Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer, the infamous hacker and troll, has already come forward with his first move after being released from prison: He's starting a hedge fund. It will be called "TRO LLC."
Auernheimer was recently released from prison after a lengthy fight over whether he was properly charged with "hacking" under the much-maligned Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. (The Third Circuit vacated his conviction on the grounds that he was tried in the wrong place.)
He gave a substantial preview of his new plan to The New Republic:
"The strategy is short equities—like all short sellers, I am looking to publicize flaws in publicly traded companies," he said. "However, instead of financial problems, I will be looking for companies with poorly written software that breach the implicit promise of safety that they give when they take data from their customers. When someone affiliated with our fund identifies negligent privacy breaches at a public web service, we will take a short position in that company's shares and then tell the media about it."
Auernheimer admits he could end up making money from the scheme. But The New Republic pressed him for some higher civic purpose. What he came up with was:
... he also wants to motivate other information-security specialists to disclose security holes, presumably through his company. "Right now, the only incentive is to do something very wrong—to sell software vulnerabilities in secret to government which use them to spy on people illegally," he said. "We can already get rich doing that. I'm trying to make it so people can still pay their bills doing the right thing: coming forward and informing the public of software issues of social importance."
A financial expert tells The New Republic Auernheimer might run afoul of securities laws with this plan. Auernheimer is unfazed: "I am obviously attempting to assert my rights, regardless of seditious judicial radicals that want to try me for it."
Between the desire to profit off his own antics and his total lack of fear of the securities legislation, it seems Auernheimer will fit in just fine with other financial wizards, should he manage to get the scheme off the ground.
[Photo Credit: AP]