Hacker Jeremy Hammond Issues Statement from Prison

Jeremy Hammond, who’s currently in solitary confinement at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center while awaiting trial for his involvement in the 2011 breach of Stratfor, recently published a statement online via the Sparrow Project.

“Hammond framed much of his argument around the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who was being prosecuted by federal authorities for allegedly downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a non-profit archive of academic journals, by tapping into the site from a computer wiring closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. … Hammond argued that Swartz’s ‘efforts to liberate the Internet’ made him a hero, not a criminal,” writes PCMag.com’s Chloe Albanesius. “But he fell victim to ‘the recent aggressive, politically motivated expansion of computer crime law where hackers and activists are increasingly criminalized because of alleged ‘cyber-terrorist’ threats,’ Hammond said.”

“Hammond’s words echo those of, among others, Swartz’s family and partner who blamed overzealous prosecutors and a flawed criminal justice system for driving the online activist to suicide over charges relating to downloading academic articles,” writes Salon.com’s Natasha Lennard.

“His strongest language, though, was reserved for the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) — a 1986 computer crime law that has grown to target a wide variety of otherwise innocuous electronic activity,” writes The Verge’s Jeff Blagdon. “‘The definition of a ‘protected computer’ has been incrementally expanded to include any government or corporate computer in or outside the U.S.,’ said Hammond, adding that ‘the CFAA should be found unconstitutional under the void-for-vagueness doctrine of the due process clause. Instead, Congress proposed bills last year which would double the statutory maximum sentences and introduce mandatory minimum sentences.'”

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska has denied Hammond’s lawyers’ request to recuse herself from his case due to the fact that Preska’s husband, Thomas Kavaler, was a victim of the Stratfor hack. “Preska said in her ruling that the prosecutors said an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined that the only item of Kavaler’s obtained during the Stratfor hack was his publicly available law firm e-mail address,” writes Bloomberg’s Patricia Hurtado. “She said … her husband also stated he was a client of Stratfor for a two-week trial period and never supplied the company with his personal credit card information.”

Hammond is next due in court on April 10, 2013.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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