Remember Weev? He’s the “hacker” activist who is now 1 year into a 41 month sentence for being capable of doing math. Math, apparently a scary thing here in the United States, wasn’t his only crime. Weev found publicly available information that AT&T irresponsibly made available to anyway with a web browser. Instead of punishing AT&T, Weev was sentenced to prison and actually had to pay AT&T for their screwup. Now it’s been revealed that the prosecutor didn’t even understand what Weev did. How can one be judged by a jury of his peers when his peers don’t even understand what happened?
Let me explain exactly what happened. Weev noticed that by adding 1 to his user ID on AT&T’s website he could see other user’s information. He contacted AT&T, but they did nothing to fix it. So, he wrote a small program that can visit websites. That program (actually a very simple script) went to the webpages, then added 1 to the URL, and went to another page. Every time it loaded a page, it saved the text from it. Your browser does something like this automatically anyway. He then took that information to the media, as proof that AT&T were endangering customers.
The prosecutor, on the other hand, recently blew off his mouth, essentially admitting that he had no clue what Weev actually did.
We have a case here where…[the defense] is arguing that this was completely open to everyone. But you look at the testimony of Daniel Spitler and the steps he had to take to get to this wide open Web and I’m flabbergasted that this could be called anything other than a hack. He had to download the entire iOS system on his computer. He had to decrypt it. He had to do all sorts of things—I don’t even understand what they are.
First of all, the prosecutor was correct when he said it wasn’t accessable to everyone. This information was only available to anyone with a web browser and Internet access. Then he called it a “wide open web”, which is close to calling the Internet a series of tubes. He even mentions decryption, which no, he did no decryption before finally admitting he didn’t understand what happened. That’s right, this idiot prosecuted a young man for a crime of using the Internet, which he doesn’t understand. That guy is now in jail because a prosecutor with no knowledge of the facts convinced a jury that something much worse happened than what actually happened.
AT&T put customers at risk by making their information publicly available, yet it was the person who tried to call them out on it who was punished. Now it’s revealed that those who prosecuted him had no idea what they were doing, nor the precedent they were setting. Weev still has two and a half years left of his sentence, for which he’s spent some time in solitary confinement. This makes a complete mockery of our legal system, and proves how the system is biased towards corporations over the individual. It’s also sad to see how people are willing to prosecute someone for something they don’t understand. It really is an example of one of the darker parts of humanity, that part that judges people based on preconceived notions or what they’ve been told to believe. Perhaps that’s why technology fans have made such a big deal over this issue. Well, that and the fact that we all know how to do exactly what Weev did, and could have done it in a few minutes, and we could have been prosecuted by ignorant lawyers as well. Both are not comforting faults.