A 27-year-old West Midlands man has been imprisoned for hacking into the systems of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of the country's leading abortion providers.
James Jeffery was sentenced to two years and eight months on Friday at Southwark Crown Court. He had pleaded guilty last month to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act.
"This was one of the most extreme examples of anti-abortion activity we have seen," BPAS chief executive Ann Furedi said in a statement. "We are grateful to the police for the swift action they took to apprehend Mr Jeffery and are glad the matter is now resolved."
According to Judge Gledhill, who carried out the sentencing, Jeffery had "strong views on the issue of abortion" and his actions had hit confidence in the security of BPAS's online service.
Jeffery hacked into BPAS's servers on 8 March, defacing the service's website with an anti-abortion message and the Anonymous logo, and taking certain details of the people who had visited the site seeking family planning advice.
The hacker, who was on Twitter as 'PabloEscobar', tweeted shortly after the attack that he intended to publish the details he had taken. He was arrested early the next morning.
According to a Metropolitan Police statement, Judge Gledhill noted that the Police Central eCrime Unit (PCeU) had "acted with commendable speed and that, had Jeffery been able to publish the data as he threatened, it could have resulted in terrible consequences".
Although Jeffery said he was a member of Anonymous, there is no indication that the wider group supported his actions. Indeed, his hack came a day after Anonymous attacked the Vatican's website, partly over the Catholic church's anti-abortion stance.