David Carr recently reported in the New York Times that journalist Barrett Brown could face a 100-year prison term if he’s found guilty for linking to stolen information. He didn’t steal this information himself, nor did he post it online. He simply linked to it.
Brown is a dogged journalist who has done important and revealing reporting on the business of surveillance. His work has appeared in BusinessWeek, the Guardian, the Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. He has also served at times as a self-appointed spokesman for Anonymous, the leaderless Web collective of hackers and activists.
As a victim, he’s imperfect, Carr writes. Brown has struggled with substance abuse and by all accounts hasn’t always been easy to get along with. For example, he threatened an FBI agent and his family by name in a video he posted to YouTube.
Brown came to the government’s attention when he linked in a chat room to material Anonymous had posted online.