Hackers are now officially terrorists, too.
The famous internet hacktivist Jeremy Hammond, who played a role in some of the biggest hackings by Anonymous, has been placed on a terrorist watchlist by the FBI.
The Daily Dot got its hands on a confidential document (opens in new tab) originating from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which says Hammond “was considered a ‘possible terrorist organization member".
The document also indicates that he was placed on the multi-agency Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), alongside individuals suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, Somalia-based extremists al-Shabaab, and Colombia's FARC guerilla movement.
The document was supposed to be destroyed after use, and it also says “Do not advise this individual that they are on a terrorist watchlist.”
First rule of the watchlist: Do not tell people that they’re on the watchlist.
Hammond was arrested in 2012 for a series of high-profile hack attacks, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison (opens in new tab). One of the hackings includes the theft of five million emails from the intelligence agency Stratfor.
As The Daily Dot writes, hack attacks can land you on a terrorist watchlist because a threat to human life isn’t a prerequisite for terrorist activity.
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) issued a definition of terrorism in March 2013, and besides threatening human life, an individual can land on the watchlist for suspected "acts dangerous to … property, or infrastructure" that appear intended to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population," or "influence the policy of a government."
Individuals seen as facilitating or supporting "terrorist activity," violent or not, may also be added to the TSDB watchlist.