Piracy

Three Members of “Team-Xecuter” Identified and Indicted in the United States

By Bill Toulas / October 3, 2020

Only two days back, we discussed Nintendo’s action against websites that distributed the “Team-Xecuter” chip cracks for the Switch console, and how stopping these would be impossible as long as the hacking/cracking team continues its work. Nintendo didn’t even bother to target “Team-Xecuter” legally, which was weird, but we can now deduce that they didn’t have to. The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted three group members, and two of them have already been arrested and held in custody.

According to the relevant announcement, the arrested individuals are Max Louarn, 48, and Gary Bowser, 51. The third person who hasn’t been tracked down by law enforcement yet is Yuanning Chen, 35. The U.S. DoJ believes that there are many more behind the group, but these three are high-ranking hackers who can lead to the rest.

For now, though, the “official” Team-Xecuter” website remains online, and the crack code for Nintendo Switch is still available for download. The most recent Switch firmware release came out on September 16, 2020, so the group has been very active until recently.

Source: team-xecuter.com

The arrested hackers face 11 felony counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each of these incurs several years of imprisonment and large fines, but all of that will have to be decided in a U.S. court once the extradition requests are green-lighted.

Team-Xecuter has previously stated that they do not endorse piracy and do not believe that unlocking electronic devices should be considered illegal in any way. Also, they never directly sold any Switch devices pre-loaded with games, so they didn’t engage in direct copyright infringements themselves. Additionally, the group has previously accused Nintendo of engaging in censorship and legal scare tactics against its own fan-base.

There are several gray areas in this case, like for example, the “right to repair” legislation, which practices can be considered as monopolistic and unfair, and whether or not a consumer who pays for a device owns it or not and has the right to do whatever they want with it.

The U.S. DoJ’s indictment is very aggressive against the Team-Xecuter team, but this battle is only starting. Hopefully, the hackers will have the legal ammunition to fight back and defend themselves and their activities on a fair basis, as this may change the rules of what consumers are allowed to do with the products they buy.



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