Accused hacker Lauri Love loses legal bid to reclaim seized IT gear

Gareth Corfield reports: “Mr Love, you’re not the victim in this. You brought this on yourself; you’re the victim of your own decisions,” District Judge Margot Coleman told accused hacker Lauri Love in court today as she refused to return computers seized from him by the National Crime Agency. Love, 34, had asked for the return of computers and peripherals taken from him by the National Crime Agency (NCA) when they raided his home in 2012. The Briton has been accused in the US of hacking a number of government agencies including NASA and the US Department of Energy. He has not been charged in the UK. The US government tried and failed to extradite Love from the UK last year, with the Lord Chief Justice ruling: “Mr Love’s extradition would be oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition”. Love has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Read more on The Register.  Love represented himself in this matter, and when you read what happened, it may serve as a reminder why people should retain counsel instead of trying to represent themselves.

Accused hacker Lauri Love to sue National Crime Agency to retrieve confiscated computing kit

Paul Kunert reports: Lauri Love, the Brit who beat US attempts to extradite him over accusations of hacking, is suing Blighty’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to get back computing gear seized in 2013 as part of the case against him. More than five years ago, Love was indicted across the pond over allegations he hacked thousands of PCs in America and other countries, inserting backdoors into networks with the aim of circling back at a later date to pilfer confidential data. Read more on The Register.

High Court hands Lauri Love permission to appeal extradition to US

Alexander J. Martin reports: Lauri Love, the alleged hacktivist from Stradishall, Suffolk, England, has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States. The High Court has today granted Love, 32, permission to appeal against his handover to US authorities, which was initially agreed in Westminster Magistrates’ Court last September. Read more on The Register.

UK signs order to extradite Lauri Love to U.S.

Kelly Fiveash reports: The UK’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, has signed an extradition order agreeing that hacking suspect Lauri Love should face trial in the US. Love’s family plan to appeal against the decision. The 31-year-old—who has Asperger’s syndrome—faces up to 99 years in prison and fears for his own life, his lawyers have said. A home office spokesperson told Ars: “On Monday 14 November, the secretary of state, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States. Mr Love has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies.” Read more on Ars Technica (UK).

Lauri Love to be extradited to the US to face hacking charges, court rules (Update1)

I will have more on this case and ruling, but wanted to get the breaking news out. Jennifer Baker reports: Briton Lauri Love will be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking, Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled on Friday. Love faces up to 99 years in prison in the US on charges of hacking as part of the Anonymous collective according to his legal team. Handing down her ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, district judge Nina Tempia told Love that he can appeal against the decision. The case will now be referred to the home secretary Amber Rudd while Love remains on bail. Read more on Ars Technica UK. For background on Love’s case, search this site for “Lauri Love” and you will find reports as well as U.S. Department of Justice filings and affidavits. Update1: Here’s the ruling.

Here’s how police arrested Lauri Love – and what happened next

Over on The Register, Alexander J. Martin provides the story of how Lauri Love’s search warrant was executed back in 2013 and what happened next. It provides some interesting details and color. I’m not sure it really changes anything legally. But if you’re following his extradition hearing and the attempts of the U.S. government to have him stand trial here, you will likely find it interesting.

Lauri Love fights extradition to US for allegedly hacking U.S. govt agencies

Bethany Horne reports that as expected, Lauri Love will be fighting attempts to extradite him to the U.S. to face hacking charges. The US alleges Love is a “sophisticated computer hacker” loosely affiliated with the Anonymous hacker collective, and that he “secretly infiltrated” computer systems used by a long list of government agencies including the Federal Reserve, Nasa, the Department of Energy and the FBI between October 2012 and August 2013, “publicly disseminating confidential information found on those servers”. The request for extradition describes Love as “part of a community of so called ‘hactivists’,” who seek to infiltrate the computer networks of major companies and government entities and steal confidential or protected information … and then publicly disclose that information in order to embarrass the company or government entity.” Read more on The Guardian. As I reported previously, Love was indicted in 2013 and 2014 in New Jersey, Eastern District Virginia, and the Southern District of New York. And I’ll go out on a limb and say I think it’s pretty clear that they have sufficient chat logs and other evidence to nail him under the CFAA if they ever get to try any of the cases here. But will he be able to successfully fight extradition based on humanitarian and mental health reasons? I think his case is significantly different than Gary McKinnon’s in important ways, not the least of which is that McKinnon wasn’t part of any conspiracy to hack and expose government data – and he didn’t threaten to misuse the financial information of over 100,000 American citizens employed by one of the entities Love allegedly hacked. In other words, I expect the U.S. to lean very hard on the UK to agree to extradition in this case. Whatever Love’s diagnosis(es) may be, there’s nothing in the chat logs to show that he was unable to know right from wrong or that what he was doing was a violation of law. If he has a diagnosis that involves psychotic thinking, then that’s something that might make a difference, but if his attorney is going to try to sell ASD or Bipolar Disorder as an excuse for his behavior, then all she is doing is adding to the stigma people with those diagnoses face on a daily basis. Hacktivists will not be happy with me for saying this, but U.S. law enforcement cannot give Lauri Love or other proficient hackers a free pass (even though Hector Monsegur got off lightly by agreeing to become an informant for the FBI). Although CFAA clearly needs reform and can be draconian in its punishment, if the allegations against Love are accurate, this was not a one-time or limited thing, but a repeated and concerted set of attacks against the U.S.  And that demands consequences. The best thing for Love might be to cooperate with the NCA and stand trial in the UK where he’d likely get a much more lenient sentence. His past and current strategy may just result in him out-smarting himself into the hands of U.S. prosecutors.        

Is a prosecution in Australia linked to the Lauri Love case in the U.S.?

Is a young man’s prosecution in Australia somehow connected to hacking charges filed against Lauri Love in the U.S.? It may be. This is Part 2 of a series, “Three men affiliated with Anonymous Australia facing jail time.” Part 1 described the case of Mathew Hutchison (“Rax”).  In this part, looks at the prosecution of “Absantos,” whose real name is not being used because of his age at the time of his arrest and the fact that his case is still open in the courts there. “@Absantos,” also known as “Juzzy,” “Avictus,”  and “Blahgr” in chat, and @Op_Australia on Twitter, was 15 when he first became aware of Anonymous in 2011. Until then, his hacking had been mostly curiosity-driven and confined to finding bugs and issues in online games. According to statements provided to through an intermediary, as Absantos learned about Anonymous’s ideology, he began to feel that he had found kindred spirits and a purpose. By April, 2012, he was involved in a variety of small operations oriented to human rights in areas such as Bahrain. From that point on, he claims, he focused on issues-driven hacktivism, never engaging in any hacks just ‘for the lulz’ or for personal gain. November, 2012: The First Raid  On November 5, 2012, when members of Anonymous were engaging in a number of operations worldwide, the Australian Federal Police raided Absantos’s home and seized his computers, phone, and drives. He was 16 at the time. The basis for the 2012 search warrant was never disclosed publicly, but of note, when the AFP came knocking, they were not alone –  a field agent from the FBI came along. On April 5, 2013  – after they had months to examine his drives and devices -Absantos was charged by the Australian authorities in Children’s Court with 20 counts that could have resulted in 25 years in prison. According to information obtained by, those charges stemmed mainly from three incidents that included the hack of a major Australian telecom, a DDoS attack on an Australian government agency involved in surveillance, and an attack on a U.S. Department of Justice site. Absantos eventually pled guilty to reduced charges and was sentenced as a juvenile to a 12-month Good Behaviour Bond and to 12-months probation. He would be one month shy of completing probation when he would be raided and arrested again. But in May, 2013, while Absantos was still waiting to learn what his sentence would be, over in the U.S., a criminal complaint was being filed against Lauri Love. And as’s investigation suggests, the timing probably was not coincidental. The Lauri Love Connection Lauri Love, a U.K. resident, was indicted in a U.S. federal court in New Jersey in October 2013, but  there had actually been a sealed complaint filed against Love on May 16, 2013 – the month after Absantos was first charged in Australia.  That sealed complaint referred to co-conspirators “Alias 1, Alias 2,” etc. When the grand jury indictment of Love was made public in October, 2013,  the “Alias” designations were replaced with “CC” designations for “Co-Conspirator.” CC#1 was described as “a co-conspirator who is not charged as a defendant herein,” and who “resided in or near New South Wales, Australia.” Two days later, a sealed affidavit in support of a complaint would also be filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Love would be indicted in July, 2014. In February, 2014, Love would also be indicted in the Southern District of New York. In looking into the Love indictments, noticed what appeared to be a pattern: whenever Absantos was charged in Australia or his charges were revised, Love was subsequently charged in the U.S. or his charges were revised. The presence of the FBI at Absantos’s questioning on two occasions (after the 2012 raid and after a second raid in 2014) and the 2013 charges also suggested a connection between Absantos and Love, or at least between their two prosecutions. When asked whether he was “CC#1” in the New Jersey case against Lauri Love, Absantos responded that it was his understanding that yes, he is “CC#1” in the Love indictment in New Jersey. Federal prosecutors did not reply to an inquiry on that point. Love’s indictments in Eastern Virginia and Southern New York also mention co-conspirators “known and unknown to the government,” but provide no additional details on the co-conspirators, so it is not clear if Absantos is also considered a co-conspirator in those prosecutions of Love. The 2014 Raid Having escaped a jail sentence after the 2012 raid and the subsequent charges filed in April 2013, Absantos returned to in 2013, but he was raided again on May 21, 2014 and his computer, phone, and devices were seized again. And once again, an FBI agent was present during questioning by the AFP. Absantos was initially charged in May, 2014, with two counts, but on February 20, 2015, and according to, those charges against Absantos were revised and expanded to almost 400 counts, over 330 of which for were attempts to access or modify data. Once again, revised charges against Absantos were followed by new charges against Love: in March, U.S. Federal prosecutors in New Jersey filed a superceding indictment against Love. Absantos was scheduled to return to court on April 28, 2015, but the hearing was delayed until May 26. In the interim, charges against Absantos were revised yet again, this time downward to 24 counts: 4x Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment. 1x Attempted unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment. 17x Attempted unauthorised access to restricted data 2x Unauthorised access of data with intent to commit serious offence being unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment On May 21, 2015 – the same day news broke that the U.K.’s NCA had returned 25 of 31 seized items to Love, and shortly after the charges against Absantos had been revised again,  a superseding indictment in Love’s Eastern Virginia case was filed and a new arrest warrant was issued for Love. On June 23, Absantos returned to court, although has yet to learn the specifics of what transpired during that hearing. On July 15, Love was arrested in the U.K. on a U.S. extradition warrant. Pressure to Flip Fails Like Mathew Hutchison, Absantos reports that he was  pressured to provide evidence against others, but claims to have consistently resisted all of law enforcement’s efforts, responding “No Comment” to the majority of questions put to […]

Statement by Lauri Love on the return of some of his property by NCA

Statement by Lauri Love on the return of some of his property by NCA, as posted on Gist. The BBC wanted a statement on the return of [some] property by the National Crime Agency to the Love residence. Journalists and editors have a tendency to exerpt from statements, and sometimes don’t always get the gist of what they are quoting, hence this gist… I am glad that 573 days after a bunch of uninvited guests turned up and took all my nice things, they have found it in their hearts to return – for example – my mother’s computer with irreplaceable family photos, and my mobile phone, which would even be useful if they hadn’t neglected to put the SIM and memory cards back in. The return of my Raspberry Pi educational hobbyist microcomputer is also greatly appreciated, as I hadn’t even had a chance to use it before it had to be taken away from me for a year and a half, presumably on the plausible risk that it contained nuclear launch codes. All jokes aside, the sanctity of private property and the limits of the authority of law-enforcement to deprive and interfere with the same are fundamental to the universally admired and revered heritage of the English justice system, a model emulated around the world. Now that all but six of the thirty-one items taken without permission from our home are returned – some of them even still in quite usable condition – we must wait until the hearing under the Police Property Act, where it will be decided that excuses such as “broken, cannot interrogate” and “encrypted contents” allow the police effectively to deny the use of digital hardware and deprive individuals or organizations of their own data. Keystone-capers and yakety-sax may have characterized this investigation – and a little levity keeps us sane – but the risk is indeed grave that a precedent is set against the security of personal or organizational property and the absolute right to employ encryption to protect sensitive information against criminals intruders, be they government-sanctioned spooks or their less nefarious and ambitious counterparts in the digital underground. We have the dubious privilege of living in the period of human civilization in which information, computing, networking and civic society itself are becoming inexorably intertwined. Your data – and the data held about you – define and direct the course of your life in ways that were simply inconceivable a generation ago. Therefore, the decisions we make as a society during this integration will have repercussions for generations to come. The duty of the citizen is be prepared, if necessary, to mark out the line where the authority vested in the state ends and inviolable personal or organization autonomy is supreme.”+ I look forward to an amicable and cooperative unraveling of a few of the threads in this Gordian knot of technology and society with my good friends at the NCA and the facilitation of the District Judge at Ipswich Magistrate’s court, on July 6th. You are all warmly invited to attend. -Lauri Love, May 21, 2015