Episode #22

Weev: Internet Troll or Freedom Fighter?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Internet troll Andrew Auernheimer (aka Weev) is facing up to 10 years in federal prison for breaching AT&T's servers.  On this week's New Tech City he explains why he believes his actions helped consumers and upheld American democratic ideals. 

"I won't take a plea because I won't bow to seditious thugs who want to prevent people from exercising their First Amendment rights," Auernheimer said. "I would sooner die than kneel to tyranny." 

In November Auernheimer was convicted of stealing 120,000 email addresses of iPad 3G users and disclosing them to Gawker. He told host Manoush Zomorodi he did not steal anything.  

"AT&T didn't put this behind a door," he said. "They were publishing this on the open internet by their own admission."

Like internet activist Aaron Swartz, Auernheimer was prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1984 law that many legal experts and proponents of internet freedom have criticized.

In July 2011, Swartz was indicted for illegally downloading 4.8 million documents from JSTOR, a database of scholarly articles. In January, he committed suicide as his trial was set to begin this spring.  

"What I did seems a lot more saintly," Auernheimer said. 

Also on this week's episode, Alan Paller, founder of the cybersecurity training school SANS, explains why Auernheimer and other hacktivists and internet trolls are not helping anyone.  

"They are creating damage to the people that they break into and making it OK for thousands and thousands of other people to break into things," Paller said. 


Andrew Auernheimer, Jordan Kovnot and Alan Paller

Hosted by:

Manoush Zomorodi

Produced by:

Wayne Shulmister and Daniel P. Tucker


Charlie Herman

Internet Troll Weev: Full Interview

Andrew Auernheimer (aka Weev) is a gray-hat hacker and self-described internet troll who is facing up to 10 years in prison for breaching AT&T's servers.

Comments [3]

Hackers Are Vigilantes, Cybersecurity Expert Says

Cybersecurity expert Alan Paller says hackers and internet trolls like Andrew Auernheimer (aka Weev) are nothing more than vigilantes. 


New Tech City: Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Is It Too Broad?

Jordan Kovnot is the privacy fellow at the Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy.


Comments [6]

Cyber Nonsense

Weev is nothing more than a troll and anyone supporting him needs to have their heads examined:

Feb. 13 2013 09:00 AM
Eli from Brooklyn

Letter to Ms. Zomorodi: I was dismayed by the fact that you called Weev "immature". You colored your listeners' views on this subject in a manner that does not stand up to journalistic standards. It is only more disturbing because Weev is challenging the foundations of our economy and society, and instead of dealing with the issues that he raises, you cut his legs out from under him by resorting to what amounts to name-calling and personal attacks. What makes you qualified to make sure a personal assessment of his character and broadcast it to your entire listenership?

Feb. 13 2013 08:43 AM
Robert from NYC

The greatest story here, is never touched on.
Both Andrew. A and Aaron. S are/have challenged the basic foundation of the Power-Elites; the basic foundations of the Law as established by a Capitalist System/Order. And here, political Democracy simply doesn't count.
The unbelievably long prison sentences that they have been, or potentially would have been sentenced to (in the case of Aaron S-- who committed suicide), indicated the seriousness with which the Capitalist Order takes their infraction of the Rules, on which this society is based on and which the Capitalist Elites have enacted.
If they would have been citizens of China, they would be the headline news here in the servile Capitalist Media. They would be hailed as .Freedon-Fighters', as Pro-Democracy' warriors in a Totalitarian State that doesn't allow expressions of 'freedom'.
Millions of newscasts would be broadcasted from China by self-righteous newscasters, who would proclaim this as further proof that even if there are criticisms allowed in China of some problems, the basic structure of the State i.e. the Communist Party --- cannot be criticized. They would tell us that the Party fears dissidents because they might cause chaos and the system wants stability --at all costs.
We would all go to bed smuggly feeling that we, on the other hand live in a Democracy where every sort of criticism is tolerated.
The unspoken truth however is, that this Capitalist Society is just as intolerant and totalitarian when it comes to people who might challenge the basic underpinnings of this society -- the real Power hiding behind the well guarded self serving Laws, as the big, bad, undemocratic China, is.
This is the question that we should be pondering in a supposed Democracy. That is, if in fact we were living in a society that everyone is made to believe, that we in fact live in.

Feb. 12 2013 11:13 AM
Chris from northern NJ

assuming no harm is done, anyone who can break into a commercial network is a hero and patriot. They expose weaknesses that can be exploited by our enemies -- it is better that security holes be shown the light of day, rather than quietly exploited.

Feb. 12 2013 10:29 AM
dizzy5 from upstate NY

Too much vocal fry from Valley Girl reporter. Unlistenable. I'm over at 'FAN until you all start broadcasting listenable radio and English.

Feb. 12 2013 08:14 AM
witness from New York City

A good presentation. It was short. But I think it worked. Keep at it.

Feb. 12 2013 06:09 AM

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