On Oct. 3, a federal grand jury indicted 13 alleged members of the hacker collective Anonymous for their part in Operation Payback. Last Friday, they were arraigned in federal court in Alexandria, Va.
Payback came in the form a distributed denial of service attack against Hollywood entities and groups that aggressively pursue copyright suits against file-sharing sites and actively lobby for measures like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The targets included the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the U.S. Copyright office.
Each member of the so-called Payback 13 faces a charge of intentionally causing damage to protected computers. The charge falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the widely criticized act Internet pioneer Aaron Swartz was charged under prior to his suicide.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.
Yesterday, Austin Stamm and Dennis Collins pled innocent before U.S. Federal Judge Liam O’Grady.
Collins, an Ohio man in his early 50s, is also in court in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the Paypal 14. That group was indicted on charges of launching a similar attack on PayPal for its cancellation of an account used to raise money for Julian Assange, the founder of the secrets-sharing site WikiLeaks.
Collins, according to a report in RT, showed up in court with a “medical apparatus connected to a series of tubes” that “went up the back of Collins’ head and over his ears into either nostril.”
Collins and Stamm were released on an unsecured $25,000 bond. They are forbidden to leave Ohio, except, in the case of Collins, to appear in relationship to the other computer fraud case. They are also barred from contacting any witnesses or victims of their alleged crime, as well as their codefendants. They may not use any Internet-connected computer without prior information from the court.
Wade Carl Williams and two other members of the Payback 13 appeared before another judge Friday afternoon in Alexandria’s Eastern District Court.
“Dennis is getting charged in the array of attacks that occurred the same time as the Paypal attack,” one source close to the situation told the Daily Dot. “Im lost as to why they only indicted Dennis out of the other 14 and why now? If you look at the two indictments ( one from July 19 2011 & now ) You can clearly see the govt learned from previous indictments and there is a greater chance this group will see jail time, sadly.”