AT&T iPad security hole hacker breaks gagging order

The man who exposed a security flaw in AT&T’s website, which ended with the leak of over 100,000 iPad customer details, has broken his gag order to protest about his civil liberties being violated.

In early June Andrew Auernheimer uncovered a vulnerability in AT&T’s website as part of research for the Goatse Security group. A week later he was arrested on drug charges, which was pretty convenient timing. He was then put under a gagging order which has prevented him from being able to discuss the details of what happened.

Now, however, he is breaking that order because he believes his “civil liberties are being grossly violated”. In a blog post entitled “Hypocrites and pharisees” he said that he has been denied a public defence attorney and that “speaking out is my only hope at being saved.”

He took some time to explain that what Goatse did was perfectly legal and much more honourable than some other hacking attempts have been by security companies who have since been let off the hook. He said that Goatse scrambled the data to ensure that AT&T would have the opportunity to patch it.

He said that the drugs were found near him as part of a search under a computer-only warrant backed by a multi-billion dollar company, but did not go so far as to say that the drugs were not actually his.

He said that his actions and those of Goatse in regard to the iPad details were not criminal but rather “were done using industry standard practices as a public service.” He compared his role to that of lawyers, security researchers, journalists, and web developers, who often scrape data from public websites as part of their research. He said if this act is made to be illegal then Google News or Blogsearch will become illegal as a result of that, and claimed that his “role in this was solely that of a journalist.”

He said he has been denied his right to an attorney for a jailable offence, which is “in violation of the US constitution, Gideon v. Wainright, and title 16 of Arkansas law” and labelled the entire thing a “complete miscarriage of the justice system”. He has called for the public to write to local officials to complain about the situation.