It has been repeatedly highlighted since the tragic death of Aaron Swartz that the current anti-hacking laws in U.S. are awfully overreaching. This is manifest yet again in the example of a hacker who stands to get up to 440 years in jail for cyberstalking.
FBI and other law enforcement authorities in the U.S. have frequently used these overbearing laws to put hackers behind bars at the slightest offense. In fact, in some cases the authorities have indicted and arrested a given security researcher merely for pointing out a critical flaw in a notable service or carrier. This shows how extreme anti-hacking laws in the U.S. are, a natural outcome of a Congress where most lawmakers don’t know how internet works or what digital security is.
So it is up to the likes of FBI to present the hackers it arrest as whatever fiends it makes them out to be. In this present case, Fidel Salinas attempted to hack into the systems of a county government, a newspaper organization in Texas and a school district. He also cyberstalked a female victim online. Authorities allege that he belong to the notorious Anonymous hacktivist group.
Initially, only a single charge was brought against Salinas and it seemed that he may be allowed to go after a brief punishment. But then somehow a whole plethora of new charges were found and filed against him. These involved 15 additional counts against him filed on April 2 and FBI’s latest decision to come up with even more charges.
In total, the FBI and the authorities have somehow been able to bring the tally to 44 charges filed against him. That is ludicrous beyond doubt and the fact that this case is taking place in Texas doesn’t help either. In the past, FBI has tried to use nabbed hackers in order to gather information about other Anonymous members, either by offering them clemency or threatening them with bitter punishments. It would appear that this may precisely be what’s happening to Salinas. Initially, he stood to face a minor charge, one which sufficiently corresponded to his hacking crime which didn’t physically harm anyone neither threatened any critical data. But now, probably after he couldn’t cough out useful names for the agency, he is suddenly faced with the prospect of spending his whole life behind bars.
Courtesy: The Hacker News