Hacker Weev, (real name Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer), made headlines again today when the federal court of appeals overturned his sentence of 41 months in prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act when he hacked into an AT&T site that allowed him with ease to take 114, 000 email addresses through a flaw in their security. Weev, an internet security analyst, then offered the information to the website Gawker, which posted partial pieces of the emails provided to show this error to people who were at risk.
This prompted an FBI investigation into the matter which lead to Weev's arrest. That then spurred an outrage in the internet security community, stating that his conviction would actually damage internet security, leaving those who find mishaps in security fearful of persecution if they try to warn the public. Indeed, many companies have waited far too long to admit security breaches in the past, leaving thousands, if not millions, to suffer the damage. However, it wasn't this line of common sense thinking that overturned the previous ruling. It was location.
Hacker Weev was arrested in Alabama where the supposed crime took place, however the district attorney decided to move Weev to New Jersey, where support for a guilty verdict was considerably higher. This supported Weev's attorney's belief that his client was not being judged by his peers, but by an audience who was ready to hand down a guilty verdict before the trial even began.
"Because we conclude that venue did not lie in New Jersey, we will reverse the District Court's venue determination and vacate Auernheimer's conviction," stated the federal appeals court on Friday.
Hacker Weev's defense states that Auernheimer didn't even commit a crime, based on how the breach was so lax that anyone could have easily obtained the emails through other, more public means. Yet in 2012 a jury found him guilty regardless, and Weev was placed behind bars. He would spent 12 long months before his appeal would be heard.
Still, while Auernheimer has the support of both the Mozilla Foundation and Edward Felten, a former technologist for the Federal Trade Commission, (as well as computer scientists and a large portion of the general population), some feel that just by being who he is, Hacker Weev belongs behind bars. And they do have a point.
Auernheimer is known throughout the hacker community as a major troller, as well as a snide and often racist human.His business, Goatse Security, was named after a controversial shock site rife with obscenities, while Weev himself has been tied to an internet trolling group known for spreading racial hatred around the web. Many feel that one good act shouldn't turn a blind eye on the cruel activities Weev seemed all too happy to be part of. Overall, however, the new ruling seems to stretch beyond Hacker Weev and his band of misfits, and those who take their job seriously when it comes to internet security are finally able to release a long-held breath.
Advocates of Hacker Weev "are convinced that overturning his conviction will help security and privacy, not harm it," a court brief conferred, that was catalogued by Stanford Law professor Jennifer Granick. "The alternative empowers private entities to force the public to turn a blind eye to their security and privacy missteps."
New post: "AT&T hacker Andrew 'Weev' Auernheimer's fraud conviction gets reversed" http://t.co/7HSRQwIsgx
— eng gdt (@mshgadget) April 11, 2014
Hacker Andrew '#Weev' Auernheimer's conviction thrown out http://t.co/IsANub0tng pic.twitter.com/0OarHFHXc6Interested in more about Weev's appeal? Inquisitr's James Johnson has the gritty details: http://www.inquisitr.com/584049/convicted-att-hacker-andrew-weev-auernheimer-hires-new-lawyer-files-appeal/
— Anonymous Operations (@AnonRRD) April 11, 2014
Then follow James into "the hole" to discover why a tweet from prison landed Weev in solitary: http://www.inquisitr.com/660729/andrew-weev-auernheimer-placed-in-solitary-after-tweeting-from-prison/