Incident Response, TDR, Vulnerability Management

Save the U.S. anti-hacking law for the real hackers, not Assange

I'm sorry to hear that federal prosecutors, in a desire to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States to face charges for his role in the exposure of classified diplomatic cables, are turning to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for help.

Prosecutors, according to reports, are trying to determine whether Assange had any connection with Bradley Manning, the Army soldier who exceeded his privileges to exfiltrate some 250,000 secret records out of a State Department database and into the hands of WikiLeaks.

If they can establish such an association, prosecutors may be able to charge Assange with conspiracy.

I don't know, sounds like a stretch to me.

Our nation's anti-hacking law should be reserved for actual hackers, not those individuals who received leaked documents from whistleblowers and then passed them on to others, much like newspapers have done in the past.

But Attorney General Eric Holder appears committed to throwing significant resources at the case. Sigh.

Before we handcuff Assange as a hacker, I'd like to find the real computer fraudsters and abusers, you know, like the orchestators of the data-stealing Zeus trojan, which literally is bringing some small American business owners to their knees.

Or what about the criminals who recently stole email lists belonging to 105 companies, including Walgreens and McDonald's, in an apparent attempt to launch spam and spear phishing attacks?

I can go on and on about cold-hearted digital vandals and identity thieves who have ruined a lot of lives.

As for Julian Assange, we can debate all day whether to call him a journalist. I have my opinions, as I'm sure you have yours. Let's just say, I like openness, truth and transparency.

But let's agree on one thing, in his role as the founder of WikiLeaks, Assange is no hacker.

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