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Student held on DirecTV cracking charges

Tough economic espionage laws invoked

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A Russian student accused of stealing documents about satellite TV anti-piracy technology and passing them on to underground Web sites was arrested by the FBI yesterday.

Igor Serebryany, 19, of Los Angeles, is accused of sending details of DirecTV's latest "P4" access card technology, which has thus far proved uncrackable to three Web sites that publicise ways to get free access to premium TV channels.

The papers give details of the technology that might give crackers clues as to how anti-piracy measures might be defeated. Serebryany allegedly came across the documents while working part-time for a law firm employed by DirecTV, according to wire reports.

Prosecutors do not believe Serbryany profited from his alleged crime. However the teenager has still been charged under the tough Economic Espionage Act of 1996, which bans passing disclosing trade secrets for profit, because others may make money from his alleged actions.

He faces charged punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. ®

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