A member of the group that publicised the recent AT&T iPad security breach has violated a gag order to protest his treatment by the authorities.
Andrew Auernheimer, 24 (aka Weev), claims he has been thrown into a Kafkaesque nightmare after he helped publicise an AT&T/iPad security flaw that left 114,000 private email addresses publicly accessible. Days later Auernheimer was arrested after police found drugs including LSD and ecstasy during a search of his home.
Auernheimer, a member of the Goatse Security grey-hat hacker group, has broken a gag order to protest that his civil liberties have been violated, in part because he was refused a public defence lawyer. In a long and angry post, Auernheimer criticises the authorities for treating the iPad security breach case as a higher priority for prosecution than other similar cases.
The author of the iPad slurper script automated the process of collecting the email addresses and mobile phone numbers of early adopters, including public figures. Goatse Security claims it helped publicise the breach without taking part in the "hack" itself.
Goatse said a law firm used the same technique to extract data from the Anthem/Blue Cross insurance company but it, unlike Goatse, has escaped police attention. A security researcher who discovered a security flaw involving Foursquare also used similar techniques but again escaped sanction.
Auernheimer reckons Goatse has been made a special case because it publicised the security failings of two powerful corporations, Apple and AT&T.
"My actions and those of Goatse were not criminal; they were done using industry standard practices as a public service," Auernheimer writes. "All the actions of the original author of this exploit were not criminal. Scraping data from a public web server is an extremely common practice amongst lawyers, security researchers and journalists, not to mention web developers."
Auernheimer goes on to dispute the legality of the search of his home and to argue (at some length but with less coherence) that his case is important to civil liberties and free speech on the internet. He wants to inspire a grassroots campaign of letter writing to politicians about his case.
He also wants supporters reading his Hypocrites and pharisees post to send donations in support of a legal fund. ®