I noticed the other day that "Weev" or Andrew Auernheimer (@rabite) was getting himself into people's feeds (was it Quinn Norton's) to note that he'd be sentenced soon and was hoping for support -- after all, Aaron Swartz is dead and you can't help him anymore, but the Weev is alive and all those people spouting about Internet "freedom" should save him if they value their own freedom.
Well, count me out. From all indications, it looks like he was properly arrested for hacking AT&T deliberately and maliciously. Good! He was let out on $50,000 bail that was somehow raised and has been stumping for his cause.
For some reason, he didn't like something I said on my Twitter feed that somebody else must have retweeted because first Asher_Wolf complained about me being in her Twitter stream (? She has me blocked) and then he ordered cryptically, "Don't ever cross the streams." Um, okay. I don't follow popular culture much. I missed that movie Ghostbusters, imagine that. He informed me that's where it's from.
I found some notes I had made on Weev some times ago when I read this article about him on Forbes. It was around the time I was reading and blogging about Tux Winkler (in Second Life) who was said to be related to LulzSec. It was about an entire caper called "The Wrong Hands" hack of a data base run by a superhero RP group called the Justice League Unlimited or whatever JLU stands for and how they gathered information to fight these griefers and hackers, then the griefers and hackers accused them of privacy violations, then they hacked them back and exposed them as gathering data on people, and then skipped and danced around endlessly trying to portray these files as terrible when they weren't really, or as harming people in RL, when there was scarcely anything from RL gathered.
I didn't sanction the vigilante JLU -- in fact, they got my critical blog post about them removed on fake DMCA grounds (a typical gambit) but I sure didn't sanction the Wrong Hands either -- there was that same taunting, nasty, table-turning fakery -- pretending they were psychologically disturbed, at worst, instead of needing a "year in the can," as Officer Krupke would explain it. Injured, but not innocent.
So around that time I came across Weev in Forbes and Gawker, and noticed that same assholery, that same taunting obnoxious fakery, pretending that you were doing someone a favour by hacking them, was present in this case: they were the classic alibis of 4chan, classic Woodbury University griefers in Second Life. Said Forbes:
The more vocal of those two young hackers, Andrew Auernheimer, has repeatedly claimed on his blog that the stunt was meant to raise awareness of a major security flaw in AT&T’s network, not to exploit the data for any malicious purpose. “AT&T needs to be held accountable for their insecure infrastructure as a public utility and we must defend the rights of consumers over the rights of shareholders,” Auernheimer wrote in a haughty open letter to U.S. attorney Lee Vartan in November.
Oh, nonsense. Nobody needs you to do that, asshole. Go away. If you really care about such a thing, a letter would do it -- you don't have to deliver the news by a destructive hack. Real consumer rights' groups don't have to destructively hack to make a point, they can use normal non-coercive advocacy.
If you read the Wikipedia and blog on this character, you see the classic MO -- vicious hatred of people that he himself is in fact attacking, not helping. Pretense that his malicious hacking and damaging of their business is "helping". The FBI pointed out that he had never contacted AT&T to warn them first, as he claimed. Bingo.
That's often the hallmark of these types -- they have a visceral, obsessive, unreasonable hatred of security flaws -- it's a kind of hysterical pose -- and a faux indignation that this is somehow some outrage committed on "the public". They warp this around to pretend indignantly that they are upright do-gooders and a help to society. Nonsense. If anything, it's like the Anonymous rape culture and rape logic that they share with the football team, even in a less harmful digital form -- you're wearing a short skirt, therefore they get to rape you with impunity.
They're like child abusers who sometimes exhibit an exaggerated concern for the welfare of the child they are actual harming, i.e. worrying if their hands are cold without their mittens even as they abduct them. It's a pattern that law-enforcers notice.
We've all seen it -- this haughty hatred of the company or website with some kind of SQYL flaw somewhere, which is all too common.
But is this just being arrested for trolling? Free speech? Snottiness isn't a crime, right?
Well, I disagree. It isn't about speech. It's about action -- hacking to exploit a flaw and force huge embarassment, loss of time and recovery expenses on a company. That's wrong. That's vandalism or a more serious felony under the CFAA.
Weev is now going to be sentenced on March 18 and is trying to gain sympathy. I have none. He is right where he needs to be. Should the sentence be compensurate with the crime? Sure. And will it be. That 35 years or 7 years or 5 years that we would always hear about with Swartz's case, and now hear about his will not happen. Of course not. Just watch.
Weev has tried to pretend he is a crusader for justice now:
On 29 November 2012, Auernheimer authored an article in Wired Magazine entitled "Forget Disclosure - Hackers Should Keep Security Holes to Themselves," advocating the disclosure of any zero-day exploit only to individuals who will "use it in the interests of social justice."
And he's compared himself to Swartz.
Here's another Second Life similarity, like the Patriotic Niggas griefing group:
Say, maybe he's a griefer in SL, too?
He denies the claims that he is an anti-semite, but just looking at his recent feed of the last few days on Twitter, I see him spouting about the Jewish-owned porn industry and Jewish usury and all the usual memes of the anti-semite. Probably he'll tell us it's a joke.
Having Jewish ancestry doesn't absolve your of your anti-semitic remarks, of course.
In any event, sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant and nasty fellow, but that in itself is not a crime. His crimes have been defined. It will very interesting to see his sentencing, most of all to see if there is any merit to the claim that there is a new "hacker crackdown" that is some sort of draconian outrage. I don't see that it is, and a hacker crackdown of some sort is needed so that these people do not take human rights and property rights away from the rest of us.
Ultimately, Weev is a culture-jammer. It's about "total protonic reversal". Don't let it happen to you!
P.S. You know what's funny? There isn't a single photo of Weev in Creative Commons on Flickr. You'll have to go there to see these gems.