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Providing criminal defense services to
clients throughout the East Bay and
its surrounding areas.

Alleged Anonymous hackers facing prison for Internet crime

The Bay Area has the reputation of being the location of some of the country’s most prestigious computer and software industries. Many talented computer engineers get their start here; also, many people can find themselves facing a hacking charge, even if they had been unaware that their actions would have serious charges.

The infamous hacking group Anonymous is well-known for its sophisticated methods of hacking into government, commercial, and private sites and wreaking havoc. The group is notorious for being almost impossible to track. However, in 2011, 14 people had been located and charged with helping Anonymous to launch a cyber attack against the Internet payment company PayPal. These people face years of prison time, despite many of them asserting that they had no idea clicking on a button to support the group’s objectives would lead to criminal charges.

One man, a former student at Devry University, lost his girlfriend, his job, and many of his friends. Others in his situation have faced difficulties finding jobs, and most have had anxiety issues and depression while wondering for over two years whether they would end up in prison.

Last week, the defendants attended a closed-door hearing in San Francisco in hopes of reaching a settlement that could help them avoid prison time. Some people say the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is unnecessarily harsh, punitive, and too broad, imposing prison terms for even mild computer crimes.

The fate of the “PayPal 14” is still unknown. It will be interesting to see whether the ruling inspires changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that will be more lenient on computer users who may not know exactly what they’re getting into when they click to support certain causes.

Source: Source: Huffington Post, “Alleged ‘PayPal 14’ Hackers Seek Deal To Stay Out Of Prison After Nearly 2 Years In Limbo,” Ryan J. Reilly, May 18, 2013


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