The Life of an Ex-Hacker Who is Now Banned From Using the Internet 

By Sarah Zhang on at

When programmer Higinio Ochoa wants to share a batch of new code with his boss, he has to post it in on paper. Why the roundabout process? Ochoa is a convicted hacker, and his punishment is that he is not allowed to use the internet.

Back in 2012, Ochoa was part of an Anonymous-affiliated hacker group called Cabin Cr3w breaking into police databases. As, you know, hackers do, Ochoa liked to taunt his targets, and one of the things he’d do is post this bikini photo with the sign. This photo would be his downfall, its unscrubbed metadata leading the FBI to his door. Three years later, Ochoa has been to prison and back. His parole agreement still prohibits him from connecting to the internet.

That makes life pretty weird, especially if you’re working as a programmer. Reply All—almost certainly the best podcast about the internet—recently caught up with Ochoa living his internet-less life. (That woman in the bikini photo, by the way, that’s his wife now.) Ochoa can’t touch anything that’s connected to the internet, be it a tablet, phone, or smartwatch. His wife has to browse through Netflix for him, and when he’s not posting in code, his wife is the one who emails it in to his boss.

It certainly makes things inconvenient, but Ochoa doesn’t seem so unhappy to be missing out on the internet’s daily churn. Read more about his life on Digg, or better yet, listen to the Reply All podcast below.

Top image: Screenshot from CabinCr3w’s final message on YouTube.