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Machado Case

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Guide to the Supporting Documents

We have provided a set of supporting documents that should help the teacher of this case provide depth and analysis for much of the case. The material is not essential to the case (only the actual case narrative is) but the more of this material you read, the more nuance you will find in the case.

Case Narrative

The case narrative materials provide only information up until the time the directors of the Office of Academic Computing realize they must make a decision about whether to refer the case to the police. This nicely puts students in the decision-makers’ seat. But after a rousing discussion of what should have been done, you might be left wondering what decisions the main actors actually made. This document provides answers to those questions.

The case history is an overview of the case from Machado’s background as an immigrant to his serving a sentence for a hate mail crime. It serves as a short history and guide to the case to give you your bearings.

Several RFCs

These RFCs are from the archive provided at the Internet Encyclopedia We include them here so students can see the social and ethical issues that are intertwined in the design of a technical system. From our perspective today, we can see the privacy issues that are looming with the finger program. But it was much harder to foresee them then.

RFC 742, Early description of Finger, 1977: This early description of the finger protocol is designed to allow finger to be done across a network. There are no references to social or ethical issues that this might produce, and that would call for later changes in the protocol.

RFC 821, Description of SMTP, 1982: This early description of SMTP is focussed entirely on issues of efficiency and reliability in the design of the protocol. Later additions to SMTP add other concerns, like security and privacy. The additions can be found in later RFCs at the site mentioned above.

RFC 1288, A later description of Finger, 1991: This recent version of a finger implementation shows careful concern for privacy issues.


Background on Email

This is a short discussion of some psychological and social issues that may make flaming easier to do in email than in face to face. It also includes some practical guidelines for those using electronic mail.

Interview with Allen Schiano

Allen Schiano was the Manager of Core Services for the Office of Academic Computing at the University of California, Irvine. In that role, he was in charge of the labs that Machado used to send his hate mail. He was one of the administrators who confronted Machado and asked him to leave. He kindly consented to this interview, and we are grateful.


This timeline includes both Machado’s personal history, the history of the case as presented in the narrative, and Machado’s escape and eventual trial and sentencing.

Useful Links

These are a links we think will allow you to do more research on the legal issues in this case, on UCI, and on other issues that surround the use of email.


In addition to an attempt at a comprehensive bibliography, we provide annotations to those references that we think would be the most useful to students of this case.