Aleksanteri Kivimäki attended a hearing in the District Court of Western Uusimaa on Tuesday, 27 February. Kivimäki faces up to eight years in prison for the obtaining and ultimately releasing sensitive information on tens of thousands of patients of Psychotherapy Centre Vastaamo. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

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ALEKSANTERI KIVIMÄKI should be sentenced to the maximum penalty of eight years in prison for what prosecutors describe as an exceptional crime, the hacking of Psychotherapy Centre Vastaamo.

“A crime such as this had never even been thought of when the penalties were decreed. It’s hard for us to think of a more serious collection of acts,” prosecutor Bo-Niklas Lundqvist was quoted saying in his closing argument at the District Court of Western Uusimaa on Wednesday by YLE.

“That’s why we don’t think there’s any ground for talking about anything other than the maximum penalty.”

The Finnish public broadcasting company highlighted that the prosecutors sought to call attention to the unprecedented nature of the offence with a number of descriptions: a completely ruthless, exceptionally cruel crime that demonstrates complete disregard for the victims, and a crime that, in terms of the number of victims, is the largest in the history of Finland.

“No other criminal case has caused as much suffering. The act was carried out in an exceptionally cruel and psychologically brutal way relative to the amount of gains sought,” said Lundqvist.

Kivimäki, the prosecutors argued, was scouring the internet for vulnerabilities he could exploit, ultimately finding one in the patient database of Psychotherapy Centre Vastaamo. He accessed the database at the end of 2018 and held on to the sensitive data for two years before starting to extort both the service provider and its clients in the latter half of 2020.

He published some of the data deliberately and, later, the data in their entirety by accident.

The prosecutors calculated that if all the victims had agreed to the demands of the defendant, he would have raked in more than 4.5 million euros. Criminal investigators, though, concluded that only 20 of the victims made the 200-euro payment demanded by the defendant.

Kivimäki stands accused of aggravated computer break-in, nearly 9,600 counts of dissemination of information violating personal privacy, more than 21,300 counts of attempted aggravated extortion and 20 counts of aggravated extortion.

He has denied all the charges.

The defence is set to deliver its final arguments before the District Court of Western Uusimaa on 8 March. The court is likely to set a date for its ruling in the same hearing, according to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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