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TMCNet:  'Anonymous' defendants appear in San Jose federal court in PayPal cyberattack case

[September 01, 2011]

'Anonymous' defendants appear in San Jose federal court in PayPal cyberattack case

Sep 01, 2011 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Members of the infamous hacker group "Anonymous" filed into federal court in San Jose on Thursday to plead not guilty to charges they carried out a cyberattack on PayPal late last year to retaliate for the online pay service's decision to cut off the accounts of the website Wikileaks.

During arraignments before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, most of the 14 defendants indicted in the case showed up to enter their pleas and agree to conditions on their release, including strict limits on computer use such as a ban on communications through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

Several defendants, including one from Alabama, could not make the court date and will be arraigned later.

A federal grand jury indicted the Anonymous members this summer, charging them with a December 2010 hacking effort called "Operation Avenge Assange." The defendants, who live throughout the country, are accused of disrupting San Jose-based PayPal's computer servers, blocking people from being able to use their PayPal accounts.

The alleged conspiracy was a response to PayPal suspending Wikileaks' accounts after the controversial website released classified U.S. State Department cables.

Two Bay Area residents -- Ann Valenzuela of Napa, and Drew Alan Phillips of Santa Rosa -- were indicted in the San Jose case against Anonymous, which has been linked to a host of Internet-related protests and hacking efforts in the past year, including organizing the recent protests against BART.

Contact Howard Mintz at 408-286-0236 ___ (c)2011 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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