A hacker linked with the Anonymous movement has admitted to breaking into the website of Britain’s biggest abortion service, and stealing the records of approximately 10,000 people.
27-year-old James Jeffery, of Wednesbury in the British West Midlands, stole the personal details of some 10,000 women from the website of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), and then bragged on Twitter that he would release the information to the public.
In addition, the hacker defaced BPAS’s website, posting an anti-abortion message.
An unborn child does not have an opinion, a choice or any rights. Who gave you the right to murder that unborn child and profit from that murder?
"The product, abortion, is skilfully marketed and sold to women at the crisis time in her life. She buys the product, and wants to return it for a refund. But it’s too late."
\\\ Hacked by PabloEscboar, Anonymous ///
You can imagine how traumatic it must have been for women who had made the difficult decision to go ahead with an abortion to hear that their decision might be made public knowledge by a hacker. Therefore, it was a relief to hear that the day after the hack, police had made an arrest.
BPAS’s website allows people to make enquiries regarding abortion, contraception, pregnancy, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and sterilisation. However, it has been stressed that no medical or personal information regarding woman who have received treatment from the charity was obtainable – only details of those who had contacted BPAS’s website.
Jeffrey told a Westminster Magistrate’s Court hearing this weekend that he eventually decided against publishing the details in his possession because he thought doing so would be “wrong”. He said that he targeted the British Pregnany Advisory Service because he was upset that two women he knew had made the decision to terminate their pregnancies.
Jeffery admitted two offences under the Computer Misuse Act. He was refused bail and will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court at a later date.
The computer crime-fighting authorities should be congratulated for their swift action in this case – from crime to arrest to courtroom confession within 48 hours is pretty darn impressive.
Update: James Jeffery was sentenced to 32 months in jail in April 2012.
Shadowy hand over keyboard image courtesy of Shuttershock
8 comments on “Anonymous hacker confesses to stealing abortion database records”
In the same way that Jewish residents were forced to declare their innocence during the hunt for the Ripper in Whitechapel, I, as a supporter of Anonymous, refute this attempt to sully the reputation of Anonymous.
I am not a hacktivist but I broadly support their actions against major companies and organisations that interfere with out freedoms or those, such as the Scientologists who use lies and coercion in the tactics to gain members.
I say broadly because Anonymous is an amorphous, multi-headed creature with many different philosophies and attitudes. We are your neighbours, your colleagues, we are you.
And herein lies the problem. Media, Government, and many people simply misunderstand what Anonymous is. It isn't a 'group' as much as gay people, or steel workers, or rape seed farmers are a consistent group. They all have their differing philosophies.
Now, within that it is quite fair to say that, by and large, the diaspora that is anonymous tends to lean towards a liberal attitude in terms of law, sexuality, copywrong,intellectual property, political thought, and human rights. this leads me to the conclusion that the idiot who hacked the BPAS' website wasn't the usual Anonymous legionary but instead either someone using it's fame for his own right wing agenda, or someone who has decided (or has had it decided for him) to leave a very obvious 'smoking gun' for the right/left wing media or government organisations to leap on a source of evil.
Anonymous members, while disparate to a degree, are almost always of the mindset to be 'pro-choice' and therefore a hack like this is pretty much against their ethos and nature. Hacking the FBI to reveal US domestic torture to US citizens makes total sense. DDoS attacks against Paypal for allowing itself to be pushed around by the US state dept in shutting finance access to Wikileaks makes total sense. Hacking the BPAS to reveal the names of women who have had to make the hardest choice of their lives, someone Anonymous would be first in line to defend, does not.
We can see he had personal motivations in hacking the BPAS website not linked to Anonymous… yet, because he chose to tag the word Anonymous (presumably because he didnt have the confidence of his own convictions and wanted to tag them to a larger 'group') he instantly became a part of the 'evil net terrorists' so adored as an adversary in the minds of the right wing media.
In conclusion, you need to ask yourself Graham whether this guy was a loan idiot (my theory) or part of the wider Anonymous gestalt entity. If it's the latter, then 99% of Anonymous have found they've joined the wrong movement. If it's the former, then the name 'Anonymous' doesn't apply. This guy is selfish, opportunistic, judgmental, vengeful chancer. Something Anonymous fight against.
I'm surprised you didn't see through this obvious political ruse/fabricated cassus belli/wooden horse as you're usually quite insightful.
Respectfully and in admiration,
Yeah, I would say the guy was probably thinking he was "doing the Anonymous thing" however kind of missed the point of why specific corps, govs, etc are targeted. It reminds me of the beginning of the Dark Knight with the guys dressed up like Batman thinking they're helping the real Batman out but instead get mauled by rottweilers.
Perhaps if I wear a V mask, rob a charity shop, then shout in the street that I'd done it and waited for the fuzz to turn up to haul my backside in prison then perhaps I could find myself in the news headlines as another Anonymous "leader" successfully captured.
Well said Steff!
@Steff, interesting input. Being a left-winger myself, I'm typically split between emotionally supporting the political rationale of 99% of the actions attributed to Anonymous while of course not endorsing the illegal means employed. This particular hack against women who've had to make such a difficult choice didn't present any type of dichotomy between sympathies and rationality; it was simply misogynistic. Thank you, Graham, for making that point so compassionately.
Lisa: You're a left winger? The engagement's off. Of course, it'd be off if you were a right-winger too. Being apolitical, I'm not an any-winger.
But I still like your articles.
Abortion is wrong, period. I can see why this hacker exposed the personal information, but what the hacker did was stupid, to brag and taddle tale on the woman having an abortion. Furthermore, the hacker gave out his secret. Everybody is stupid here.
@Nihal, if you think abortion is wrong, I respect that. The solution: Don't have one.
Interesting. I've done some research on this Jeffery guy back in August. What this article fails to mention was it was proven in court he had ties to Anonymous, and the ring leader "Sabu" – probably because the information was not available at the time.
I discovered something interesting about this Jeffery guy though. He used the alias "PabloEscobar" right? Was this the same PabloEscobar that defaced the US Navvy webpage with the quote "PabloEscobar Anti-Sec" on the final LulzSec dump back in June 2011? No article on the web mentions this though.
He was also a member on BlackHatWorld and WarriorForums. I went through his posts and he clearly boasts about finding Facebook exploits and released numerous Facebook scripts on BHW under the alias "StellaArtois", as well as his real name, bragging that he was making thousands of dollars.
I found loads out about him if anyone's interested.
Clearly he was a smart young lad that fucked up and now his ass is in prison. Let's hope he learns his lesson!