Monday, January 1, 2007

Newsflash: hacking is bad!

Those people, who know me, know that I am active in the San Diego Chapter of Protest Warrior, a national organization that counters leftist demonstrations in order to show the existence of the opposite opinion. About 2 years ago the Protest Warrior site was hacked by an "anarchist hacker", and all the personal information of the members across the nation was stolen. I even talked to FBI because of that. After all, I was one of the victims. Well, recently a fellow Protest Warrior directed me to this:

In a victory for free speech and property rights, Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to two years in federal prison to begin in January 2007. He must also pay $5,250 in fines and restitution and is barred from consorting with other "hacktivists" for three years following his sentence. Despite the light sentence, Hammond's imprisonment will undoubtedly send a message to would-be hackers that property rights and rule of law still apply.

The light sentence may be explained by unusual statements of fact and character that were made by Judge James B. Zagel during the sentencing hearing. As reported in the Chicago Tribune, Zagel brushed aside Hammond's plans to rob victims out of millions of dollars as a lapse in judgment rather than willful and malicious credit card fraud, saying, "all 19-year-olds are idiots." He also characterized the theft itself as "countering speech [Hammond] found wrong ." Considering Hammond's history of violence and crime, Zagel's bizarrely euphemistic characterization of Hammond's actions reveals a misplaced compassion.

Before Hammond's trial, he used the now-defunct website freejeremy -- archived here -- to plead with the Internet community for support. In his pathetic attempt to sway public opinion, he denied the allegations and claimed that he was "being targeted [sic] by law enforcement for his political activism." Hammond even went so far as to accuse Protest Warrior of fabricating the entire story. Fortunately, the evidence against him was so strong that even the most "compassionate" judge couldn't save him from a conviction.

During the course of the investigation, Protest Warrior intercepted a number of chat logs between Hammond and his anarchist cohorts. The logs include detailed plots to charge millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions, to publish personal and financial details of political activists, and to execute similar attacks on other conservative websites. Now that the trial is over and Hammond is about to be thrown in prison, Protest Warrior is preparing these logs for release to the public.

So, here is the moral of this story: protesting is OK, even if you hold brain-dead suicidal views of the Left. But hacking, stealing other people's personal information and threatening them with violence is illegal. You will go to jail for that.

No comments: