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Hacker placed on FBI terrorist watchlist

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.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.