Today there are people serving sentences for crimes that did not exist 20 years ago. Digital theft is still a very new sort of crime that law makers and citizens alike are often times not sure what to make of it. Here is one example of a new way that digital property is being protected and how this precedent could affect you.
One man partly responsible for hacking the accounts of more than 100 people, including over a dozen celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer.
Ryan Collins of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was charged in Los Angeles this week for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and faces a jail term of up to five years, although prosecutors are recommending he serve an 18-month sentence, according to NBC News.
Between November 2012 to September 2014, the 36-year-old stole usernames and passwords by sending fake emails from addresses pretending to be Google and Apple, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is accused of accessing at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts without permission using a phishing scheme.
“[The] defendant used numerous fraudulent email addresses designed to look like legitimate security accounts from various internet service providers, including, for example, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com,” said court filings, according to the BBC.
Collins, the first to be arrested in the hacking scandal, has not, however, been accused of distributing the photos that appeared on websites like 4chan. The investigation is still “ongoing.”
“By illegally accessing intimate details of his victims’ personal lives, Mr. Collins violated their privacy and left many to contend with lasting emotional distress, embarrassment and feelings of insecurity,” stated David Bowdich, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
“We continue to see both celebrities and victims from all walks of life suffer the consequences of this crime and strongly encourage users of Internet-connected devices to strengthen passwords and to be skeptical when replying to emails asking for personal information,” he said.