Remember when hackers only shared nude pics? Jennifer Lawrence's hacker gets sent to prison

Leaks and hacking are now major geopolitical and campaign issues, but hackers also like naked photos of celebs

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 28, 2016 8:45PM (EDT)


The hacker responsible for leaking nude pictures of female celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Gabrielle Union and Kate Upton is going to spend 18 months in prison.

The perpetrator was 36-year-old Ryan Collins, who was charged with felony computer hacking in March and agreed to a plea deal. Had he not done so, he would have faced up to five years in federal prison, but Caldwell agreed to the 18 months recommended by the prosecutor as part of the deal.

When Collins obtained the photographs in 2014, he admitted that it was through an email phishing scheme, although investigators don't believe he ever shared or uploaded the images.
The nude picture scandal is only the latest in a series of technology-related stalking and harassment incidents that have plagued the entertainment industry in recent years. The most infamous of these was the Sony hack of 2014, in which North Korean hackers are believed to have hacked into Sony's emails in retaliation for their release of "The Interview," a raunchy comedy poking fun at North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. 
Then there was Michael David Barrett, a 49-year-old man who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in September for the 2008 cyberstalking of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. Barrett followed her in three states, took videos of her through the peepholes of her hotel rooms, and then posted the footage online. 
More recently, Saturday Night Live comedienne Leslie Jones was targeted by a cyberhacker who published photos from her iCloud account, including several nude pictures and sensitive personal information, as well as took over her Tumblr account in an attempt to defame her character.
If these sentences seem somewhat lenient, that's because cyberstalking isn't punished as harshly in our legal system as cyberterrorism. While the statute of limitations for more crimes is three years, the statue of limitations for terrorism is eight years. What's more, even in states like Minnesota that have very strict anti-stalking laws, the sentences are usually less than two years or so. By contrast, the Kosovo hacker who obtained more than 1,300 names of government and military personnel for ISIS was sentenced to 20 years in prison in September.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Gabriel Union Hacking Jennifer Lawrence Kate Upton Nude Pics