Mount Washington couple lose smart phone privileges

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Two Mount Washington twentysomethings whose anger at the wife's firing spurred an ill-advised assault on her former employer's computer system were sentenced today to three years of probation -- with no smart phone use.

Alyson Cunningham, 26, had worked at the family law firm Voelker & Gricks. After her termination, she and her husband Jonathan Cunningham, 29, enlisted a computer-savvy friend to snatch the passwords of everyone in the firm, and then threaten the firm under the banner of the hacker-activist network Anonymous.

A partner at the law firm has said that no confidential data was compromised.

The two pleaded guilty to misdemeanor unlawful password trafficking.

Mr. Cunningham's attorney, assistant federal public defender Marketa Sims, argued in pre-sentencing filings that he should not be subjected to probation conditions restricting his use of computers, cell phones or social media. He already lost a job as a web designer because of pre-sentencing conditions that included federal monitoring of his computer use, she said.

U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone ruled that both would have their home computers monitored by federal probation officers, but would not face monitoring of any computers they might use at work. Since the probation office doesn't have the technology to monitor smart phones, he found, the two can't possess them.

He ruled that they are allowed to use Facebook and Twitter, even though they used social media in part to perpetrate the crime.

In addition to the probation, the two must each pay $2,445 in restitution to the law firm and work 300 hours of community service.

The couple's friend, Matthew James West, 21, of Esplen, pleaded guilty in April to the same charges and is slated to be sentenced Nov. 1.

neigh_city - breaking

Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord First Published October 18, 2013 12:57 PM


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