It’s a bittersweet honeymoon for John Anthony Borell III, better-known as @ItsKahuna.
The youthful newlywed was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for his part in Anonymous‘s #OpPiggyBank hacking of police websites by the group CabinCr3w. The Kahuna Twitter account had publicly taken credit for the actions, and Twitter cooperated with investigators, supplying them with IP data which helped trace the account to Borell.
Borell was arrested in March 2012, and police seemed to really want to throw the book at him, but it didn’t quite work out that way. The hacks had unearthed information highly embarrassing to the Texas Police Association. The defacement of their website read, in part:
Dear Texas Police Dept,
Paid administrative leave should be reserved for injured cops, cops with pregnant wives, and cops who declare themselves conscientious objectors to a raid. Not a kiddie porn collecting cop. It looks as if Texas PD hasn’t improved since the cousin of the PD, the Texas Youth Commission was caught with rape rooms.
Targets: Texas PD and Syracuse
Why: Insufficient effort
Judgment: We must troll you”
And troll they did, releasing the Social Security numbers, emails, and addresses of 500 Texan cops.
A full list of sites #OpPiggybank claimed to have hacked, defaced, and/or leaked includes: dallaspolice.net, burlingtoniowa.org, wichiefs.org, wvcop.com, www.ci.newark.nj.us, newarkpolicefoundation.org, syracusepolice.org, slcpd.com, and texaspoliceassociation.com.
Each count could have netted Borell and his crew members up to 10 years and a fine of $250,000, but by the time charges were actually filed, they’d been whittled down to just a handful indictments. In April 2012 Borell pleaded not guilty to those charges. A year later, presumably after negotiations with prosecutors, he changed that to a guilty plea.
In contrast to arrested LulzSec and AntiSec hackers like Jeremy Hammond, Borell and his now-incarcerated CabinCr3w compatriot Higinio Ochoa (w0rmer) were free in the lead-up to his sentencing, and both took the opportunity to marry their girlfriends in the meantime. Borell is free now, even after being sentenced to three years and assessed $227,000 in damages. A side-effect of his delayed sentencing has been that some Anons have simply concluded that he must be cooperating with the police, which has led to destructive strife within Anonymous.
Borell is under orders to turn himself in on Dec. 6, at which point he’ll be sent to a federal prison yet to be decided. Upon release, he will spend three years under legal supervision. The judge reportedly set the December date so that Borell could spend Thanksgiving with his family.
Throughout Kahuna’s career, the swashbuckling hacktivist stressed that despite a fondness for the Rickroll, he wasn’t in it for the lulz; he was in it for the justice: to expose dangerously insecure police databases, to out abusive officers, to shame cops into abandoning racist behaviors.
Did Kahuna achieve justice? Did Kahuna receive justice? The jury’s still out on that.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect more accurate information on the sentencing of Higinio Ochoa.
Illustration via ItsKahuna/Twitter