A SECOND man is pleading guilty to the photo-hacking scandal of 2014 which saw hundreds of illegally obtained private photographs leaked online – many of which belonged to high-profile celebrities.
Edward Majerczyk, 28, is one of two men charged for the hack. In March, 36-year-old Ryan Collins negotiated a guilty plea deal with authorities in exchange for the police recommending that he serves 18 months, as opposed to five years, in prison. While authorities can’t tie the two men together, nor can they link them directly to circulating the photos, the fact remains that their actions constituted a federal offence.
The US Attorney’s Office reports that Majerczyk was involved in a phishing scheme from November 2013 to August 2014, obtaining usernames and passwords of his victims by sending them seemingly harmless requests (that looked to be from official service providers) for their information. Once Majerczyk had the information, he then illegally hacked into their iCloud and Gmail accounts and stole personal information including sensitive and private photographs and videos, according to his plea deal, reports Deadline.
Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Cara Delevingne, Mary-Kate Olsen, Amber Heard, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna were just some of the stars whose privacy was breached. In October 2014, Lawrence spoke toVanity Fair about the incident, saying: “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting.”
“This defendant not only hacked into e-mail accounts – he hacked into his victims’ private lives, causing embarrassment and lasting harm,” said Deirdre Fike, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “As most of us use devices containing private information, cases like this remind us to protect our data. Members of society whose information is in demand can be even more vulnerable, and directly targeted.”
Author – Scarlett Conlon