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

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



10. Immolate

Posts: 310; Member since: Jun 17, 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.

9. drughater

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 15, 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!!

8. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 2013

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

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.

4. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 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

3. Derekjeter

Posts: 1580; Member since: Oct 27, 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.

6. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010 called this a 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...

2. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

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

1. lllIIIlllIIl

Posts: 48; Member since: Apr 11, 2014

Waste of tax payers dollars…..

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