Larsen, who's been arrested by the DST (french counter–intelligence agency), is accused of having disclosed national defence secrets . The trouble is that the informations he revealed on the Net are freely available in bookshops...
Un hacker français poursuivi par la DST (VF)|
"My story is commonplace" (ITW of Larsen)
Vincent Plousey, 28, works as a telephone technician and defines himself as a retired hacker. He is one of the rare French specialists of radio frequencies, respected as such by the underground community, where he has only been known under his pseudonym : Larsen. Although Plousey had been off the scene for the last two years, he recently served two months in jail – where he was treated like a highly sensitive prisoner – under the charge, issued by an antiterrorist judge, of having disclosed national defence secret. In March 1998, a "special police" issue of HVU, Plousey’s e-zine, published an extensive list of the radio frequencies used by French strategic oceanic force, land forces, gendarmerie force and national police force. After several months of inquiry (electronic and phone wiretapping, physical surveillance), seven plainclothes agents of the DST (Direction de la surveillance du territoire, French agency for counter-intelligence) arrested Plousey at gunpoint, on April,18th.
Jean-Pierre Millet, Plousey’s lawyer, a specialist of civil liberties on the Net, blames what he sees as a repressive drift : "a inquisitive citizen can honestly put himself in danger because of an inappropriate legislation, a blind and ineffective repressive system, the failing of some State agencies in protecting so–called secret data and the free circulation of sensitive datas that are classified in a State and declassified in others. " Vincent Plousey, who's visibly hurt by his detention, defends himself by arguing that those frequencies, classified as "confidential defence" according to the judge, come from one "textbook for radio operator trainees" of the national police force, devoid of any mention of confidentiality. Furthermore, these frequencies have become almost obsolete. They have never been used for "operational communications", but essentially for testing. But the main trouble is that 90 % of the informations Plousey revealed are freely and legally available in specialized publications sold in french bookshops, such as the german Klingenfuss Editions, or the american Monitoring Times...
In the special police issue of his e-zine, Larsen wrote that he was "conscious of the risks incurred for disclosure of confidential information concerning national defence". What happened confirms his fears. On July 20th, Larsen published on madchat.org, the online rendez–vous of the French-speaking hacker community, a letter that was in fact a warning to his peers. There, he denounced the gap between the charges and the acts, hoping that this case could be used as a lesson by others : "take care of yourself, don't go to jail for bullshit". While Larsen wished above all to protect his true identity, the Intelligence Newsletter, "a must for all intelligence professionals" as it presents itself, revealed it by the end of august. The article stated that "according to sources close to the judge, the presence of an intelligence agent among the acquaintances of the hacker explained the distrust of the judge". Released on bail, Vincent Plousey, who had never heard of the said "agent", decided to reveal himself in order to expose the nonsense of this case. How can someone who just compiled open source informations be treated like a hard–core spy ? According to the new French penal code, Plousey may be condemned to five years of imprisonment plus a fine of 500.000FF.