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Appeal filed to free AT&T hacker Weev

Andrew Auernheimer found an iPad security flaw
Tue Jul 02 2013, 16:13
A pair of hands resting on prison bars

SECURITY RESEARCHER Andrew 'Weev' Auernheimer is appealing his 41 month prison sentence in the US.

Auernheimer was sentenced this spring, effectively for having impersonated an iPad, and in doing so, copying iPad information from AT&T servers. He was convicted by a jury in late autumn 2012.

Information was compromised in the hack, but none was leaked. Auernheimer and the rest of a team calling itself Goatse Security tipped journalists and reportedly AT&T to the vulnerability.

When he was sentenced he was taken away immediately, and while he was initially able to send some tweeted messages from jail, these soon stopped.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the appeal was filed on Monday in San Francisco.

"The government set out to make an example of Auernheimer," said EFF staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury in a blog post announcing the filing of the appeal.

"But the only message this sends to the security-research community is that if you discover a vulnerability, you could go to jail for sounding the alarm."

The case preceded that of Aaron Swartz, the document liberator who committed suicide in despair over draconian federal prosecution, but the EFF said that it shares similarities, not least of all the same punitive government.

"Anyone who cares about the free flow of information on the internet should be concerned about this case," said trial lawyer Tor Ekeland.

"The government is criminalizing computer behavior that millions of Americans engage in every day. The government's reckless and myopic prosecution of Auernheimer for obtaining public information from a public website endangers that vital aspect of the internet and our national economy, which depends on the free flow of information."

The appeal argues that the government's flawed prosecution undermines the legitimacy of Auernheimer's conviction and prison sentence. µ

 

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