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UK Judge Rules For US-Extradition of Alleged FBI Hacker Lauri Love

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Following up on previous coverage (here and here) of alleged British hacker Lauri Love, a 31-year-old British citizen who has Asperger’s syndrome, UK judge Nina Tempia ruled yesterday that Love can and should be extradited to the US to face charges filed in three federal courts. 

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In her ruling, Tempia said:

Mr. Love has not shown it will be either unjust or oppressive to extradite and there will be a real risk to Mr. Love of being severely ill-treated.

Had the judge decided that such conditions were met, Love could have avoided ever being prosecuted in the US, where he can face life imprisonment for his alleged crimes. His extradition is not yet a concrete reality, however, as Love still has time to appeal the ruling by Judge Tempia. The case will be referred to Home Secretary Theresa May, who ultimately will decide whether or not the UK should extradite one of its citizens. In the past, the UK has chosen not to extradite alleged hackers who suffered mental illness, most notably Gary McKinnon, who never faced trial in the United States.

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Love’s alleged activities against the US Federal Reserve and other systems in the US were part of an operation by the hacktivist group Anonymous. The particular operation was called #Oplastresort and was in response to the treatment of Reddit creator Aaron Swartz, who eventually killed himself as a result of being charged for redistributing information from a closed-source educational database. Love is perhaps one of the most notable alleged hackers to be charged with crimes related to the group since the group first became active. Love’s lawyers believe that his treatment in the US prison system would be harsh at best. Tor Eckland, his US-based attorney, said of the matter:

I think, along with almost everything in the US penal system, the mental health care is sub-standard at best. It’s kind of atrocious to throw somebody who is suicidal into solitary confinement, but that’s what they do.

While no UK charges have been filed against Love to date, there is a chance that if he were to win against his extradition, the UK government would come up with charges in relation to the same activities. Love has continually pressed for the return of his computer equipment since it was seized.

Love has a great deal of grassroots support. A group called Courage Love has been supporting him and raising funds to pay for his legal fees. The group believes that chief among grievances with Love’s case is “an unfair extradition treaty with the US.” Tor Eckland downlplays the actual severity of the alleged crimes, telling the press recently:

It’s important to note that none of this information was top secret. I don’t really think any of it was that sensitive. It mainly, as far as I can tell from the indictments, consisted of names, phone numbers, email addresses and a couple of instances where there were credit card numbers which don’t appear ever to have been used anywhere.

US laws against hacking are particularly harsh and have been since before the advent of the Worldwide Web, with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act handing out mandatory minimum sentences for crimes which are outlined in very vague, antiquated terminology.

Whether Lauri Love is ultimately extradited or further harassed by the UK government remains to be seen, but Hacked will follow the case and report accordingly.

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Alleged FBI Hacker Lauri Love Ordered to US Extradition by UK Home Secretary

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The long-running court saga of Lauri Love, a British hacker and activist accused of compromising and stealing data from the likes of the FBI, NASA and the US Federal Reserve has been ordered by the UK’s home secretary for his extradition to the United States.

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31-year-old Love who has Asperger’s syndrome launched a legal challenge to avoid his extradition to the U.S., following a court ruling by a UK judge in September 2016. Love, who suffers from depression and eczema argued against the extradition ruling, claiming it could lead him to a mental breakdown or suicide. Despite his plea, the ruling district judge, Nina Tempia, determined that Love would be cared for by medical facilities in the United States, while accepting that Love suffered “both physical and mental issues.”

On the other side of the pond, Love potentially faces legal proceedings in three different US jurisdictions, reports the Guardian. Meanwhile, the UK home secretary had been given a deadline of November 16, in order to decide if Love was to be extradited or not. A day before the deadline, Rudd signed the order for Love’s extradition to the US. His lawyers believe he faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted of charges related to hacking.

The UK Home Office stated that Rudd had “carefully considered all relevant matters” before ruling:

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[Love] has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies.

The case drew parallels to that of Gary McKinnon, a British hacker whose extradition to the US was blocked by Theresa May in 2012, as the home secretary at the time.

Love’s legal battle with the ruling garnered support from The Courage Foundation, whose acting director Sarah Harrison stated:

The US has ruthlessly persecuted hackers and digital activists for years, and nobody expects that to improve under President Trump. Theresa May set a good example by protecting Gary McKinnon back in 2012. For a home secretary in her government now to willingly send a brilliant and vulnerable UK citizen to Donald Trump’s America beggars belief.

Love was bailed earlier this year in June when US prosecutors were already doing plenty to extradite him stateside.

Lori’s alleged hacking endeavors were a part of #Oplastresort, an operation by Anonymous, the global hacktivist collective. This particular operation was in response to the treatment endured by Aaron Swartz a prominent programmer and hacktivist. Swartz faced 35 years In prison, asset forfeiture and a million dollars in fines with two counts of wire fraud. Swartz committed suicide for his alleged computer crimes.

Love’s legal defense is certain to bring up the unfortunate series of events that led to Swartz committing suicide under the threat of persecution. Love has 14 days to appeal against Rudd’s order and will almost certainly do so.

Images from YouTube/AP.

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WikiLeaks: Podesta Received E-mails On Extraterrestrial Disclosure

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While most fallout from the Podesta emails has been political, there are extraterrestrial implications for some of the e-mails released by whistleblower source WikiLeaks. 

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An email on behalf of Apollo astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta turned up in the recent data dumps. The email was sent by Rebecca Wright of the Institute of Exoconsciousness. 

Mitchell requested in an email dated July 29, 2014 to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss extraterrestrial disclosure, but was partially rebuffed.

“Fifty years ago Battelle, Brookings and RAND studies on UFOs convinced the government to remove knowledge of the extraterrestrial presence from the citizens of our country. These organizations advised with their best information. However, today much, if not most, of the extraterrestrial reality they examined is known by our citizens,” the e-mail states. “These organizations’ resultant strategies and policies of 50 years ago no longer hold credibility or benefit.” Mitchell says a well-informed public is important to further disclosure. 

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Podesta’s secretary wrote Mitchell saying Mr. Podesta would rather meet alone before arranging a meeting with Obama. A Skype meeting was scheduled for Aug 11, but whether or not the meeting happened is unclear. Mitchell died in February 2016.

According to the leaks, former Blink 182 frontman Tom Delonge emailed John Podesta twice about extraterrestrial beings.

“Things are moving with the project. The novels, films and nonfiction works are blooming and finishing,” DeLonge said in an October 2015 email to Podesta. “I would like to bring two very ‘important’ people out to meet you in DC. I think you will find them very interesting, as they were principal leadership relating to our sensitive topic.” DeLonge emailed again later.

“When Roswell crashed, they shipped it to the laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. General McFasland was in charge of that exact laboratory up to a couple years ago,” DeLonge wrote. “He not only knows what I’m trying to achieve, he helped assemble my advisory team. He’s a very important man.”

Hacked reported in 2015 that DeLonge was working on various ET-related projects, and the former pop-punk superstar, whose 1999 album Enema of the State sold 15 million copies worldwide, has since released books and plans to release a documentary on extra terrestrials.

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12 Hacktivists You Should Know About

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Hacktivism, a phenomenon specific to the digital age, represents the subversive use of computers and computer networks. The term was coined by the Cult of the Dead Cow in 1994.

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Hacktivists represent a broad range of personalities and goals. They’ve recently played a greater role in the collective conscious as cyber attacks at banks and governments become a more regular occurrence.

1. Edward Snowden

President Obama once said of Edward Snowden: “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”

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Edward Snowden became notorious after blowing the whistle on mass surveillance in the United States and abroad. It’s been estimated that, since the whistleblowing, Snowden is one of the most powerful figures on Twitter.

2. Aaron Swartz

Aaron_Swartz_4_at_Boston_Wikipedia_Meetup,_2009-08-18American hacktivist Aaron Swartz took part in the development of the web feed format RSS, as well as the organization Creative Commons. A partner in Reddit, he ultimately committed suicide while under federal investigation for data-theft.

Arrested by MIT police on January 6, 2011, Swartz faced breaking-and-entering charges due to installing a computer in an Institute closet to download academic journal articles from JSTOR. Federal prosecutors charged him with two counts wire fraud and eleven violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Swartz faced $1 million in fines and 35 years in prison. Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. When prosecution rejected his counteroffer, he was found dead by hanging in his Brooklyn apartment two days later. In June 2013, Swartz was posthumously inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame.

3. The Jester

Who The Jester is, nobody knows. He claims responsibility for many, many DoS (Denial of Service) attacks against WikiLeaks, Islamist sites, homophobic sites and the President of Iran. He claims responsibility for developing DoS software, XerXes.

With Wikileaks in the news, almost makes you wonder: Where’s The Jester now?

4. Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown worked closely with Anonymous. The former writer was not a formidable coder or hacker, but he became a marketing figure for the hacking group, including news appearances. Brown has faced numerous charges related to hacking. In January 2015, he was sentenced to 63 months. 

5. Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu) 

Sabu co-founded Lulzsec, going onto receiving press attention after a 50-day hacking spurt targeting the likes of the CIA, Fox, Stratfor, and the US Senate and others. Sabu later turned away from hacktivism, becoming an informant for the FBI and working for them for more than ten months. 

6. Jake Davis (Topiary)

This once active member of Anonymous moved onto LulzSec. During a court appearance in 2011, he pleaded guilty to a charge related to a hack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency’s (SOCA) website. Davis ran the LulzSec Twitter account. Details on his computer leaked him to a hack of Sony. 

7. Oxblood Ruffin

Canadian hacker Oxblood Ruffin is the “Foreign Minister” of the Cult of the Dead Cow network, a hacktivist group. Oxblood can often be seen in the media criticizing the actions of Anonymous and LulzSec

8.  Deric Lostutter (KYAnonymous) 

When two members of an Ohio high school football team were charged with the rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl, Lostutter helped leak a video of two Ohio high school football players joking about the rape of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl. He faces charges for hacking a fan page of the football team and could face a 10-year prison sentence.

9. Ron Gonggrijp

This Dutch hacker speaks out against surveillance on citizens by governments and the lack of security in public electronic voting systems. He became a well-known teenage hacker and even appeared in the Jan Jacobs’s book Kraken en Computers (Hacking and computers, Veen uitgevers 1985, ISBN 90-204-2651-6) which details the early hacking scene in the Netherlands.  Authorities in the Netherlands and the United States considered him a “major security threat.’

10.  Jacob Appelbaum

Appelbaum, a Cult of the Dead Cow member, is reportedly a key player behind Tor and now an American journalist. He is the co-founder of the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge and has worked for kink.com and Greenpeace. Appelbaum was a trusted confidant of NSA’s Edward Snowden and had access to Snowden’s top secret documents during the 2013 global surveillance disclosure. 

11. Gary Mckinnon

Mckinnon is responsible for what’s called the “biggest military computer hack of all time.”  He hacked almost 100 American military and NASA servers in 13 months from 2001 to 2002.  His goal while hacking NASA was to discover evidence of extraterrestrials.

 “A NASA photographic expert said that there was a Building 8 at Johnson Space Center where they regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging,” he said. “I logged on to NASA and was able to access this department. They had huge, high-resolution images stored in their picture files. They had filtered and unfiltered, or processed and unprocessed, files.” 

12. John McAfee

The 2016 Presidential Candidate, John McAfee, had a run-in with authorities who he claims set him up for murder. He hacked every major computer of Belize government bureaucracies to prove his innocence. He found evidence that implicated officials in corruption, laundering, drug running and murder. He organized his own escape out of Belize to avoid arrest. He recently posted on social media he got into a shootout with police, though this was a joke. 

Featured image from YouTube/The Guardian.

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