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Man Gets 3 Years for Stealing Internet Access

He also made money teaching others to do the same
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2012 2:29 PM CDT
Man Gets 3 Years for Stealing Internet Access
Ryan Harris got the book thrown at him.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A federal judge sentenced an Oregon hacker to three years in prison this week for pirating Internet access from cable companies—and publishing a book teaching others to do the same. "I think you committed a very serious crime," the judge told the 28-year-old, saying he hoped to send a message to other hackers about the dangers of cybercrime, the Boston Globe reports.

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Ryan Harris earned between $400,000 and $1 million selling software, hardware, and a how-to guides that helped people alter their modems so their cable companies could not throttle down their speeds—or so they could get free Internet altogether. Prosecutors argued he "acted with absolute, knowing malice," motivated by greed. But his lawyers say he was just angry about the control corporations had over people's Internet access, speed, and quality. "He acted on grievance, as a lot of young people do." (Read more hackers stories.)

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