Hollywood Hacker Gets 10 Years for Ruining Lives Over the Internet

Christopher Chaney gets ten years for violating privacy in the grossest of ways.

The AP reports that hacker Christopher Chaney has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero to 10 years in prison for hacking into the private, online accounts of female celebrities (and their associates) and posting “revealing photos and other material” of them on the internet, having pleaded guilty to wiretapping and unauthorized access to a computer among other counts.

Chaney’s arrest came just over a year ago “as part of a yearlong investigation of celebrity hacking that authorities dubbed ‘Operation Hackerazzi.’” They found in his possession a multitude of private documents pertaining to celebrities, including “a document that compiled their extensive personal data, according to a search warrant.”

Among the celebrities reported to have been violated by this man include Christina Aguilera, Mila Kunis, Renee Olstead, and Scarlett Johansson.

And celebrities apparently weren’t Chaney’s only targets:

Prosecutors said Chaney, 35 of Jacksonville, Fla., also targeted two women he knew, sending nude pictures of one former co-worker to her father. The judge noted the damage to the women was in some ways worse than what Chaney’s celebrity victims endured.

Chaney denied these claims.

This sentencing is two years in the making:

Prosecutors said Chaney illegally accessed the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry between November 2010 and October 2011. Aguilera, [Kunis], and Johansson agreed to have their identities made public with the hope the move would provide awareness about online intrusion.

The defiant hacker apparently “continued to pursue his victims [even] after the FBI seized his computer, a factor Otero said warranted a harsher penalty” (inclusion and emphasis mine).

The testimony against Chaney was devastating. His victims, celebrities and non-celebrities alike, recounted their humiliation in filings and videos presented in court; Olstead, an actress and singer, made it to court on Monday where she described in person the damage Chaney had done to her, claiming that “she [had] attempted to kill herself” after Chaney leaked nude photos of her, and that “she had never before considered suicide.”

Johansson remarked that she found his crimes to be “perverted and reprehensible”, while Aguilera claimed in a statement before the sentencing that “although she knows that she’s often in the limelight, Chaney took from her some of the private moments she shares with friends.” Others wrote to Otero that “their lives have been irreparably damaged”; that “one has had anxiety and panic attacks,” while another “is depressed and paranoid.”

As part of his sentencing, Chaney will be on probation for three years upon his release, and will be forced “to notify officials of his online accounts”—although the judge has since expressed reservations as to whether or not these conditions amounted to a strong enough punishment.

He said he wishes he could have sentenced Chaney to “lifetime supervision.”


Photo: AP/file

About the Editors

We're all in this together.


  1. If there hadn’t been any celebrities, he would have gotten probation: Sorry but 10 years for this is way too harsh.

Speak Your Mind