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It wouldn’t be the first time that a nonviolent hacker’s been put in solitary.
Update 2:20pm ET, 10.23.14: Grace North, operator of the website Free Jeremy, tells the Daily Dot that hacktivist Jeremy Hammond called her Thursday afternoon to say he was released into his prison’s general population. He was in solitary for nine days.
See original story below.
Jeremy Hammond, the Anonymous hacker serving a 10-year prison sentence for some of the most damaging hacks in American history, says he’s been placed in solitary confinement and expects to stay there for a few weeks.
The report comes in a circuitous route. It’s based a handwritten letter to a supporter, signed by Hammond then acquired by Grace North, an old friend who runs the Free Jeremy support website. North told the Daily Dot that the handwriting is indeed Hammond’s, and that another section of the letter requested its contents be forwarded to her and to his brother.
In part, the letter reads:
Bad news, they locked me up and I’m in isolation!! The SHU [Special Housing Unit]. Allegedly stealing new clothes out of the laundry. Been here since the 10th. It is now the 14th and thankfully I received your letters cause now I can write somebody to send word. It sucks here—empty cell, no property, nothing. 1 garbage ass book a week. Tom Clancy. It’s cruel and unusual punishment! Ha ha ha. Yeah I’ll be here anywhere from 1-3 more weeks. It’s all orange jumpsuits til then.
I interviewed Hammond at the prison, Manchester FCI in Kentucky, in May for a Kernel investigation into how the FBI tracked him down. At the time, prison officials were relatively lax, allowing us more than an hour alone together in a large meeting hall.
Multiple prison officials refused to comment on his housing status for this story, however, and each offered the same statement: “Specific living assignments (housing units, cells) are not considered public information and therefore, are not released.”
Hammond, an uncomprimising political activist, is one of the most tragic cases in the annals of criminal hacking. An avowed enemy of the military-industrial complex, he was the principal architecht of a massive, crippling attack on the for-profit intelligence service Stratfor. As revealed in a series of Daily Dot investigations, however, Hammond was enabled and directed by hacker turned informant Hector “Sabu” Monsegur, who was directly responsible for his downfall. Monsegur set free for his cooperation.
This is not the first case of a hacker being sent to solitary. The hacker Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, who, like Hammond, was convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a controversially sweeping hacking law, was sent there in May 2013. The reason, Auernheimer said, was because he had found a way to electronically convey his tweets to a friend on the outside, effectively tweeting from prison.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.