The arrest of leaders of LulzSec, the hacker group that breached websites run by Sony, Nintendo and other companies – along with the Central Intelligence Agency – indicates again that the cyber-arm of the US law is very long.
The FBI has arrested three LulzSec suspects being sought by the the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Irish police are reported to have arrested one suspect and to be holding him in Dublin.
The raids follow the arrest in New Zealand of Kim Dotcom, founder of the file-uploading site Megaupload as part of an FBI operation.
The LulzSec suspects are said by Fox News to include two from the United Kingdom, two from Ireland and one from the US. The FBI was known to be co-operating with the London police to snare them, thanks to leaks published by Anonymous.
Piracy and illegal hacking are the quintessential rootless crimes, since they can be carried out from anywhere in the world. That was the original justification for the ill-fated Sopa and Pipa anti-piracy bills in Congress.
But while US legislators have faced resistance to the global extension of US law, the FBI and the Department of Justice have been making strides in enforcing existing law. The risks of defying the FBI from an offshore haven are growing.