Andrew Auernheimer, the hacker also known as “Weev” who received a 41-month prison sentence for public shaming AT&T in 2010, appears to be live-tweeting his days at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC).
His twitter handle, @rabite, sprang back to life on March 31 — aka Easter Sunday — with a notification of his whereabouts, and quickly picked up steam from there. The religious connotations of his digital resurrection definitely weren’t lost on the occasionally cocky Auernheimer, who has tweeted numerous, though presumably ironic, Christian references such as, “I spread the gospel of cryptosystems…” and “I am your only hope for salvation against the CFAA (Computer Fraud And Abuse Act). Exalt me.”
How Weev Does It
How is a prison inmate tweeting from jail without a cell phone or Internet access? Federal detention facilities such as Brooklyn MDC don’t have the latter, and claim not to allow the former.
The answer is the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System, or TRULINCS. The system does not grant inmates access to the Internet; rather, it provides electronic messaging through an account with Corrlinks.com. It’s meant to facilitate communication between prisoners and family members, although it turns out to let inmates send tweets via email as well.
(For those out there inclined to decry any seemingly questionable use of taxpayer money, TRULINCS funding is “provided entirely by the Inmate Trust Fund, which is maintained by profits from inmate purchases of commissary products, telephone services, and the fees inmates pay for using TRULINCS,” according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons FAQ.)
Live From Brooklyn Jail
While Auernheimer certainly isn’t the first person to tweet from behind bars (see Prodigy of 90s hip-hop duo Mob Deep), he is certainly the first hacker and heavy Tweeter to use the messaging service so frequently it could be considered live-tweeting from jail. Just this morning, Auernheimer seems to have caught on to his unique position.
But it has definitely not been all fun and games (and Internet activism) for Auernheimer. When not discussing his case, he’s been voicing his concerns over his incarcerated lifestyle, namely the fact that he has celiac disease and must maintain a gluten-free diet, something not easily accommodated by the various detention centers he’s been moved through of late.
Despite the health concerns, Weev’s hacker spirit has remained intact. “I feel not a single gram of remorse for aggregating data from an API that AT&T admitted was public,” he tweeted on Monday, and went on to write this morning, “Every day of this upcoming 3 years is worth it to defend the rights of the Internet. I’d do it all over again. IDIFTL,” an acronym for the popular hacker and Internet prankster justification “I do it for the lulz.”