Home Scandal and Gossip Barrett Brown link sharing charges dismissed. But I’m still worried.

Barrett Brown link sharing charges dismissed. But I’m still worried.

Barrett Brown link sharing charges
The dangers of being a journalist are very real….

The US government yesterday motioned to dismiss 11 of the 12 the 12 criminal charges against hacktivist journalist Barrett Brown.

Anonymous representative Barrett Brown declares that they will either win or go to jail as Anonymous is now poised for further incriminating releases. But is it just a ruse?

Barrett Brown doesn’t want you to buy his book.

The journalist who has already spent a year in jail, was charged with sharing a link to information stolen from Austin, Texas private intelligence company Stratfor on the IRC channel. The hack was part of Project PM, a crowd sourced investigation into the digital surveillance apparatus of the U.S government and others. The actual hacker, Jeremy Hammond, pled guilty and has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

Of the 12 federal charges Brown faced relating to device fraud and aggravated identity theft, only one now stands.

dailydot: Brown still faces charges for “access device fraud.” According to the 2012 indictment against Brown, he allegedly “possessed at least fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, in that he possessed stolen credit card account numbers and CVVs without the knowledge and authorization of the card holders.”

In addition, he faces separate charges for threatening and spreading information about a federal agent in 2012.

But whilst that may be good news, significantly reducing the potential for a 105 year sentence that Brown was possibly looking to serve, salon reminds us that Brown’s persecution by the government for journalist acts continue to reflect a dangerous moment in the state’s ongoing demand for hegemonic control over information potential of significant public interest.

The UK’s guardian points out despite the dropping of most of the charges against him, Barrett Brown still faces a possible maximum sentence of 70 years. Hardly the positive endorsement of a free press and democracy that we have come to expect. Then again maybe the press isn’t really as free as we think it is?

The dropping of charges comes as lawyers, publishers and internet freedom campaigners have warned it could set a precedent that ‘would have put a chill on the culture of linking across the web.’

To date Federal prosecutors have given no further information as to why they decided to drop the counts. That though doesn’t mean other journalists ought to watch very carefully what they link to in the future given what we’ve already seen. So much for democracy…

Donations to the journalist’s defense can be made at freebarrettbrown.org

above image found here



  1. American prosecutors have become exceptionally skilled at “stretching” laws to reach Internet-related behavior that communicates some kind of a message, opinion, or information that certain individuals want to suppress. In this case, Brown is being persecuted for his role in an informational campaign deeply embarrassing to the intelligence community. But other, equally troubling efforts to restrict freedom of expression are currently on display in New York, where the artist Essam Attia was tracked down and arrested after he unwisely posted fake “NYPD drone” ads (an obvious act of political satire), and where “criminally deadpan Gmail confessions” distributed in the “name” of a well-connected academic department chairman lie at the center of an astonishing case currently awaiting review at the state’s highest court in Albany. Apparently many of the same issues as the ones involved in the Brown case (vagueness of the laws, no intent to cause any tangible harm to anyone) are at stake in the “Gmail confession” case; see the documentation at:


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