Abortion Rights Blog

The national pro-choice campaign

Hacker jailed for cyber attack on abortion provider

16.04.12

A man who admitted hacking into the website of abortion provider Bpas was jailed for two years and eight months at Southwark Crown Court on Friday. James Jeffrey, 27, apparently targeted the website because he disapproved of the decision of two of his acquaintances to terminate pregnancies.

Jeffrey, who was affiliated to the ‘Anonymous’ hacking group, stole the personal details of 10,000 people registered with Bpas and planned to publish the information which included names, phone numbers and email addresses online at a later date.

Described as a ‘zealot with an anti-abortion campaign’, the hacker boasted about the attack on twitter, but was arrested shortly afterwards when police traced his computer’s IP address to his home in Wednesbury, West Midlands. He later admitted two offences under the Computer Misuse Act.

The court heard that in order to demonstrate that he had hacked the website Jeffrey posted the log-on details of Clare Murphy, head of communications at Bpas, the BBC reports.

Daniel Higgins, prosecuting, told the court: “Clare Murphy states women who contact the charity are often in a vulnerable situation.

“They speak to teenagers who have not disclosed their pregnancy to their parents, women who have been victims of domestic violence and victims of sexual violence – many women for whom an unplanned pregnancy is a very private affair and would not wish to share this with others.

“The publication of the information would cause great anguish for women who contact the charity in confidence and would put some of these women at serious risk mentally and physically,” he added.

Sentencing Jeffrey to 2 years and 8 months, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said of the data theft, “You only have to think for a few seconds of the terrible consequences had that threat been carried out.” Jeffrey will serve at least 16 months in prison before being released on probation.