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Chris Chaney pleads guilty to hacking over 50 celebrities' smartphones for fun and profit

Between November 2010 and October 2011, there were a rash of hacking of high-profile celebrities smartphones.  Starlets like Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis had sexually explicit or provocative pictures stolen from their devices and released onto the internet.

In Scarlett Johansson's case fully nude pictures, meant to be seen by then-husband Ryan Reynolds were exposed for the world to see.  She recalls, "I have been truly humiliated and embarrassed."

But intrusions weren't the work of a team of savvy hackers; they were the twisted hobby-horse of a single man, according to federal prosecutors -- Christopher Chaney, a 35-year-old Jacksonville, Fla. resident.

On Monday, justice was served and U.S. District Judge S. James Otero weighed a seemingly remorseful Mr. Chaney versus tearful celebrities like Ms. Johansson, who comments, "I find Christopher Chaney's actions to be perverted and reprehensible."

The federal judge gave the hacker a prison sentence of 10 years after pleading guilty of several criminal counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (18 USC § 1030) -- unauthorized access to a computer and illegal wiretapping.  (In the U.S. only federal agents are allowed to wiretap people.)

Mr. Chaney could have faced a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, but the sentence he did receive wasn't exactly lenient either.  Prosecutors were only seeking a sentence of 6 years, but Judge Otero was concerned that Mr. Chaney hadn't truly changed his ways and needed longer away from the world of electronics.  According to the Judge, prosecutors presented evidence that Mr. Chaney continued to pursue and harass women online after his arrest in October 2011.

In all, Mr. Chaney's "Operation Hackerazzi" breached the smartphones of 50 Hollywood and music industry celebrities.  But he was also alleged of hacking into some close acquaintances phones, including send a nude picture of a former co-worker to her father.

Chris Chaney
Chris Chaney claims he sorry for all the hacking and denies accusations that he hacked into real-world acquaintances' devices. [Image Source: AP]

Mr. Chaney does not deny hacking the celebrity phones, but was apologetic.  He, however, refused to admit to hacking his acquaintances phones, insisting he never did that.  He comments, "I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry.  I could be sentenced to never use a computer again and I wouldn't care."

The Judge is quoted as telling him, "It's hard to fathom the mindset of a person who would accomplish all of this.  These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking."

Now he will spend a better part of the next decade of his life behind bars (although he could get out early if gets parole).

Source: AP on Google News

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RE: Hopeless justice
By FaaR on 12/19/2012 7:59:35 AM , Rating: 2
Unions don't have much money to spend, compared to corporate america, which traditionally support the republican party to a greater extent than the democrats, and always have.

No major media - print or televised - in the US is left-leaning: it's all owned and run by large corporations and conglomerates owned and controlled by the super rich, whom again overwhelmingly support and vote the republicans. This is a canard that is as oft-repeated as it is false.

Illegal immigrants aren't allowed to vote in the US, and besides, George Dubya wanted to give them all amnesty anyhow so how is this any different? Just because the republicans are embracing xenophobia now that they're in opposition doesn't change anything one bit.

Also, what "racist" policies are you talking about, and how has anything changed in the four years under Obama compared to eight of Bush? Not one damned thing I bet.

Also, if you want to talk trillions of "stimulus", look no further than the military-industrial complex, whom has profited more than anyone else from a decade of constant republican warfare in foreign nations.

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RE: Hopeless justice
By SandmanWN on 12/21/2012 1:39:29 PM , Rating: 2
what did you smoke this morning?

unions have some pretty swanky golf courses and resorts to be so broke and unable to spend money... There is more than enough dirt on the big unions like UAW and others.

and no left leaning new agencies??? Since when did being super rich mean you were automatically not a Democrat any longer? Do people like Buffet and Immelt only exist to people other than yourself?

yeah ok, must have put the jam in the wrong whole this morning.

RE: Hopeless justice
By Chaser on 12/21/2012 6:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
Illegal immigrants aren't allowed to vote in the US
I just found some fed govt cost savings! Eric Holder and the Department of Justice can stop suing states that are trying to use government issued I.D.s to check voter's eligibility.

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