Andrew Auernheimer’s was a resident of Arkansas at the time that he allegedly assisted in perfecting a program to collect emails through a security flaw in AT&T’s website. He had no connection to New Jersey, other than that about 4 percent of the collected emails involved New Jersey residents. But New Jersey was where the feds decided to prosecute him for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and for identity fraud. Auernheimer was convicted in 2012 and received a three-and-a-half-year sentence. The Third Circuit federal court of appeals recently reversed the conviction. Because the law includes two “essential conduct elements: accessing without authorization and obtaining information,” and because “New Jersey was not the site of either essential conduct element,” the appeals court reversed the conviction. In plain English, The defendant was entitled to a trial closer to home.
In this age of NSA surveillance, it’s good to know that we still have some rights against the federal government.