Dely. (tehdely) wrote,

Then they came for Weev...

By the time this entry is posted, my friend Andrew Auernheimer (a-k-a weev) will be ambling into court to be sentenced, most likely to a few years in Federal prison.

Upon his conviction, I offered first to attend his sentencing in person, and then revised that to sending a letter to the judge. Eventually, I did draft such a letter, but never sent it.

I did not send it, because its contents were too honest. As written, it would not do him a bit of good. To write a sentencing letter, I'm supposed to opine on his fine character and his importance to me and my community. The truth is that Weev can be a pretty odious individual, and having him in my life has brought me easily as much harm as good.

I remarked on these things in my letter and then got to the main thrust of it: that his prosecution is a sign of a justice system run amok, avenging the hurt feelings of corporations at the expense of an innocent man, exploiting the emotions of a technophobic public (in the form of a jury) in the process.

Unfortunately, those arguments, albeit true, would have fallen on deaf ears. And that, of course, is our problem.

The prosecution of Andrew is a crazy and criminal act. To consider his sharing of iPad users' email addresses with a reporter a form of identity theft requires a degree of credulousness that boggles the mind. It does not matter that he did it for personal gain (in this case: for fame and the lulz). A reasonable stranger would understand that "Fraud in Connection with Identity" involves extracting some sort of gain from the information itself: not, as Andrew did, from the fact of having discovered the information.

To consider requesting data from a public web service to be "Unauthorized Access to a Computing Device" because a company said so after the fact requires a craven disregard for the basic foundations of our justice system. A reasonable person would understand this, and also understand why the analogy of burglarizing a house with an unlocked door does not apply. AT&T's iPad activation server was, for all intents and purposes, a garden-variety web service. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

It was possible to prosecute Andrew because we as a society are more and more dependent on devices and services that we understand less and less. Our entire lives in the West are mediated by technology that most of us can barely operate. This ignorance breeds fear of those who can wrangle these systems. It breeds turd-flinging contempt for those who can be painted as having breached some sort of social contract regarding these systems.

It matters not at all that the real people betraying our trust with technology are the very corporations manufacturing and selling it. Instead, we direct our ire at the person who would show that said corporations have no clothes. Andrew is being prosecuted to satisfy a corporate vendetta, and the jury that found him guilty are victims of the very ignorance that will eventually enslave us all.

Learn to hack. Learn to break things. Call out dishonesty when you see it. Call out breaches of trust. Break out of your dot-com-yuppie cloistered existence, where everyone around you has a "clue". If your family and friends and people in the larger community don't understand who's fucking them, then the Man will eventually come for you next. Your stupid Ruby skills aren't going to save you. Not for long.
Tags: free weev
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