French journalist convicted for using 'secret' documents found in Google search


The hacker, IT specialist and journalist Olivier Laurelli has been ordered to pay a 3,000-euro fine for downloading files from a government agency that he found by chance during a routine internet search. The court of appeal in Paris ruled he was guilty of 'theft' and fraudulently remaining inside an unauthorised computer system. Apart from the disturbing implications for all journalists and internet users of the verdict, the court case also highlights the worrying lack of knowledge among judges who appeared not to know what 'Google' or 'login' were. Jérôme Hourdeaux reports.

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When Olivier Laurelli carried out a series of routine internet searches in the summer of 2012 he could have had no idea that his actions would land him in police custody for 30 hours and lead to a a 3,000-euro fine. Yet on Wednesday last week the court of appeal in Paris convicted the journalist, IT specialist and hacker of 'theft' and 'fraudulently' remaining in a computer system where he was not authorised to be.