A 21-year-old communications student and part-time librarian has been charged with computer hacking in relation to the leak of Frances Abbott‘s student records, and is now facing the possibility of jail time.
In May, online publication New Matilda ran a story about a $60,000 scholarship, awarded to Abbott by Sydney’s Whitehouse Institute of Design, after receiving information from an unnamed source.
New Matilda’s article questioned whether Ms Abbott’s scholarship was awarded on merit, and accused her father, Prime Minister Tony Abbott of not declaring it in his register of interests.
The Australian report that, late Monday night, 21-year-old Sydney woman Freya Newman was served with a court attendance notice, charged with gaining unauthorised access to restricted data held in a computer.
It is alleged that, on May 20 of this year, while working as a part-time night librarian, Newman logged into the Whitehouse Institute’s Edupoint software using another staff member’s details, and accessed confidential files pertaining to Ms Abbott.
The Whitehouse Institute, who made the initial complaint, have reportedly provided police with CCTV footage and emails that are said to identify the accused.
There is little information about Newman online, but a student publication from 2013 identifies her as a member of the UTS Wom*n’s Collective, active in pro-choice movements around campus.
She will face a magistrate next month, and if convicted, could face up to two years imprisonment.
Photo: Lisa Maree WIlliams via Getty Images