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Distributed Computing Project Politics

As with any field of science, especially new ones, distributed computing and people who run distributed computing projects can encounter political problems. This page lists current and past political situations around distributed computing projects and lists actions you can take to help defend distributed computing projects and users.

An important note: so that you don't end up as a story on this page, PLEASE get permission (preferably written) BEFORE you run any distributed computing project application on a computer that you don't own!

ProblemDate StartedDate ResolvedResolution
Free David McOwen!

David McOwen was a tech support engineer at a Georgia state college. In February 2000, the state of Georgia charged him with a felony crime (with a prison term of up to 15 years) and sought damages of US$415,000 for his running the distributed.net client on many of the school's computers. This is a punishment worse than a rapist would receive. The state calculated that the cost of the bandwith used by the distributed.net client was US$.59 per second and that he "stole" US$415,000 worth of bandwidth from them by running the client without permission.

The final details of the situation are available on a Team Anandtech site and at David McOwen's official site.

February, 2001 January 18, 2002 the state backed down and settled the case