Mahalo: Our hacker employee is no threat to your privacy

Jason Calacanis discovers a felon on his payroll, but doesn't fire him.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis sent an e-mail Thursday to his followers (also posted on his blog, and worth a read) disclosing that his company mistakenly hired a man convicted of computer crimes but who hasn't yet served his sentence. To retell Calacanis' story with a critical slant, his employee was caught (unusual for hackers) after launching a botnet attack that didn't work. And then he lied--or omitted the telling--about his conviction when he was interviewing at Mahalo.

Instead of firing him outright, Calacanis decided to keep him employed until his prison sentence begins on June 1.

Of course, we are all flawed, we make lots of mistakes in life, and we owe each other every kindness. It's possible that Mahalo's errant hire made one bonehead hacking move and saw the error of his ways, and he'll never do it again--although news reports of his crimes paint a much uglier picture. But it's what Calacanis believes. He says he knows the man, and I admire him for standing up for him, and keeping him employed when the easy thing, for a dozen reasons, would be to fire him.