Court Drops CEO Blackmail Charge Against TalkTalk Website Hacker

internet and uk computer law

The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped a blackmail charge against Daniel Kelley (21) from South Wales, who back in 2016 pleaded guilty to 11 offences (including blackmail, computer hacking and fraud) related to the 2015 hack of TalkTalk’s broadband ISP website.

The hack itself exposed the personal details of some 156,959 customers (here) and is often said to have cost the UK internet provider a total of around £77 million. On top of that TalkTalk was also fined £400,000 (here) because of their “failure to implement the most basic cyber security measures.” Since 2015 then there have been various arrests and a number of jail terms were handed down (here)

During the event TalkTalk’s former CEO, Dido Harding, was also subjected to several blackmail attempts as some of those involved tried and failed to extort Bitcoin (a digital currency) in exchange for the stolen data. Kelley was similarly linked with related attempts to extort 465 Bitcoin from the beleaguered boss (at the time this was said to be worth around £285K).

However in a surprise twist the CPS has today informed the BBC that they’ve dropped the blackmail charge against Kelley, who will now be sentenced on 25th February 2019 (the wheels of justice turn oh so slowly). Apparently he has been suffering from “depression” and the prosecutor, Peter Ratliff, believes it would not be within the public interest to proceed to a trial (others may disagree).

Kelley is also understood to have hacked half a dozen other organisations.

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