'Topiary' released on bail, identity unclear, as Anonymous reprisals fall flat

Suspected British computer hacker, Jake Davis, leaves City of Westminster Magistrates' Court after being released on bail, London August 1, 2011. Davis appeared in court on Monday charged with hacking offences, including hacking into the website of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Credit: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Why haven't all the dramatic breaches at cop shops slowed any of them down?

For such a high-profile arrest, the London Metropolitan Police announcement of the name of the teenager they're accusing of being LulzSec spokes-troll Topiary is disturbingly low key.

"Topiary," the MetPo said, is actually Jake Davis, 18, of Shetland. He's charged with unauthorised access to computer systems and encouraging others to access them.

Davis has now been released on bail under condition that he remain at his mother's home in Spalding, Lincolnshire, doesn't access the Internet and wear an ankle bracelet to enforce a 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew.

Police did find time to leak to the British press that they had found the logins of 750,000 people on Davis' computer, but offered no evidence to back that up.

No mention at all of taking down the site of the British analog to the U.S. FBI (Serious Organised Crime Agency, SOCA), the CIA, U.S. Senate or Sony.

Also no mention of

Or the possibility that they got their man, but not the right man. The right man being, according to the doxing carried out by the hacker/vigilante/LulzSec hit squad Web Ninjas – a 23-year-old Swede named Daniel Sandberg.

British police also didn't mention the attack Anonymous claimed was successful in defacing or taking down more than 70 U.S. law-enforcement web sites and the theft of "email spools, password dumps, classified documents, internal training files, information lists and more to be released very soon."

As proof, Anonymi posted personal data on 7,000 cops allegedly taken during the attack, including their home addresses and emails.

It also didn't mention the leak of "legally obtained" email addresses from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, which, like the other law-enforcement agencies targeted, was attacked in retaliation for raids by the FBI, British (and later Italian police) police in which 16 alleged members of Anonymous were arrested.

Unlike other arrests and raids, LulzSec and Anonymous are protesting Davis' arrest using both his legal name and the hacker tag "Topiary."

They are promoting the campaign using the hashtag #FreeTopiary on Twitter and @atopiary on IRC Chat.

They could be using his name because Davis really is Topiary and Anonymous is trying to gather public support for his defense.

Or they could be doing it to help cement the plot described in chat logs (still not proven to be genuine) in which the real Topiary discusses framing as the real LulzSeccer a British teenager Topiary describes as "a troll" against whom Topiary had a beef.

Either way, LulzSec and Anonymous are pulling out all the stops to harass law enforcement agencies (almost randomly) in an effort to take the "war" to them.

Many individual cops and many police agencies have proven to be thin-skinned about information released about them, or video and audio recordings made of their arrests without their permission.

So far the threat of being doxed hasn't slowed any of them down much. Must be the bulletproof vests many wear on routine patrol offering an unexpected level of protection.

Or it could be that having dox published only increases by a little bit the danger that a cop will be targeted for fraud or revenge from criminals.

For a hacker, being accurately doxed means you're done – fully exposed, available for arrest and prosecution, forced to abandon all the names, associations, online tool- and collaborative sites that have made up the home and environment in which too work and play.

Exposure seems like a much greater punishment for people who don't go outside everyday wearing name tags and badge numbers that unmask them far more effectively than anything anyone has done to Topiary so far.

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