A US hacker wrongfully imprisoned and later set free on appeal is demanding the princely sum of 28,296 bitcoins in compensation.
Andrew Auernheimer was convicted of exploiting a flaw in AT&T's servers, exposing more than 114,000 iPad user email addresses, International Business Times reports, and spent 13 months of a 41-month sentence in prison before being freed on April, 11 2014.
Now, in an open letter to the US government, Auernheimer is demanding payment of 1BTC for every hour he spent in custody, calculating the total due at over US$13 million.
“I have, over the course of 3 years, been made the victim of a criminal conspiracy by those in the federal government,” he writes, “This was a conspiracy of sedition and treason, perpetrated with violence by a limited number of federal agents to deprive me of my constitutional rights to a fair trial and unlawfully put me in prison.”
Every man has his price
The letter was sent “to federal government” and is addressed explicitly to “the Honorable Susan D. Wigenton,” the district judge who originally sentenced Auernheimer and “US Attorney Paul J. Fishman, Assistant US Attorney Zach Intrater, and FBI Special Agent Christian Schorle,” whom Auernheimer claims were the main forces behind his wrongful conviction.
Auernheimer further alleges deprivation of his constitutional right to a fair trial, and insufficient services provided by the “overworked federal defender”, for whom he said he was forced to find “enough resources to fight the case while he was struggling to keep the lights in his office on.”
Immediately prior to his sentencing last year, Auernheimer posted on Reddit and included comments such as “My regret is being nice enough to give AT&T a chance to patch before dropping the dataset to Gawker. I won't nearly be as nice next time,” which were subsequently used to justify the prosecution’s verdict.
The Verge further noted at the time that “his controversial, often reactionary politics and talent for infuriating others with his real and feigned beliefs have gained him few allies.”
However, not all parties were entirely convinced even prior to Auernheimer’s release being granted. Independent journalist Tom Pool wrote of the trial, “I felt like I was watching a witch trial as prosecutors admitted they didn't understand computers.”
While the case highlights the complex problems of cybercriminality, the reception to Auernheimer’s letter by the community has so far been limited. A handful of Reddit users commented the news, citing various elements of the letter as being more detrimental to Auernheimer than to the federal justice system, while one even doubts the legitimacy of the letter itself.
News of a payout has yet to surface.
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