Home > Uncategorized > Big brother’s heavy hand

Big brother’s heavy hand

anonAh, at last, a crime that will get someone punished.  Barrett Brown, self-proclaimed former (?) spokesman for the internet activist group known as “Anonymous,” has been charged with the crime of hyperlinking.  Hyperlinking, you ask?  Yes, hyperlinking.  His criminal offense was providing access to a web address that the gubmint didn’t want anyone to access.

A quick scan of the net suggests that maybe Barrett Brown is not the world’s most upstanding figure, but really — indicted for linking to an internet address?

See?  People who commit crimes against the right people get punished.

For more, here’s the Dallas Morning News’ blog: http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2012/12/new-federal-indictment-lists-12-more-charges-against-barrett-brown-once-the-self-proclaimed-spokesman-for-anonymous.html/

Gawker’s got coverage as well: http://gawker.com/5966757/former-anonymous-spokesman-barrett-brown-indicted-for-sharing-a-link-to-stolen-credit-card-information

Brown’s in legal trouble for copying and pasting a link from one chat room to another. This is scary to anyone who ever links to anything.

  1. Cheers
    December 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Somebody must be suffering Local Injustice Fatigue, blog stories about blog stories are a lot like their TV equivalent.

  2. December 9, 2012 at 8:32 am


    In context, I think it’s a pretty big story, the internet itself being one of the more remarkable aspects of modern life.

    The internet was originally designed with survivability as a goal, so by its nature it is self-healing. Dictators can shut it down within countries by limiting the number of connections to the outside world, but in a place like the US, controlling the internet would be extraordinarily difficult.

    People are identified to the internet only by their IP address, and there are system like Tor in place to enable people to hide their IP address with a reasonable expectation that they can truly remain anonymous.

    These two aspects of the internet make it problematic for governments and corporations, and a genuine tool for individuals without money or power, except for their words.

    The main responses to date have been on the sociological and technological sides.

    The “walled garden” is sociology, where people are inexplicably convinced that they need to be at Facebook, or someplace similar.

    On the technology side, Microsoft and Intel have been developing an additional response, the “trusted computer,” where everyone can identify you without your knowing. It’s a bit like the way color photocopiers embed their serial numbers in documents, without anyone bothering to tell their supposed “owners:” https://www.eff.org/issues/printers .

    On the “justice” side, we are now seeing the government trying to pretend that sharing a link to stolen information that has been public for months is a crime. I think that’s an interesting development, don’t you?

    It should be interesting to those concerned with liberty that telling someone an address at which they can find something the government doesn’t want them to find is now considered illegal by the FBI. With that logic, every book on locksmithing should be illegal, and the people who pointed out that you can open expensive bike locks with a pen ought to be in jail, like the people who have put out online videos on “bumping” house locks. Sure, the companies producing the locks could go to the expense of making them actually function like locks, but it would be so much easier to put anyone who talks about their business fraud in jail.

  3. Cheers
    December 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    It seems odd that someone who regularly criticizes his critic’s anonymity would be concerned with others right to anonymity.

    (In my case, Mitch bothering to point out my use of various pseudonyms, then, when I use “anonymous” bothering again to point out that my writing style gives my identity away…assuming anyone cares).

    Without the time for a local phone call, or Hank Sim’s dissection of the L.A. Times for local stories, or, as Amy Goodman does; follow up on known scandals and injustices, it’s tough to uncover relevant local news stories.

    Did you know that the local fire station has a camera that can see what you are doing in your home from outside?

    With their high divorce rate, I wonder how often law enforcement borrows it…

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