Back in 2010, a pair of hackers from Goatse Security found a simple way to harvest user emails and other data from the Apple (AAPL) iPad using a gaping security flaw on AT&T’s (T) website. The hackers didn’t publish the emails or use them for financial gain, however — instead, they went public with their exploits to warn iPad users about the dangers posed by AT&T’s website. But now LiveScience.com reports that one of the hackers, Andrew Auernheimer, may still face jail time.
Essentially, Auernheimer is alleged to have broken the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, which makes it illegal to “access a computer without authorization or exceed authorized access … from [a] protected computer.” As LiveScience.com notes, however, many say that this law is far too broadly written and has outlived its usefulness, mostly because it punishes hackers who raise awareness about significant security risks.
If the case isn’t decided this week, LiveScience.com says it could go to the Supreme Court, which would make it a landmark hacking case that would set precedent for anti-hacking laws for years to come.