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State drops distributed-computing dispute

Computer administrator David McOwen will pay just $2,100 and serve 80 hours of community service after reaching an agreement with Georgia state prosecutors. The state had accused McOwen of illegally using computers at a state college for a distributed-computing project--a project his supporters said was benign. McOwen had faced as many as 30 years in jail. Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supported McOwen, praised the outcome. "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 said.

Computer administrator David McOwen will pay just $2,100 and serve 80 hours of community service after reaching an agreement with Georgia state prosecutors. The state had accused McOwen of illegally using computers at a state college for a distributed-computing project--a project his supporters said was benign. McOwen had faced as many as 30 years in jail.

Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supported McOwen, praised the outcome. "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 said.