A 27-year-old man who hacked the website of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the country’s biggest abortion provider, and stole about 10,000 records has been sentenced to two years and eight months in jail, according to The Register.
The individual, James Jeffery, claimed to be a member of the hacking collective “Anonymous,” an online movement based on the premise that essentially anyone can be a member simply by claiming the affiliation.
“Those who find abortion repugnant do not use it as an excuse to justify deliberately committing offences,” Judge Michael Gledhill QC told him during sentencing. “Your skills are so good that you decided to hack into their [BPAS’s] website and you succeeded.”
“You stole the records of approximately 10,000 women. Many of them were vulnerable women, vulnerable simply because they had had a termination or because of their youth or because their family did not know about their situation.”
BPAS said Jeffery did not obtain detailed medical information about their patients, but he did access a list of names and contact information of people who had communicated with the health provider online. He also defaced the website by replacing the logo of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service with a Guy Fawkes symbol commonly used by “Anonymous.”
The abortion provider tipped off police that the hack may have been related to a Twitter user. After a brief investigation, Jeffery was arrested, police said.
Jeffery said he targeted the website in March after his sister decided to terminate her pregnancy.
“This was one of the most extreme examples of anti-abortion activity we have seen,” BPAS chief executive Ann Furedi said. “We are grateful to the police for the swift action they took to apprehend Mr Jeffery and are glad the matter is now resolved.”
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster