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Appeals Court overturns conviction of AT&T hacker "Weev"

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Appeals Court overturns conviction of AT&T hacker
You might remember back in November 2012 when hacker Andrew Auernheimer, known as "Weev," was found guilty of stealing the email addresses and personal information of 120,000 Apple iPad users, from AT&T's servers. Four months later, Auernheimer was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. He also had to pay a $73,000 fine. The hacker was working as a security researcher, when he discovered a flaw in the website used by AT&T customers with the Apple iPad, to sign up for 3G service.

Auernheimer's conviction was tossed on Friday by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, because of a technicality. According to the Appeals court, "Weev" was charged in the wrong court. Authorities had charged him under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) after Auernheimer allegedly sold the information to Gawker, and the publisher posted the information in redacted form. Auernheimer's attorneys argued that for CFAA to apply, "Weev" would have had to break into AT&T's servers. Instead, as one of his attorneys pointed out, he merely found a flaw in AT&T's system and exploited it.

But that was not the issue that appeals court focused on. Instead, the three-judge federal appellate panel said that holding the trial in New Jersey was not the right venue for it, as it is more than 1000 miles from Auernheimer's home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The government argued that because 4500 email addresses stolen by the defendant were from people living in New Jersey, the trial was held in the proper venue.

Now that the conviction is overturned, the government could decide to refile the charges. After all, "Weev" didn't express any remorse, just regrets that he gave AT&T time to patch the exploit before he turned over the stolen info to Gawker. "I won't nearly be as nice next time," he said. But the government could have its hands tied. The lawyer who represented the defendant, Hanni Fakhoury, said that the a new trial is barred by double jeopardy.

source: Scribd, ArsTechnica via GSMArena

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posted on 13 Apr 2014, 01:40 1

1. lllIIIlllIIl (banned) (Posts: 48; Member since: 11 Apr 2014)

Waste of tax payers dollars…..

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 01:54 2

2. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 533; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)

Was the photo taken at the barber shop? "A number 2 back and sides and a little bit off the top thanks"

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 01:56 2

3. Derekjeter (Posts: 1087; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

Yes let's waste money in putting this looser in jail, but let's not pay attention to dumb spit that other real thieves are doing. Yep that's america. I really do hope we end up like other poor countries where regular people can punish corrupt politicians and other criminals. Please god let it be.

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 11:45 4

6. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Wow...you called this a looser....lol...ironic...anyway..the guy should be thanked for finding a security hole and should be employed by a tech company looking to make data around the world more secure...throwing him in jail was a waste of money and time...

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 04:03 1

4. tigermcm (Posts: 860; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)

email addresses and personal info.....if it was emails, name, and usernames its petty to me but physical addresses and SSNs is a diff story

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 09:06 1

5. engineer-1701d (unregistered)

even physical addresses is not wrong your address is already in the white pages and cell phone look ups and thats legal. so the guy used his skills and showed a att mess up get over it att should hire him or make a deal he works for them hack checking sites they do so he does not have to pay the 75k. stop wasting my money gov.

posted on 13 Apr 2014, 18:28 1

8. Miracles (Posts: 560; Member since: 31 Aug 2013)

Waste of PAPER...look at that pdf...those margins remind me of BEZELS 0_0

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 10:23 1

9. drughater (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 Oct 2011)

Soooo...everyone that thinks what this guy did isn't a jail worthy offense, please send me your e-mail addresses, physical addresses, cell phone numbers (please include your IMEI numbers) and other biographical details that you deem to be worthless...and I will be more than happy to show you what can be with that information. Thanks in advance!!

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 13:26 2

10. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

He should be retried in Arkansas then. If your local grocery store forgets to lock their front door, you're still guilty of theft if you walk in and steal some T-bones.

You want to play hacker with the big boys, you need to man up and do your time when you're not good enough to remain anonymous.

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