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The 'Hacktivist's Advocate' Jay Leiderman is dead


Jay Leiderman

California defense attorney Jay Leiderman, who focused on computer crime and medical marijuana cases, was confirmed dead in Ventura County on Thursday, Gizmodo reported. He was 50 years old.

The Atlantic dubbed him The Hacktivist's Advocate in 2012 for his work defending internet activists, or so-called hacktivists who use hacking to promote a social or political change. 

According to Gizmodo, the lawyer gained attention for his pro-bono work for clients accused of crashing corporate and government websites, including members of the group Anonymous.

"Defending those accused of all crimes with a special emphasis on hackers and cannabis cases. We fight the man for you," his Twitter profile reads.

According to the Atlantic, he first got interested in defending hacktivists when Anonymous activists launched distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) against Mastercard and PayPal, which stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks.

"In my opinion, a hacker is a good word. A hacktivist is someone trying to use computers for social good," Leiderman said in one of his videos.

He focused on computer crimes and medical marijuana cases. 

"It speaks to me in terms of personal liberty," Leiderman admitted he was never a tech guy. "I knew how to point and click."

According to Leiderman's website, his "entire professional life has been dedicated to ensuring that those accused of crimes receive the most vigorous, competent and artful defense."

Leiderman died of an apparent heart attack on Tuesday.

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