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U.S. prosecutors
filed criminal charges against two people accused of stealing the email
addresses and other personal data of about 120,000 users of Apple Inc’s iPad tablet computer.

Daniel Spitler and Andrew
Auernheimer were each charged with one count of fraud and one count of
conspiracy to access a computer without authorization, prosecutors said.

charges arise from an alleged hacking last year of AT&T Inc’s
servers, which affected iPad users who accessed the Internet through
AT&T’s 3G network.

Spitler is
expected to appear later Tuesday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey,
while Auernheimer is expected to appear in an Arkansas federal court.

Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be located.

charges come seven months after a group calling itself Goatse Security
said it hacked into AT&T’s iPad subscriber data, obtaining a list of
email addresses that also included celebrities, chief executives,
politicians and several senior government officials.

Goatse did not immediately return requests for comment.

launched the iPad last April. Industry analysts on average expect Apple
to have sold 5.5 million of the devices in its fiscal first quarter,
which includes the holiday shopping season.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel declined to comment. Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.

Fishman, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation plan to hold a press conference Tuesday
afternoon to discuss the charges.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Sinead Carew, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Derek Caney)