US & Canada

Obama's Twitter hacker receives a suspended sentence

Frenchman Francois Cousteix leaving a courtroom
Image caption Mr Cousteix was caught hacking into President Obama's account in March

A 23-year-old Frenchman has been given a suspended jail sentence for hacking into US President Obama's account on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Francois Cousteix, who surfed the web under the name Hacker-Croll, had faced a maximum jail term of two-years.

He told the courtroom he hacked the account for the common good, to highlight privacy breaches.

"I did it for preventive reasons, not to hurt people," Mr Cousteix said. He said he was "relieved" at the sentence.

'Public information'

Mr Cousteix was caught hacking into the president's account in March after FBI investigators in the US alerted French authorities.

Investigators found that the hacker deduced the passwords of Twitter administrators from public information on the web, thus gaining access to the accounts of important and famous individuals.

Mr Cousteix told the presiding judge that he did not consider himself a hacker "in the strict sense of the term."

He added: "I didn't destroy anything. I could have, but I didn't. It's against my ethics."

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