Sometime prior to 2011, Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer collected 114,000 email addresses belonging to iPad 3G users and AT&T subscribers, and turned the addresses over to the website Gawker. Gawker proceeded to publish some of the addresses, partially redacted, and the FBI opened an investigation. Auernheimer was charged and found guilty of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act following trial in 2012. He was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment, and has thus far served 12 months.
As reported in the Guardian, “Weev’s” lawyers are arguing today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for his conviction to be overturned. Auernheimer’s attorneys contend that he did not commit any crime because AT&T’s security was so lax that its customers’ email addresses were effectively publicly available.
The case is being followed closely by those interested in cyber law who are worried about the effect of Auernheimer’s conviction on the willingness of persons to report security and privacy flaws. Prominent computer scientists, academics, and researchers, including the Mozilla Foundation and a former technologist for the Federal Trade Commission, have asked the Court of Appeals to overturn “Weev’s” conviction.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. — Abraham Lincoln