file digitized. Thanks Soni for Hosting the file

New 4-27-2004 Georgia Tech launches Distributing Computing Project!

Of all places, this originates in Georgia.

Using NETI@home will make the Internet a better place! (and hopefully a little faster)

Oh the Irony of this originating in Georgia. Roy Barnes and all the other School Cronies that went after me must be livid at Georgia Tech now:

4-27-2004 NETI@Home to Examine Net's Strengths

Georgia Tech researchers want you -- and your computer.

They want to figure out how to make the Internet faster and more reliable, but to do that they need to gather data from tens of thousands of personal computers around the world.

Currently, Internet performance research almost always uses data gathered from various router points along the Internet's backbone, the high-speed pipelines that keep data moving around the globe. But George Riley, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech, and graduate student Robby Simpson want to use data collected directly from Internet users.

To do this they've developed an open-source software application that gathers network performance statistics such as average response time, average round-trip time, connection times, download times and number of packets sent and received.

Now they just need truckloads of volunteers to download their NETI@home application, and allow the application to send network performance information from the volunteers' computers to a server at Georgia Tech, where it will be analyzed and made available to anyone else who wants to use it for their own Internet improvement projects.

Neti@home is named after the University of California at Berkeley's SETI@home project, which uses volunteer computing power to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

"With NETI, we're searching for network intelligence -- intelligence about the way the Internet works so we can make it work better," said Simpson.

But the data that NETI will gather is far more personal than that gathered by SETI. Riley and Simpson know that people may be leery of having data on their network usage tracked and transmitted, but promise to protect volunteers' privacy.

"NETI is not spyware, and in no way compromises any of your private data," said Riley. "It is nearly painless from a performance point of view, and completely private if you opt to use our most restrictive privacy setting."

Simpson and Riley said they hope, however, that volunteers will not choose the most restrictive privacy setting. Less restrictive settings will allow them to gather more useful data from participating computers.

Systems administrators can also use NETI to monitor performance on their private networks. And since the NETI application is open-source, Simpson and Riley also hope the development community will come up with other interesting uses for the application.

Georgia Tech plans to keep the NETI project going "theoretically forever"

4-27-2004 Georgia Tech Study to Gauge Internet Performance for Computer End-Users - Georgia Tech Seeks Research Volunteers for NETI@home: The Search for a Faster Internet

Atlanta - Ever notice your Internet connection seems slow? Ever wonder what’s causing the slow down? You are not alone. Millions of users bemoan sluggish downloads and slow email but rarely know the cause of the delays.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a technology to find out the how the Internet is performing from the “regular” end-users’ perspectives. With this information, they can design and develop network solutions to relieve these bottlenecks. To do this, they need volunteers for the NETI@home project, which stands for “network intelligence.”



We were at at Dragon*Con 2003 August 30 and 31 in Atlanta

Panel on the case and a Co-panel with Randal Swartz


Labor Day Weekend 2003

Dragon*Con 2003 Atlanta Georgia

I don't know if the Star Wars Kid wasthere but I was there along with my now ex-wife Donna Saturday 8-30 in the Piedmont room at 2:30 pm

Also on Sunday evening at 7 PM same room.

Update 9-5-2003 DragonCon 2003 was great. Donna and I did get to see Angela Cartright & Bill Mumy (Penny & Will) as well as a lot of other great Actors & Actresses.

The Forum panels that I spoke at were great. I only wish that I had finished the book I am still looking to finish and would've had on hand for those that attended the panels.

April 23, 2002

This is David McOwen. I would like to thank Craig (The PCMAN) for setting up this site during the ordeal where I was under the attack of the State of Georgia. Craig just turned over the site to me and I am now re-dedicating it as an educational and informational site so that it has a chance of preventing what happened to me from ever happening to anyone anywhere in the world ever again.

September 25, 2002 Announcement by Distributed.Net that RC5 project is completed and over.

Note: They started a new project RC5-72, No, I will not be running that project. How can anyone support a project where the President of that Company does not support the people supporting and running your project? This individual actually spoke out against me on numerous occasions as seen in the News articles listed here. Many people that were running that project and supporters of me then stopped running that project and switched to other Distributed Computing projects. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. David Anderson the Director of the SETI@Home project. He spoke out against what the State of Georgia was doing as was going to testify on my behalf as well as on the behalf of the Distributed Computing Technology which was obviously under attack as well.


***Special Notice***

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2002


Lee Tien
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
+1 415 436-9333 x102 (office), +1 510 290-7131 (cell)

David Joyner
Kenney & Solomon
+1 770 564-1600

Distributed Computing Prosecution Ends with Whimper Not Bang

Georgia Man's Ordeal Ends

San Francisco - David McOwen can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. After about two years of facing the prospect of years in prison and more than $400,000 in fines and restitution, the former DeKalb Technical College systems administrator has accepted an offer by the state of Georgia that will bring his legal nightmare to an end.

Since February 2000, McOwen has been the target of a "computer trespass" investigation and then prosecution. His crime? In 1998, he installed a distributed-computing client (like the SETI@home screensaver) on the college's PCs in order to participate in a distributed decryption contest. In early 2000, the school administrators threatened McOwen with criminal charges and called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The threat of more than $400,000 in liability was based solely on the use of the school computers, valued at 59 cents per second.

Under the terms of the deal, announced today, McOwen will receive one year of probation for each criminal count, to run concurrently, make restitution of $2100, and perform 80 hours of community service unrelated to computers or technology. McOwen will have no felony or misdemeanor record under Georgia's First Offender Act.

"David never should have been prosecuted in the first place, but we're glad that the state decided to stop," said Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "This is a very good result for David. He very likely could have won if the case had gone to trial, but trials cost money and you never know what will happen."

Tien explained that much of the case against McOwen turned on whether he had fair notice that installing the client software was prohibited. Under the Georgia computer trespass statute, criminal liability may
only be imposed if the person uses the computer or network with knowledge that the use is unauthorized. "From what I can tell, the state would have had a hard time proving beyond a reasonable doubt that David knew he wasn't authorized to install the software," Tien said. "I can't help but feel that this was a face-saving deal for the

"The state's claim of up to $815,000 for computer time seems to fit an old pattern that we've seen before," Tien said. In one of the first cases championed by EFF, a man faced years in prison for obtaining and publishing an internal BellSouth document initially valued at almost $80,000. The case was dropped after evidence was introduced that it was publicly available for $13.

The issue raised by McOwen's prosecution isn't an isolated one, Tien added. Distributed computing is an important scientific tool that can harness the spare cycles of numerous personal computers into the virtual equivalent of a supercomputer. The SETI@home screensaver, for instance, allows computer users all over the world to aid in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Last year, however, the Tennessee Valley Authority banned the SETI@home program from its computers, declaring it a risk to computer security.

While McOwen's legal problems appear over, they've taken a serious toll. He resigned from his job at DeKalb soon after the school threatened him. And he was fired from his next job at Cingular Wireless last August because of the bad publicity surrounding the case.

EFF wishes to praise and give special thanks to David Joyner, McOwen's attorney at Kenney & Solomon, for all of his hard work. Thanks are also owed to McOwen's supporters at and for publicizing the case and raising money for his legal fund.

Legal defense fund for the McOwen case:

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
maintains one of the most-linked-to websites in the world at


If America's founding fathers had anticipated the digital frontier, there would be a clause in the Constitution protecting your rights online, as well. Instead, a modern group of freedom fighters was necessary to extend the original vision into the digital world. That's where the Electronic Frontier Foundation comes in. read more »


What's this all about?

The story began in 1999, when David McOwen worked on the computer systems at DeKalb Technical College in Georgia. Like many other geeks, David realized that most of the machines on campus sat idle most of the time - good computing power going to waste.

That very thought has led to the creation of several companies looking to tap into that power. The idea is to chop up large computer jobs into small portions, and shoot these bits of work to individual computers over the Internet. 

One such outfit,, has been testing the idea since 1997 by cracking encryption systems - products that scramble data so that unauthorized people can't read it. Interested techies can go to the Web site and download software that runs when their machines aren't doing something else. This software toils away at cracking a code, a task that would take millions of years for a single computer. But when chopped up and spread across tens of thousands of machines, the work should be finished in just a few years. 

To improve their odds of winning, people with access to lots of computers have installed the software on many systems. That's what David did at his college. 

The state of Georgia doesn't agree with this use of computers. Under state law, they considered it misuse of the state's computers - and in Georgia, that's a felony. In a cry for help published on the Web site, David said the state wants $415,000 in compensation for lost computing and network capacity. And of course, there's always that possible prison sentence of 120 years to consider.


Original Online Petition set up by Nate Coffey, thanks Nate

 The following is David McOwen's original story and plea for help in his own words when he was first contacted in late June 2001 by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told he was going to be charged with Felony Computer crimes.

This is David McOwen. I need everyone's help that possibly can. I worked at a school system 2 years ago that is part of the State of Georgia and was the configurator of the computers. They are now prosecuting me for Felony conviction with up to 120 yrs in prison and wanting $ 415,000. They are saying the Dnet client costs 59 cents per second for the Internet transmissions! If you or you know anyone that can help please contact Beside my life and my family, the future of all that use the Internet and computers is at stake. Don't let them turn the good of computers into something so terrible. If it was so terrible it should be taken away from the world and not prosecuting one individual. People were panicking about rumors of the Govt tacking on a 5 cent surcharge to supplement the Postal service because E-mail is taking away from their business and now the State of Georgia is saying E-mail costs 59 cents per second and this is not a rumor! 

Also we need to know if anyone in the United States or the world has been prosecuted for this. We need to know for sure that they are setting this dangerous precedent, making me an example and everyone is next. They did not give me an opportunity to just turn the client off, they also said that there was no harm done after they turned it off. How can they call it a felony then and looking for nearly half a million dollars! Please help in any way that you can, whether by E-mails or any other support.

Thank you

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