Federal appeals court overturns hacker Andrew Auernheimer’s conviction and sentence

Federal appeals court overturns hacker Andrew Auernheimer’s conviction and sentenceOn Friday, the Third U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and sentence of prominent computer hacker Andrew "weev" Auernheimer.

It was in 2012 that Auernheimer was convicted of obtaining nearly 120,000 e-mail addresses of iPad users from the AT&T website, and handing over the data to the Gawker website. Auernheimer was convicted in New Jersey.

Though the court vacated Auernheimer's computer hacking conviction and sentence - of more than three years - on Friday, it did not give any ruling on whether the Internet troll and hacker's actions amounted to a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

In its ruling the federal appeals court said that the Justice Department had inappropriately put Auernheimer on trial in New Jersey, despite the fact that his alleged hacking took place elsewhere. The three-judge panel highlighted the fact that Auernheimer's hacking activities occured in Arkansas, while a co-conspirator was found in California, and the AT&T servers accessed Auernheimer and his co-conspirator were in Texas and Georgia.

The panel ruled that Auernheimer's rights had been violated by the government by trying him in Newark "despite the absence of any apparent connection to New Jersey." The judges asserted that trying a person at the same "venue" where the crime was committed "has been fundamental since our country's founding."