This hacker might seem shady, but throwing him in jail is bad for everyone

On Friday, the U.S. government filed its brief in the appeal of Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, who was convicted of federal hacking charges for downloading hundreds of thousands of customer e-mail addresses from AT&T’s Web site. The government says the conviction was proper, but many security researchers and civil liberties advocates argue that the conviction would set a dangerous precedent. Confused? Read on.

Who’s Weev?

Weev’s real name is Andrew Auernheimer. He’s a security researcher and Internet provocateur who is facing felony hacking charges. No one, including Auernheimer himself, would describe him as a nice guy. But his case raises important questions about the freedom to conduct computer security research and to use software to gather information online.


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