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Barrett had the insight to realize early on that the troves of emails that were hacked by Anonymous out of HBGary Federal and Stratfor and subsequently made public had the potential to provide a rare window into the activities of the cyber-intelligence industry. I believe it was this journalistic work of digging into areas that powerful people would rather keep in the dark that made him a target.
Contrary to claims, Brown is not a hacker (he is unabashedly lacking in technical skills). Nor was he a spokesperson for Anonymous (the very idea is ridiculous). He is an iconoclastic writer with a penchant for satire and hyperbole. He became an activist by observing the media's failure to cover the issues or stories that he deemed important. Some of his proudest work was the assistance rendered by Anonymous to citizens in North Africa during the first months of the Arab Spring.
As an information activist who understands how information can be distributed and have an impact, Brown was extremely skilled and media-savvy. With Anonymous, he fulfilled a function that was necessary, and which few others were willing to do: put a public face to a movement for transparency. He was highly effective – and that's why he's being punished so severely.
The fact that he's now facing a possible maximum of 105 years in prison is distressing, but it's indicative of the larger pattern: an out-of-touch government at war with the press, prosecuting whistleblowers and activists, trying to silence dissent. Brown's work has been interrupted, but many of the things he warned about – mass surveillance of journalists, the threat to privacy presented by intelligence contractors, have turned out to be correct. He has been hugely vindicated – and public support for him is growing....more at link
originally posted by: TDawg61
A real life cautionary tale.