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Fourth 'Anonymous' Paypal activist avoids jail

Too much, too young
Mon Feb 04 2013, 09:49

THE FOURTH UK HACKTIVIST who faced imprisonment for participating in a digital sit-in at payment firm Paypal has avoided a jail sentence because he was 16 at the time.

Jake Birchall is the fourth Brit to end up in court over attacks that came under the Anonymous banner of "Operation Payback" in the wake of a financial blockade of Wikileaks.

In late January punishments were meted out against Christopher Weatherhead, Ashley Rhodes and Peter David Gibson. Weatherhead and Rhodes both got immediate jail sentences, while Gibson's is suspended for two years.

Birchall, who is now 18, had admitted conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011, according to a report at the Guardian, but has been afforded some leniency because of his age.

Judge Peter Testar would perhaps have liked to have gone in harder. He said that Birchall, who is apparently "isolated" would have had a "substantial" sentence were it not for his age. Instead the judge gave him an eight month youth rehabilitation order and 60 hours of community service.

Although the youngest in the group, Birchall had allegedly boasted that he was high up in the hacktivist group Anonymous. He was "No 2 most Anon", according to a transcript read out by prosecutor Joel Smith, and he allegedly controlled two servers used by a subset of the group. µ


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