Internet troll and hacker Andrew Auernheimer — better known by his web moniker Weev — was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison Monday for gaining access to AT&T's servers and stealing more than 100,000 email addresses of iPad users.
Auernheimer was convicted in November of identity theft and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers.
According to prosecutors, Auernheimer was part of a group that tricked AT&T's website into divulging the email addresses, including those of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, film mogul Harvey Weinstein and other celebrities.
The group shared the addresses with the website Gawker, which published them in redacted form. A second defendant has pleaded guilty, but Auernheimer refused to go down the same path.
In a recent interview with New Tech City, he said that he was innocent and likened his actions to demonstrating that AT&T's front door was unlocked.
"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."
Before he was sentenced, he criticized the government for an unfair prosecution before a federal judge in Newark, New Jersey, and he continued to tweet until he headed into court.
No matter what the outcome, I will not be broken. I am antifragile.— Andrew Auernheimer (@rabite) March 18, 2013
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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1984 law that many legal experts and proponents of internet freedom have criticized and out of date.
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 told New Tech City in a recent interview.
Most recently, Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys was indicted under the CFAA for leaking information to the hacker collective Anonymous in an internet chat room.
With the Associated Press.