Kevin Mitnick was charged with numerous computer-related crimes in the 1990s. He ended up going to jail for 5 years, and for about 8 months, he was locked up in solitary confinement for a very bizarre reason. Mitnick, the author of the book “The Art of Invisibility,” explains what it was like.
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Following is a transcript of the video:
I’m the world’s most famous hacker.
Like your kids get hooked on a video game, I was hooked into hacking.
I ended up becoming a federal fugitive for three years. So I was arrested in Raleigh, North Carolina after they were able to track my cell phone signal.
And eventually I was caught. I was sent to prison for 5 years. 8 months was in solitary confinement, because a federal prosecutor told the judge that if they allowed me to have access to the phone while in prison, that I could whistle into the phone and communicate with a modem at NORAD — northern air defense — and actually launch an ICBM. Which is totally not true.
Being in solitary was kind of tough.
Imagine going into your home tonight, when you get out of school or out of the office, and locking yourself in your bathroom. And not leaving your bathroom for 23 out of 24 hours a day. And then for an hour a day, they give you a little bit more room, but you’re outside, you could look up at the sky.
It’s pretty horrific.
It takes a lot of time for the human to adapt to those conditions. But we can adapt to anything, right, eventually.
It was really tough, and I spent most of my time reading and sleeping, because what else are you going to do in solitary confinement?