Jeremy Hammond: Where is the Hacker Today?

In Netflix’s ‘The Antisocial Network: Memes to Mayhem,’ the evolution of politically charged groups in the US is traced back to the online community of 4chan, where anonymous posting was encouraged and memes flourished. The documentary delves into the journeys of various radical groups and hackers whose online actions often spill over into real-life events. Jeremy Hammond, though appearing briefly, is portrayed as a significant figure, identifying himself as both an activist and a hacker. His name is linked to some of the most notable events in US history, leaving an indelible mark on the digital landscape and beyond.

Jeremy Hammond Supported the Anonymous Group

Jeremy Hammond, born on January 8, 1985, grew up in Glendale Heights, Illinois, alongside his twin brother. Even from a young age, he displayed a keen intellect and a particular fascination with computers. Hammond’s political activism began during his school years when he vehemently opposed the Iraq War. After completing high school at the age of 18, he launched his computer security training website called HackThisSite. The website quickly gained popularity, attracting significant traction soon after its launch.

Jeremy Hammond enrolled at the University of Illinois at Chicago but was unable to return for his sophomore year after exploiting a security flaw in the university’s systems. Over the years, he established himself as both a hacker and an activist, while also working as a web developer. It was around this time that the Occupy Wall Street protests began in September 2011 in New York City’s Zuccotti Park.

Fueled by frustration over economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of financial institutions, the movement quickly spread across the United States and around the world. Participants, often referring to themselves as the “99%” in contrast to the wealthiest “1%”, camped out in public spaces to demand systemic change and accountability from governments and financial institutions. The Anonymous group that was linked to 4chan also declared their support for the people and Hammond also joined hands.

Jeremy Hammond’s activism extended into the realm of hacking, where he targeted top government institutions and corporate entities to expose what he saw as corruption and injustice. However, his actions led to legal consequences when he was arrested by the FBI in 2012 for hacking into the systems of Stratfor, a private intelligence firm. This breach compromised a vast amount of sensitive data, including credit card information, emails, and fraudulent transactions. Despite pleading guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Hammond maintained that his actions were in support of the Anonymous collective and were not driven by personal gain. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the cyberattack.

Jeremy Hammond Has Been Released From Prison

During his time at the Memphis Federal Correctional Institution, Jeremy Hammond remained steadfast in his convictions. In 2019, he was summoned to testify against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but he chose to exercise his right to remain silent, despite being granted immunity. Hammond believed that participating in a trial that he deemed unjust went against his principles, and he refused to cooperate. As a result, he was held in contempt of court, leading to a delay in his potential early release, which could have occurred in the same year.

During his time in prison, Hammond remained engaged with the outside world, maintaining communication with friends and sharing videos discussing prison conditions and various issues. He expressed solidarity with movements such as those supporting George Floyd and conveyed his condolences. Despite facing challenges, including testing positive for COVID-19, Hammond recovered and continued his advocacy.

On November 17, 2020, he was released from prison and transferred to a halfway home in Chicago to complete the remainder of his sentence. Hammond had the opportunity to reconnect with friends and supporters before his final release from the Bureau of Prisons in March 2021, a moment celebrated by his allies. Following his release, he launched a podcast titled ‘Twin Trouble’ with his brother, focusing on topics such as prison abolition, information activism, and resistance to state and capitalist structures, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to activism.

Read More: Christopher Poole: Where is The 4Chan Founder Now?