updated 8/30/2011 8:35:40 PM ET 2011-08-31T00:35:40

British police say they have charged a 17-year-old male over attacks carried out by the computer hacking group known as Anonymous.

Scotland Yard says the teen, from Chester, central England, has been charged in relation to denial-of-service attacks against various companies. Police did not name the companies.

Denial-of-service attacks choke websites with traffic the same way a telephone line might be jammed with thousands of crank calls.

Anonymous likens such attacks to online civil disobedience, but penalties can be severe. The maximum sentence for a conviction on such a charge is 10 years in prison.

Police said Tuesday the teen — who cannot be named for legal reasons — was arrested in January and will appear at City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Sept. 7.

Peter David Gibson, a 22-year-old student, was charged last week with the same offense. Gibson also will appear in court on Sept. 7.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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