Federal authorities announced in San Francisco today that Sweden has agreed to take over the prosecution of a Swedish man accused of hacking into Cisco Systems and NASA computers at the age of 16 in 2004.
Philip Pettersson, who used the Internet alias “Stakkato,” was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Jose last May, when he was 21, on charges of intruding into computers at Cisco in San Jose and NASA at Moffett Field in 2004.
He was also accused of two counts of stealing trade secrets from Cisco on May 12 and 13, 2004.
The trade secrets were the network equipment company’s source code for its routing software known as Internetwork Operating System, according to the indictment.
Sweden’s acceptance of the case allows the prosecution to proceed because Sweden has a policy of not extraditing its citizens to other countries.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello said, “We thank our law enforcement partners in Sweden for accepting our request to transfer prosecution of this case.”
“This was a significant intrusion and theft of trade secrets case in our district that involved international law enforcement issues,” he said.
Pettersson was convicted in Sweden in 2007 of hacking into computers at three universities and was sentenced to probation and a $25,000 fine.
Swedish prosecutor Chatrine Rudstrom told the U.S. Justice Department in a letter last month that she will decide whether to prosecute Pettersson further or whether to “forbear to prosecute” because of his previous conviction and sentence.
She said in the letter that in cases of juveniles, Swedish prosecutors often decide not to pursue charges for a second crime if it seems likely that the Swedish courts will decide that the punishment for a similar crime already prosecuted is sufficient.
Rudstrom said she will keep the Justice Department informed of the outcome of the case.