German man confesses in politician data hack, authorities say

A German man detained for obtaining and publishing online private information belonging to hundreds of politicians and celebrities has confessed and says he acted alone, authorities alleged Tuesday.

Officials said the 20-year-old's apartment in the central state of Hesse was searched on Sunday evening.

The man was detained, questioned and then released on Monday for lack of legal grounds to keep him in custody.

Georg Ungefuk, a spokesperson for the Frankfurt prosecutors' office that specializes in internet crime, says the man told investigators he acted alone and they have found no evidence that anyone else was involved.

The Federal Criminal Police Office said the man told investigators "he acted out of annoyance at public statements by the politicians, journalists and public personalities involved."

Ungefuk said the suspect lives with his parents and is still in school.

Far-right party spared

Authorities have said almost 1,000 people were affected by the data breach. In most cases, the information made public was limited to basic contact details, but in up to 60 cases, more extensive personal data were published.

The information appeared to include data on members of all parties in parliament except those from the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

Questions have been raised about the way the data breach was handled by Germany's IT security agency, after it emerged that it was made aware weeks before the mass publication on Jan. 3.

The data were first posted before Christmas via a Twitter account that was taken offline on Friday.

The IT security agency has acknowledged it was approached by one lawmaker about suspicious activity on his private email and social media accounts in early December, but said it believed at the time his experience was a one-off case.

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