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Data thief sentenced to eight years in jail

Tash Shifrin

A US court has sentenced a man to eight years in jail for what is believed to be the world's largest data theft.

Scott Levine, who ran bulk e-mail company Snipermail.com, was given the sentence after being convicted on 120 counts of unauthorised access of a protected computer, two counts of access device fraud, and one count of obstruction of justice.

Levine raided more than a billion personal records held by data management company Acxiom.

Prosecutors described the case as the "largest ever invasion and theft of personal data" ever tried.

In addition to the eight-year sentence, US District Court Judge William Wilson 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 Snipermail.com databases.


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