MPAA Hacker Robert Anderson Revealed


This story reads like something from one of those glamourised Hollywood ‘hacker’ movies like Swordfish or Antitrust.

The legendary MPAA hacker has been revealed, and it looks like he himself got social engineered and dumped…he should have realised when you are playing with unscrupulous people you are setting yourself up to get screwed.

Promises of Hollywood fame and fortune persuaded a young hacker to betray former associates in the BitTorrent scene to Tinseltown’s anti-piracy lobby, according to the hacker.

In an exclusive interview with Wired News, gun-for-hire hacker Robert Anderson tells for the first time how the Motion Picture Association of America promised him money and power if he provided confidential information on TorrentSpy, a popular BitTorrent search site.

According to Anderson, the MPAA told him: “We would need somebody like you. We would give you a nice paying job, a house, a car, anything you needed…. if you save Hollywood for us you can become rich and powerful.”

Promised him everything he’d dreamed of eh? Then in the end…fascinating read anyway.

But once Anderson turned over the data and cashed the MPAA’s check, he quickly realized that Garfield had no further use for him. “He lost interest in me,” he says. Anderson felt abandoned: During negotiations with Garfield, the hacker had become convinced he was starting a long-term, lucrative relationship with the motion picture industry. “He was stringing me along personally.”

Hollywood’s cold shoulder put Anderson’s allegiance back up for grabs, and about a year later he came clean with TorrentSpy’s Bunnell in an online chat. “‘I sold you out to the MPAA,'” Anderson says he told Bunnell. “I felt guilty (for) what happened and I kinda also thought at that point the MPAA wasn’t going to do anything.”

Some pretty tricky business..so if you are a hacker for hire, you’d better be careful who you are dealing with.

Source: Wired

Posted in: Legal Issues, Privacy

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11 Responses to MPAA Hacker Robert Anderson Revealed

  1. Bogwitch November 5, 2007 at 1:30 pm #

    What on earth made him think he could trust the MPAA or anyone associated with them?
    Did he not get a lawyer?
    He got his cheque, let’s hope it helps him sleep at night.

  2. Nobody_Holme November 5, 2007 at 5:02 pm #

    He still has the cash? And isnt in jail?
    Lucky he only got a bit owned by that one… Must have sold the MPAA some serious info to get off that lightly…

  3. CK76 November 5, 2007 at 8:28 pm #

    This guy is a total newb. He should have cashed the check, gave them some info on torrentspy, and dissapeared. Instead he got all personal with the MPAA, and then CONFESSED to torrentspy about what he was doing.

    Bad Form.

  4. fazed November 5, 2007 at 10:48 pm #

    he’s not a hacker, just someone who knew
    the owners of a bittorent website. I don’t know
    which side I’m on in the debate on paying for movies
    so I cant say whether I hope he gets what he deserves
    from torrentspy or not.. :S

  5. Nobody_Holme November 6, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    Well… I’m all for paying for services rendered, just not as much as i charged. These days I just Cant be arsed to copy things though… just screw around with the anti-copying software, so either I or one of my housemates buys a copy, then we all borrow/copy it…
    That way we’re safe from the idiots that live on torrents anyway…

    Also, confessing that you screwed someone over to the law, effectivly, not a smart thing, mirite?

  6. dirty November 6, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    what is the “data” that he turned over? The story is kinda vague on what it was that the MPAA actually wanted and what he gave them….

  7. CK76 November 6, 2007 at 9:31 pm #

    He broke into a gmail account that torrentspy was backing up emails to.

  8. dirty November 6, 2007 at 11:26 pm #

    They must’ve not need much more from him…..Wonder what other info they (mpaa) have on torrentspy

    Wonder how much he got…..

  9. normalsecrecy November 7, 2007 at 6:11 pm #

    ok. i’m with bogwitch. if you’re negotiating a payoff or a quid pro quo kinda thing, then why not get a lawyer? we all know spoken promises aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. it amazes me sometimes how little common sense we have.

  10. dirty November 7, 2007 at 8:47 pm #

    I guess the lure of a big pay day blinded him. How do you negotiate a sellout though, jk?

  11. Sir Henry December 14, 2007 at 6:55 pm #

    I don’t know if there are enough violation showers he could take after working for the MPAA. Then again, I look at them as “the man” and my normal response is “damn ‘the man'”. You really do have to watch your back, however, if you are going to do dirty work of this sort. No matter your chops, there is always going to be someone better than you and less inclined to play nice when you are supporting money-hungry MPAA/RIAA.