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November 21, 2012

2nd YouTube threatener pleads guilty

Alexander Waterland pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to federal conspiracy charges in connection with an April YouTube video that threatened the University with the release of confidential data.

The 25-year-old Ohio man faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for March 15 in federal court in Pittsburgh.

He and his former co-worker, Brett Hudson, both initially pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges related to the video in which the two claimed to be affiliated with international hacktivist group Anonymous.

They claimed to have downloaded confidential information from University computer servers, demanded that Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg post an apology on Pitt’s web site for not protecting the data and threatened to release the information if he did not comply.

The apology was not posted and in mid-May Pitt’s police and webmaster received email that again threatened to release the information if the public apology was not posted.

Waterland was arrested June 20. Hudson was indicted Aug. 15 as his co-conspirator.

Hudson pleaded guilty last month. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8. (See Oct. 25 University Times.)

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 45 Issue 7

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