Lauri Love is an activist and alleged hacker from Stradishall, England, under arrest and facing potential extradition to the U.S. on charges of hacking into governmental agencies including the US Army, NASA and the Federal Reserve, among others. The accusations against Love are that he was part of a wider activist network of hackers engaged as part of a protest against the treatment of Aaron Swartz, a programmer renowned for helping develop the social network Reddit. If found guilty of the charges, Love faces up to 99 years in prison and $9 million (£7 million) in fines.
Love was first arrested on 28 October 2013, for alleged offences under the UK’s Computer Misuse Act. His house was searched and his computers were seized. The government tried to force Love to turn over his encryption keys, but Lauri refused to cooperate and was ultimately released on bail. However, the National Crime Agency refused to return Love’s computer because it could not decrypt his files. In February 2015 it was reported that Love would take legal action against the NCA to retrieve his property. Finally, in May 2015, the government returned 25 of the 31 items it seized from him. The UK kept, among other things, a Samsung laptop which it could not decrypt.
Then on 15 July 2015, Love was arrested again by UK officials, this time at the behest of the US government, who had issued several indictments and corresponding extradition warrants. The FBI and department of Justice alleges that Love has been involved in hacking into various governmental agencies, including the US Army, NASA, the Federal Reserve and the Environmental Protection Agency.
After his arrest, Love appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where he was released on conditional bail. In September 2016, Westminster Magistrates’ Court granted the extradition request. He is appealing the extradition decision in November 2017 and fighting the NCA for the return of his property, in a case which should shed light on what happened during the initial British investigation.