San Francisco computers held hostage

July 17, 2008 10:10:48 AM PDT
A city computer engineer is due in court in San Francisco today to face charges of tampering with the city's new computer network.

Forty-three-year-old Terry Childs was arrested Sunday and ordered held on five million dollars bond. His public defender describes the amount as crazy, saying even accused killers usually get just one million dollars bail.

San Francisco officials allege Childs created a secret password that would have given him access to things like e-mails, payroll files, confidential law enforcement documents and even jail bookings.

The city says it could cost millions to fix the system and figure out the damage the tampering might have caused.

Prosecutors haven't given a motive, but police say Childs recently had been disciplined at work.