Did Childs really install 1,100 modems?

I can't believe I missed this in the San Francisco Chronicle article yesterday: "Investigators say they are still worried about the modems hidden away in locked filing cabinets in public buildings around the city."

I can't believe I missed this in the San Francisco Chronicle article yesterday:

"Investigators say they are still worried about the modems hidden away in locked filing cabinets in public buildings around the city. Maupin told prosecutors that city officials estimate there are 1,100 such modems. Childs could still gain access to the network through any of them and create more mischief, prosecutors say."

1,100 modems? One thousand, one hundred modems. One thousand, one hundred analog phone lines at roughly $40 a pop. $44,000 a month in phone lines. Assuming $30 per modem, that's $33,000 in modems. What were they hooked up to? Computers? Assuming a very low $250 per computer (hey, maybe they were all eBay specials or something) that's an additional $275,000. So all told, we're at $308,000 in just the hardware, not to mention that monthly $44,000 bill.

All ordered, installed, and managed by Terry Childs.

Really.

Forgive me if I find this to be an absolutely ludicrous statement. I think I missed it yesterday because it's so patently absurd. Unless Childs owned his own phone company, how could he possibly have done this? If the city is taking anything Anthony Maupin says seriously, it might explain their complete ignorance of this situation.

[ Follow the Terry Childs saga with InfoWorld special report: Terry Childs: Admin gone rogue. ]

There is so much incongruity in the statements from the city at this point that I don't think that there's any possible way to decipher what actually happened. The waters are so muddied by ignorance, hyperbole, and bombastic claims that the truth has been completely lost.

If for the sake of argument, we give Maupin the benefit of the doubt and concede that Childs had the time, energy, and inclination to build this monstrous network of analog modems, how is it even remotely possible that nobody noticed before now?

The mind boggles.

I urge Anthony Maupin, or anyone directly involved in this investigation to contact me and tell me the actual technical details surrounding this case, and these assertions. Otherwise, they're simply too ridiculous to believe.

UPDATE: Maupin may have a reprieve.

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