17th August 2018
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QC fears US extradition after computer hacker Davis is handed two-year sentence

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Jake Davis with his mother Jenni at a previous court appearance

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Former Shetland resident Jake Davis has been sent to a young offenders’ institute for two years over his role as a “core” member of internet hacking group Lulzsec.

The 20-year-old was sentenced along with three others at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday afternoon. He was the hackers’ press secretary as Lulzsec waged an online campaign against websites belonging to the CIA, the Pentagon and the NHS.

Davis could also face extradition to the US after it emerged two Grand Jury indictments had been lodged against some of the defendants.

Simon Mayo, QC for the former Mid Yell school pupil, conceded: “There is an appetite in the United States to prosecute defendants for this type of offence.”

Along with the online outfit’s chief hacker, 26-year-old Ryan Ackroyd, Davis and two other cohorts hijacked the websites of a host of companies and organisations between February and September 2011.

Passing sentence, Judge Deborah Taylor said the hackers had “wreaked havoc” on the organisations.
 
The four caused “millions of pounds” of damage and exposed hundreds of thousands of members of the public by posting their personal details online.
 
Judge Taylor said: “You cared nothing about the privacy of others but did everything you could through your computer expertise to keep your own identities hidden, while none the less seeking maximum publicity for your activities.

Websites for Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers The Sun and the News of the World were targeted, as were pages belonging to electronics giant Sony and film studio 20th Century Fox.

Attacks were also launched against Nintendo, the UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Arizona State Police, the court heard on Wednesday.

Judge Taylor said SOCA’s website had been taken out of commission for over 12 hours, while the personal data of Arizona police officers was released.

Lulzsec posted a bogus report online claiming Mr Murdoch had committed suicide, and targeted the US version of TV show X Factor, posting 74,000 contestants’ details on the internet.

Mr Mayo told the court that, having admitted the charges, Davis had transformed his life. He went from being a depressed and isolated teenager in Shetland to an outgoing scriptwriter in London.

Davis’ two-year term came despite a glowing character reference from Michael Morris MBE, co-founder of London organisation Artangel, who has worked with the 20-year-old on a new cultural project.

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