A US court has sentenced a man to eight years in jail for what is thought to be the world’s largest data theft.
Scott Levine, who ran a bulk e-mail company, was given the sentence after being convicted on 120 counts of unauthorised access to a computer connected to the Internet.
Levine raided more than a billion records held by data management company Acxiom. Prosecutors said the thousands of stolen records included names, telephone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses.
He was also found guilty on two counts of fraud and one of obstruction.
In addition to the eight-year sentence, US District Court Judge William Wilson also issued a restitution order for $249,752, but has said he will adjust the figure after reviewing a pre-sentencing report.
The US government put the value of the stolen data at approximately $58m – a figure contested by Levine's lawyer, who said it was worth about $50,000.
The offences took place over a 16-month period up to August 2003, when Levine took advantage of security weaknesses in Acxiom’s systems. The stolen data was fed into the databases of Levine’s bulk e-mail company Snipermail.com.