back to article 'Celebgate' nudes thief gets just nine months of porridge

An American bloke has been jailed for breaking into the online accounts of 30 or so celebrities (and 270 other people) and swiping their most intimate snaps and secrets. Edward Majerczyk, 29, of Orland Park, Illinois will spend nine months in federal prison. Majerczyk had sent out hundreds of messages masquerading as legit …

  1. Youngone Silver badge
    FAIL

    Not Celebgate

    It was known by everyone and their dog as "The Fappening".

    Also, he had a Gateway?? Seriously, did he live in 1998?

  2. Andrew Jones 2

    OK first -

    if he (and the other guy) didn't upload the images, how did the images get out?

    Second -

    This new defence is getting used far too much "I was depressed" or "I have a learning difficulty" - so if these same people robbed someones house, ran over a baby, stabbed a random person - can they still get off with saying "Oh I was depressed"?

    I suffer from severe anxiety and depression - I don't suddenly think it gives me the right to break into secured (regardless of whether the security is good or rubbish) networks or break the law in other ways.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      "if he (and the other guy) didn't upload the images, how did the images get out?"

      He was using an old computer and out of date OS on 4chan, he talked and got hacked by his buddies - Windows XP is not as secure as you might think.

      1. Chemical Bob
        WTF?

        Re: Windows XP is not as secure as you might think.

        WHAT?!

    2. Phil W

      To your first:

      I'm not sure the argument really is (or at least anyone's argument except the defendants) that they didn't share the images, it's simply that there's no evidence that they did.

      I'm really sure how solid that is legally, but it appears to be the equivalent of prosecuting someone for break and entering but not being able to prosecute them for items that went missing because you can't prove they took them. Which isn't necessarily an invalid argument, someone might kick your door in for a laugh, then later someone else comes along sees it open and steals your TV, you can't then prosecute the first guy for theft of the TV.

      To your second:

      There is a substantial difference between a mitigating defence and a defence which is arguing lack of culpability. It is a defence to provide grounds for reduced sentencing/leniency not to try and achieve a not guilty verdict.

      Depression and learning difficulties are just as much valid mental health issues as schizophrenia, albeit on a different level. Even altered mental states induced by drugs/alcohol could be considered valid mitigations, though to a much lesser degree if they were taken voluntarily.

      In cyber crimes like this, autistic spectrum disorders may often be a factor and could be consider a perfectly valid defence given that the disorder makes it difficult to understand societal norms and therefore potentially right and wrong especially in things like cyber crime.

      Is it fair to send a guy who intentionally, entirely soberly and with premeditation, brutally murders someone and shows no remorse to jail in the same place and for the same length of time as someone who committed a murder while experiencing a psychotic break or under the influence of drugs (especially if it was drugs that they didn't know they had taken, spiked drinks etc).

      There is a difference between your mental health issues giving you the right to break the law, and taking them into consideration at a trial if you do break the law.

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      This new defence is getting used far too much "I was depressed" or "I have a learning difficulty" - so if these same people robbed someones house, ran over a baby, stabbed a random person - can they still get off with saying "Oh I was depressed"?

      Well he's a bloke. If he was a woman he could have had a baby.

      Drug driver who killed 20-year-old biker avoids jail because she has become a mum since accident

      1. Lotaresco

        "Well he's a bloke. If he was a woman he could have had a baby."

        That's a defence that's even older than "I have a mental problem" known as Pleading the belly.

    4. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Extenuating circumstances

      This new defence is getting used far too much "I was depressed" or "I have a learning difficulty"

      It's just the new variant on "My client has a problem with alcohol" or "My client is as thick as a very thick thing", which have been staples in magistrates' courts probably for hundreds of years. (The 19th century version being "My client was in drink at the time and is unable to remember anything.")

      I think sometime in the last thirty years alcohol become an aggravating, not an extenuating, circumstance and so the names have changed by the excuse goes on.

    5. dan1980

      @Andrew Jones 2

      I suppose the question is around whether the legal system should be geared towards retributive punishment or towards making society, as a whole, safer.

      On the face of it, it seems likely that this person has indeed learned his lesson and would be very unlikely to do something similar again. Thus a severe punishment may - especially considering mental state - have a worse effect.

      On the other hand, there is value, as a society, in punishing people even when that particular instance may not be best served. That is because the punishment must also be a sufficient deterrent to others, thus, while a severe punishment might not decrease the possibility of one particular offender re-offending, it might decrease the overall instances of similar offenses.

      It's a difficult line to walk.

  3. inmypjs Silver badge

    "him to ransack their iCloud and Gmail accounts"

    Guess they didn't mind apple and google seeing their shit.

    Have to quote it yet again

    "People sending emails to Gmail users have no “reasonable expectation” of privacy, Google has said in a court filing – even if the sender is not a Gmail user themselves."

    Surprised his lawyer didn't try playing that card instead of wittering on about porn addiction and therapists.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Alert

    Contradictory Information

    I note that the FBI reminds us to "protect our data" yet, they want backdoors to encryption. It's not as if the bad guys will ever get the keys to backdoor. I daresay, a phishing scam like what this guy pulled wouldn't work if the data was encrypted properly.

    1. NotBob
      Facepalm

      Re: Contradictory Information

      He phished out the keys to the front door. Encryption doesn't help anything unless the key is kept secure.

  5. Suricou Raven

    Nothing too unusual here.

    Guilty plea often means a comparatively light sentence. It's if you profess innocence and force the prosecutors to go to trial that they will throw the book at you. A lot of innocent people end up pleading guilty on the advice of their lawyer because they'd rather accept a few months in prison than crippling legal costs and ten times as long inside if they lose anyway.

    I'm expecting this case to be cited by politicians in future as proof that pornography is addictive and damaging, and the government has to step in and censor the internet to protect people from it.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fappening

    I'd forgoton all about that. I always meant to dig up the nude pic of Jennifer but never got round to it

    fnarrr fnarrr

    1. joeW

      Re: fappening

      Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy.

  7. Smooth Newt
    WTF?

    The cloud is a really great place...

    ... to store your most embarrassing photos. What could possibly go wrong?

    Personally, I leave all my doors and windows open when I go out too.

  8. adam payne Silver badge

    Don't save nudes or any other highly sensitive stuff in the cloud, you never know what's going to happen to them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't save nudes or any other highly sensitive stuff in the cloud, you never know what's going to happen to them.

      That's right, I have an LS120 and a Zip Drive to keep mine on. Not that I'm posting nude pictures of myself online; I've tried taking some, but the cameras always melt into a slagheap rather than take such photos.

  9. Lyndon Hills 1

    It's a very, very trying time that we live in

    Great comment, coming form a judge.

  10. Bob Rocket

    non-entities

    How many of the 270 non-entities that were hacked worked at the DNC ?

    Were Weiner and Podesta on that list ?

  11. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

    30 or so celebrities (and 270 other people)

    "eventually collared by FBI agents probing "Celebgate" – the moment in 2014 when private nude photos of Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande and other stars"

    So, never mind the other 270 victims, it's celebutards who get the FBI investigation.

    " Members of society whose information is in demand can be even more vulnerable, and directly targeted.”

    Uhuh. Tell me again how there is more law for "members of society" than for everyone else?

    "Majerczyk was ordered to pay $5,700 to foot one celebrity victim's therapy bills."

    Just one? Out of three hundred.....ah, sorry, I mean thirty victims?

    Justice is dependant on social status. Nothing to see here. Move along plebian.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 30 or so celebrities (and 270 other people)

      "Majerczyk was ordered to pay $5,700 to foot one celebrity victim's therapy bills."

      So at the going rate for a LA shrink, that was .... what, about 10minutes?

  12. tiggity Silver badge

    Stolen?

    Why was stolen used.

    Did he delete the originals?

    If not - i.e. originals still there, then he copied.

    Get very bored with theft / steal phrases chucked around in cases of digital copies and original still existing.

  13. Your alien overlord - fear me

    If his stuff wasn't uploaded, I think we should see it. You know, to prove he did download the porn, er self expression not meant for public eyes.

  14. JLV Silver badge

    Seems about right, esp if he does the time.

    It was a inexcusable thing to do, and it violated people's privacy. But he did not intend to distribute it and, perhaps, the mitigating circumstances were there.

    A year or two of actual jail for non-child, non-violent, non-profit-seeking, not originally intended for public humiliation, sex privacy offenses sounds about right.

    It's not a trivial sentence, to be denied a year of your life. It should be a good enough deterrent, without slipping into the heavy revenge mode that so often would have us fill up prisons with long-term inmates that are only really losers, rather than dangerous. This is not good for society, criminal reinsertion or taxpayers.

    A less discerning judge might have gone for a year per victim for example.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: Seems about right, esp if he does the time.

      ...he did not intend to distribute it...

      Says his lawyer, who'd probably coach his client in claiming an addiction to duck sausages in custard if he thought it would make a difference.

  15. Andrew Jones 2

    I just want to say thank you to the various people who took the time to reply to my comment before with their views on the sentence. You have swayed me enough that I'm now on the fence. On one hand I can see the points of view about how locking up someone with a mental health issue in the same place as proper violent criminals is probably not a productive result - but at the same time, it's not just one or two "hacking" attempts.

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