Anonymous hacktivist, Jeremy Hammond, who leaked millions of emails from security firm Stratfor, has been slapped with the maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Hammond claimed the harsh ruling was a “vengeful, spiteful act” designed to send a message.
In 2012, millions of emails were given to Wikileaks from Strategic Forecasting. They revealed a number of secret relationships between heads of government, for-profit military contractors, and intelligence agencies. They also alleged discrete foreign policy strategies, including the Czech Republic’s desire for F-16 fighter jets to defend against Russia and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s misgivings about President Barack Obama (note: the link to the F-16 story auto-plays an audible video feed).
The ruling has ignited calls for reform of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which governs the sentences for hacking crimes. Back in January, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren proposed a reform known as “Aaron’s Law,” named after the famed hacker Aaron Swartz who had killed himself in response to aggressive prosecution of hacktivist crimes.
The 27-year-old Hammond claims that he was the victim of FBI entrapment, baited indirectly through a fellow hacker named Sabu, who had been cooperating with officials after his own criminal charges.
“It is kind of funny that here they are sentencing me for hacking Stratfor, but at the same time as I was doing that an FBI informant was suggesting to me foreign targets to hit. So you have to wonder how much they really care about protecting the security of websites,” Hammond told The Guardian.
There have been several calls to reform the CFAA, but with Congress unable to solve healthcare and immigration issues, it’ll likely have to wait.
[Photo: Jim Newberry]