By Martin Kaste, NPR
A hacker who released more than 100,000 AT&T customer email
addresses will be sentenced in a federal courtroom in New Jersey on
Monday. Andrew Auernheimer exposed a security flaw on AT&T’s iPad
NPR’s business news starts with a hacking sentence.
This morning, a federal court in New Jersey is scheduled to sentence
Andrew for his much-publicized exposure of a security flaw on AT&T’s
iPad service. That was back in 2010.
As NPR’s Martin Kaste
reports, the sentencing of Andrew Auernheimer will be closely watched by
those who believe federal prosecutors have become overly zealous about
punishing certain kinds of hackers.
Auernheimer is not a pleasant person, at least not online. He calls
himself a troll, and he seems to delight in sounding racist or just
plain inflammatory – it’s hard to figure out where the irony starts and
stops. But he sounds earnest enough when he says he did society a favor
by taking more than 100,000 iPad users’ email addresses from an AT&T
website and then went public.
Chris Hoofnagle, who specializes
in Technology and Public Policy at Berkeley Law, says this kind of
online mischief might have some benefit.
all, we are talking about transparency, and many of us exist in a kind
of Disneyland of false belief that these systems are well-secured and
impervious against wrong-doers.”
In recent weeks,
Auernheimer has identified with Aaron Swartz, one of the creators of
reddit, and an Internet activist who committed suicide in January.
Swartz was also facing prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse
But Auerheimer’s case is somewhat muddied by his apparent
failure to warn AT&T of the vulnerability before he publicized it.
He was convicted on two felony counts last fall, and each charge carries
a potential maximum of five years in prison.