You’d better hope his appeal pans out…
Because if he doesn’t get the appeal, the precedent is set to make whistleblowing illegal.
Our illustrious government is using an incident in which a Andrew Auernheimer (aka “Weev”) as a premise to hold the individual accountable for breaking a law that in this case criminalizes a whistleblower…worse still – when a huge corporation tramples all over our privacy rights and leaves our data accessible to the public.
You see, ATT was making all their iphone customer account emails publicly accessible though a security hole so wide that anyone could do it. All they had to do was access the ATT website as an iphone with an x-digit id string as a variable. We’re talking about an easily modifiable URL here. This isn’t hacking, it’s public access.
You see, Weev blew the whistle on this undocumented feature of one of the most used telecommunication provider websites on the planet. He didn’t make the emails public, he didn’t publicize the process that was used, what he did do was make an example of how corporations ignore the laws they break and the rights they trample until they are publicly held accountable for them.
See, Weev here is no serving 40+ months for violating the CFAA’s authorization statutes from accessing publicly accessible information on the internet that ATT didn’t give him permission to access.
Again, this is a case whereby the individual is held as a criminal for publicizing the criminal activity of a corporation. Weev didn’t profit from this. He did however hand the whole story to the media on a silver platter.
For more details on the case you can access plenty of background info through this link:
…and Mashable’s article is really in-depth.