Hack the Planet! And lawyer up while you do

Let me introduce you to Tor Ekeland, the federal criminal defence attorney who fights for hacker justice in the US

13 Nov 2019

We started our conversation from the time Tor moved from his routine and not-so-exciting role as a Corporate Lawyer to what was – evidently – his true calling: becoming a criminal defence lawyer representing defendants on trial.

Gestione dei contratti e GDPR: guida all’esternalizzazione di attività dei dati personali

The joys of US Computer Law

Tor is one of the few lawyers the press turns to when in need of a commentary on internet law and all of its associated impacts given his experience in technology law, Intellectual Property rights and regulatory frameworks. We discussed the relation between cyber and law in depth, starting from the Bill of Rights’ role in protecting citizens’ privacy by limiting government intrusion to a critical analysis of the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – CFAA – and its unveiled misuse.

We negotiated the tough terrain of the Computer Law mandate and its ongoing pressure on common and criminal laws.

To conclude our chat on the “fairness” of justice – and on the US Criminal Justice system in particular – we took into account the power of information control, the influencing role of social media, the first steps towards stronger data protection accountability – think GDPR – and the controversial issue of online web search reading and storage – talk about privacy.

Tor Ekeland, the federal criminal defence attorney

An overview of Tor’s intriguing and multifaceted cases

Over the course of his remarkable career, Tor has managed to follow some of the most complex and controversial cases in the history of computer criminal law, and he was more than willing to share some first-hand details with us.

We examined the case of Laurie Love in all its intricacy and complexion. The case was of an alleged UK hacker risking extradition for alleged intrusions into the US government and federal agency computers to steal massive quantities of confidential data, thus violating CFAA.

We then moved on to Aaron Swartz case, which made history for the disproportionality of its prosecution and its tragic end. In fact, Swartz, a true PC pioneer, innovator and Internet hacktivist, was charged with 11 CFAA violations and state breaking-and-entering charges, leading to a major political protest against the US Department of Justice after the suspect’s heart-breaking suicide on the trial’s eve.

Finally, we discussed some of the cases Tor is currently working on, including Daniel Hale’s “Theft of government property” felony charge according to the Espionage Act, pointing to his unauthorised access of a protected PC from which secret data concerning the US military and attack strategies were allegedly leaked to press sources.

To discover how these cases ended up and more about Tor’s experience in this field, tune in and perhaps ponder this question: what constitutes a felony charge and how should the law meet the rapidly changing environment of our time?

The Secure in Mind Project

Our mission is to greatly increase and encourage community discussion about technological and ethical issues that have done, are and will impact society on a global scale.

There is a longstanding and distinct disconnect between the way information is packaged and presented to the public and the effectiveness of this presentation in terms of generating informed, considered debate.

If we can take complex, important topics and present them, as best we can, in a manner that can interests people from outside the speciality, then we have surpassed our expectations.

Nick Kelly Bio

Nick is someone who, in many senses, is just like you: a human being trying to make sense of this existence of ours as we hurtle around a ball of gas in a sea of infinite eternity. More relevant though are his vacillations in the world amongst diverse countries and environments, collaborating, negotiating, elaborating and celebrating with fascinating people from all walks of life including politics, technology, activism, military and intelligence the world over.

He brings this unique breadth of perspective to the table and has a dogged interest in pursuing the human story behind the title or policy, appreciating the fact that underneath all of our bravado, political correctness and dichotomous states of creation and destruction, we are, after all, merely mortals trying to make the best of it.


The production cost of this episode of ‘Secure in Mind’ was supported by aizoOn Technology Consulting.

aizoOn is a global technology consulting company focused on innovation. Since the digital economy requires new visions, technologies and organisational models, we have taken the eco-system approach. Through this attitude, innovation happens through a co-creation process involving government agencies, individuals, public and private entities.

What this boils down to is that we use data and brains to drastically increase efficiencies, reduce waste, consolidate technology security and cyber postures and train the next generation of the top tech force.

If you want to passively and effectively identify hackers in your network, require project management on your space programme or even need a chemical scientist to solve a supply chain issue in your bottling plant, give us a call!