Marty Gottesfeld resides in custody, held without bail, for allegedly attacking a hospital’s website via DDoS, in retaliation for the hospital’s alleged (there’s that word again) mistreatment of Justina Pelletier. Well, the mistreatment was actually real, separating her legally and physically from her parents and forcing her to forgo effective medical treatment because of the hospital’s inaccurate diagnosis. And somebody took down that website.
Now Marty Gottesfeld faces five years under the CFAA for that crime, because he shared an #OpJustina video on YouTube.
You might remember back in February hearing about a couple of “hackers” who’d been plucked from their disabled sailboat in the Caribbean by, of all things, a Disney cruise ship. Mickey and friends then handed the hapless captives over to the FBI in Miami. That would be Marty and his wife.
We have been in contact with Marty’s wife and will have more, a LOT more, soon. For now, we’ll just reprint the press release from the FreeMartyG.com website. Keep your eyes on this case. It’s going to get very interesting. Not only are there similarities to the Paypal 14 case, but the actual operating systems of the hospital were never effected by the DDoS: email worked, patient records worked, even the wifi still worked. A CFAA felony charge and potential five years for simply sharing a YouTube video of a DDoS attack with no commercial or medical impact might be over-reaching somewhat. Time, and the judge, will tell.
For now, Gottesfeld remains in custody, this particular Pirate of the Caribbean cooling his heels in a cell while waiting for a hearing date.
Activist Denied Bond for Allegedly Conspiring with Anonymous in 2014 Online Protest Against Boston Children’s Hospital
#FreeMartyG campaign launched to build support for Martin Gottesfeld, expose continued abuses of the troubled teen industry, and fight the unjust Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
BOSTON 8/29 — Human rights activist Martin “Marty” Gottesfeld faces felony charges brought by Carmen Ortiz’s office under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act. The same prosecutors who caused the death of Internet pioneer and activist Aaron Swartz now allege that Marty conspired with members of Anonymous to organize an online protest of Boston Children’s Hospital to stop the torture and save the life of Justina Pelletier. Marty faces up to 5 years in prison and $380,000 in restitution.
Marty, 32, is a human rights advocate and Senior Systems Engineer born and raised in Andover, Massachusetts. He was rescued at sea by a Disney cruise ship and arrested on February 17th, 2016. His bond hearing was held on April 27th at the John Moakley Courthouse in Boston and on July 8th, 2016, five months after his arrest, Marty was denied bond. His next court date to appeal the decision has not been scheduled yet.
Marty faces allegations that he conspired with members of the hacktivist group Anonymous to organize an online sit-in of Boston Children’s Hospital’s public website, in no way harming patients or exposing private information. At the time, an international campaign was underway to stop the torture and save the life of 15-year-old Justina Pelletier.
At the February 2016 news conference announcing the Pelletiers’ lawsuit against Boston Children’s Hospital and four of its doctors for gross negligence and civil rights violations, Justina told reporters, “They were really treating me badly. They didn’t really care. It was awful. Just imagine being in a psych ward without needing to be in a psych ward.”
Because Boston Children’s Hospital doctors felt Justina’s symptoms had psychological causes, she was denied her pain management and cardiac medications, became paralyzed below the hips, and effectively secluded. Her contact with her family severely limited, she took to smuggling them notes hidden in art projects describing her suffering. After 16 months of incredible suffering, and thanks to the effort of thousands, Justina was allowed to return home.
Friends, family and supporters of Marty are launching the #FreeMartyG campaign atwww.FreeMartyG.com to help raise awareness of Marty’s case and to ensure that the tragedy that resulted from Ortiz’s prosecution of Aaron Swartz is never repeated.
The #FreeMartyG campaign is seeking support by asking people to contact POTUSand the elected officials that cosponsored Justina’s Law, and asking them to remind Ortiz that there is organized crime, human trafficking, and other serious crimes being committed, and she should stop spending her resources prosecuting activists. Letter templates are available on FreeMartyG.com.
The #FreeMartyG campaign is also seeking support for Marty’s upcoming non-fiction book, Parentectomy, including help finding editors, typists, literary agents, and publishers. Other ways to show solidarity with Marty include sending him an “iCare” food package. For more on how to support Marty, see www.freemartyg.com/support-marty.html.
“Marty has been an incredible ally to this cause. I’ve been doing this for ten years, and I could tell right away the plight of these kids really affected him. Marty has a lot of heart,” says Bill Boyles, fellow anti-troubled teen industry activist and co-founder of WWASPSurvivors.
The CFAA has been cited by digital rights group EFF as being overly broad: “Creative prosecutors have taken advantage of this confusion to bring criminal charges that aren’t really about hacking a computer, but instead target other behavior prosecutors dislike […] Compounding this problem is the CFAA’s disproportionately harsh penalty scheme. Even first-time offenses for accessing a protected computer without sufficient ‘authorization’ can be punishable by up to five years in prison each (ten years for repeat offenses), plus fines. Violations of other parts of the CFAA are punishable by up to ten years, 20 years, and even life in prison.” The ACLU agrees and filed suit stating CFAA violates everyone’s first amendment rights.###
In the News:
Massachusetts man rescued by Disney cruise ship arrested for Anonymous hack connected to Justina Pelletier case:
Somerville man accused of plotting attack against Children’s Hospital