Cybersecurity

Federal Hacking Case with No Hacking Goes to Jury

Man being tried for accessing a database he was given the password to

|

The same hacking statute internet sensation Aaron Swartz was being prosecuted under until his January suicide is quietly being tested in a San Francisco federal courtroom — to little fanfare in a case devoid of hacking in the traditional sense.

Swartz's case and his untimely death set off a firestorm across the internet to reform the hacking law known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — a statute many suggested the government was abusing. The Swartz prosecution prompted Attorney General Eric Holder to enter the fray, saying it was a "good use of prosecutorial discretion."

But none of that drama associated with the Swartz case and its aftermath is present in the San Francisco courtroom of U.S. District Judge Edward Chen. It's where one of the most bizarre applications of the anti-hacking law is playing itself out to a virtually empty gallery.