A self-professed leader of the computer hacker group Anonymous was arrested by authorities in Dallas, officials said on Thursday.
“He was arrested and brought in for booking about 11 p.m. last night,” said Dallas County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carmen Castro.
She didn’t know why Barrett Brown, 31, was arrested, saying there was no offense listed on the booking sheet. Brown was turned over to the FBI, she said.
A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment.
A Twitter account for the California law firm Leiderman Devine said it would be defending Brown at a hearing in Dallas federal court later on Thursday and that he had been detained on charges of “threatening a federal agent.”
Representative Edward Markey released data on Monday from the largest mobile phone companies in the United States showing more than 1.3 million requests by law enforcement agencies for cell phone records in 2011.
Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. carrier, reported an annual 15 percent spike in requests, and No. 4 carrier T-Mobile USA said it has seen a 12 percent to 16 percent increase each year.
“We cannot allow privacy protections to be swept aside with the sweeping nature of these information requests, especially for innocent consumers,” said Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Law enforcement agencies are looking for a needle, but what are they doing with the haystack?”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested three suspected members of the hacker group LulzSec and charges will be made public against two more, a law enforcement official told Reuters on Tuesday.
LulzSec, an underground group also known as Lulz Security, along with fellow hacking group Anonymous have taken credit for carrying out a number of high-profile hacking actions against companies and institutions including the CIA, Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, Japan’s Sony Corp and Mexican government websites.
Last month, the activist group Anonymous published a recording of a confidential call between FBI agents and London detectives in which the law-enforcement agents discuss action they are taking against hacking.
Read more: FBI arrests three suspected LulzSec hackers
U.S. authorities are stepping up investigations, including an FBI criminal inquiry, into possible violations by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire of a U.S. law banning corrupt payments to foreign officials such as police, law enforcement and corporate sources said.
The U.S. official said that if any law enforcement action was pursued by U.S. authorities against Murdoch employees, it would most likely relate to FCPA.
If it is found to have violated the FCPA, Murdoch’s News Corp, which has its headquarters in New York, could be fined up to $2 million and barred from U.S. government contracts, and individuals who participated in the bribery could face fines of up to $100,000 and a jail sentence of five years.
A conversation between FBI special agents and authorities at the UK’s Scotland Yard was leaked online Friday morning, the latest in a series of data dumps conducted by Anonymous hackers to protest against law enforcement.
But the conference calls may have inadvertently released more information than the hacking collective would be comfortable with.