South Bay News
'Anonymous' defendants plead not guilty to PayPal hacking
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- On Thursday, the computer hacker group "Anonymous" is claiming that it took down the website of the federal appeals court in San Francisco. Thursday afternoon it was offline for 45 minutes. This comes as 14 members of the group pleaded one-by-one not guilty in San Jose to waging cyber attacks against PayPal.
The Department of Justice arrested them in nine states and the District of Columbia. Josh Covelli from Ohio agreed to a limited interview.
"They came in guns blazing and all this other good stuff, busted down the door, I immediately just dropped down on the floor, 180, I wasn't trying to fight nobody," said Covelli.
The 14 defendants are accused of launching an online attack on PayPal during December of last year. People linked to Anonymous were upset PayPal stop accepting donations for WikiLeaks. Supporters at the courthouse say the online attack was nothing more than an Internet protest.
"With an online companies, you don't have a physical presence that you can go protest at, you don't have a place where you can sit-in," said Anony Moose, a friend of a defendant.
The charges involve intentional damage to protected computers and conspiracy. The prosecution gave defense attorneys discovery documents in court.
"I was told today I was receiving a DVD with a lot of material on it that's only 180 pages on that disk. I understand there are thousands and thousands of pages that I will be given," said defense attorney Peter Leeming.
A CNET analyst covering the case for months says as expected the judge restricted Internet access for the defendants.
"That means that the defendants won't be able to use Twitter, the use of other social networks like Facebook and Google Plus will be monitored. They can't have knowingly have contact with other members of Anonymous," said Declan McCullagh from CNET.
Defendant Covelli says anonymous is about freedom of information and his only crime is trying to keep the government and corporations honest.
"There are people that dying for that flag and they're being lied to, they're families are being lied to, my friends in the Army gone because people felt like keeping a lie," said Covelli.
The government is not sympathetic at all to the methods of Anonymous. The defendants, each of them, in most cases face up to 15 years in prison and fines up to half a million dollars. The next court date is Nov. 1, 2011.
san jose, hacking, south bay news, karina rusk
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