A teenager was arrested in Shetland in a swoop by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday who flew him to London for questioning about international computer-hacking.
The 18-year-old man is alleged to be an online activist who calls himself Topiary and acted as a spokesman for the groups Anonymous and LulzSec. They have been associated with cyber-attacks on major businesses and intelligence agencies, including Sony, PayPal, Rupert Murdoch’s News International and the CIA.
Details of Scotland Yard’s operation in Shetland are scant and the Shetland police were not involved, although they were informed of the plan.
The team of specialist detectives flew in to Sumburgh Airport on a small chartered plane on Wednesday morning and left again after teatime with their suspect onboard.
It is unclear where the man was arrested, with both Lerwick and Scalloway having been suggested. His home was also searched.
The story has made headline news in papers and websites around the world.
The Met said the arrest was linked to an ongoing international investigation into the criminal activity of two so-called hacktivist groups. The arrest involved the Met’s police central e-crime unit with help from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.
A second man, aged 17, living in Lincolnshire, is also being interviewed and two other young men were arrested earlier during the ongoing inquiry.
There is some public support for the activities of hackers who sabotage the operations of massively powerful corporations like News International.
In Shetland a Facebook page called Free Topiary has been set up with people voicing their backing for the arrested man.
Some observers believe the Met has got the wrong man after being fooled by the deception and multiple identities used by online activists.