Since its creation, the internet has had an amazing capacity for both good and evil. In an attempt to thwart those who seek to do wrong both state and federal laws have been put into place to fight various forms of internet crimes. The bounds of theses laws are constantly being tested as new cases are brought to trial.
The recent sentencing of an alleged hacker is one such case. The 27-year-old man was convicted in federal court in Newark of identity theft and conspiracy to gain access to computers. These charges were brought after he allegedly gained access to AT&T's servers and stole over 100,000 email addresses of iPad users. The email addresses were passed on to the Gawker website where they were reprinted. Public figures like Mayor Michael Bloomberg had their private email addresses compromised.
The man's attorney plans to appeal the 41-month federal prison sentence. He believes the law is too broadly written and should not apply to his client because no real harm was done to any of the individuals that had their emails compromised. The crime of identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data through the use of fraud or deception. This crime is usually associated with some form of economic gain. Since the defendant in this case did not receive any financial gain from his actions, there may be merit to the appeal.
Alleged crimes involving the internet are an ever-evolving area of law. Charges of internet crimes require a skilled criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about federal criminal procedure and can provide an aggressive defense.
Source: nj.com, "Infamous iPad hacker sentenced in Newark to 41 months in federal prison," Dan Goldberg, March 18, 2013