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School IT director loses job over space alien hunt

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The hunt for alien life led one Arizona man on a hunt for a new job.

Brad Niesluchowski used his role as information technology director of an Arizona school district to install SETI@home on computers at work. The free program, part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) at the University of California at Berkeley, downloads and analyzes data from a radio telescope constantly scanning the cosmos for galactic neighbors.

But by rigging PCs to look for ETs, Niesluchowski also swamped the school’s network and muddled legitimate class work, claims the school. The Higley Unified School District says it must now spend about a year and $1.2 million cleaning up the mess.

The mop up will include removing the software and alleged pornography, replacing 2,300 computer processors that burned out prematurely from the constant demand of running the SETI software, and a district-wide technology audit.

Niesluchowski resigned on October 22 to avoid being fired. However, he may still face broader charges as the police investigate the matter, according to the East Valley Tribune.


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