A French court has fined electricity generator EDF €1.5 million ($2 million) for hacking into the computer systems of anti-nuclear campaign group Greenpeace.
The court in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre found EDF guilty of "complicity in computer piracy" and of possessing confidential documents stolen from the computer of former head of Greenpeace France, Yannick Jadot. According to Greenpeace France, some 1400 documents were taken.
Allegations came to light in April 2009, when French media reported details of a judicial investigation into the alleged 2006 hacking of computer systems used by Greenpeace. As well as two EDF employees, employees of private security firm Kargus Consultants were also under investigation. According to the press reports, a Kargus employee had admitted to the hacking charge, although the EDF employees denied knowingly hacking into a computer system. However, an EDF statement noted that as a result of internal investigations it had discovered that a separate monitoring contract with a Swiss company Securewyse "was signed without full regard" for EDF's own rules and was subsequently cancelled.
Two EDF security chiefs - site protection engineer Pierre-Paul Francois and Production and Engineering Division security manager Pascal Durieux - were earlier suspended from their duties while the legal inquiry into the allegations progressed.
The Nanterre court has now found the two EDF employees and two Kargus workers guilty of the charges. Francois has been sentenced to three years in prison, while Durieux was sentenced to three years and ordered to pay a €10,000 ($13,650) fine. Thierry Lorho, the head of Kargus was also handed a three year sentence and a €4000 ($5470) fine. Alain Quiros, Kargus' information specialist, was given a two year sentence and fined €4000 for his part in the hacking, as well as for a separate case of hacking related to drug use in the 2006 Tour de France cycle race.
Judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez said that she believed that EDF was aware of the hacking activities and issued the company with a fine of €1.5 million ($2 million) and ordered the company to pay damages of €500,000 ($682,000) to Greenpeace, as well as €50,000 ($68,200) to Jadot.
EDF declined to comment on the court’s ruling, but the company’s lawyer has reportedly stated that the company will appeal the decision.
"Like all industrial enterprises, EDF constantly monitors information that may affect its activity while strictly observing the legal provisions," a 2009 statement from EDF concluded. "EDF wholeheartedly condemns any method aimed at obtaining information illegally."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News