Journalist Barrett Brown sentenced to five years imprisonment for sharing a website link

Mumbai, Krishna Bahirwani: Barrett Brown founder of Project PM, which provides research and analysis of intelligence contracting, cyber-security, and expanding surveillance capabilities has been sentenced to sixty-three-months in prison, minus the thirty-one-months he has already served for merely sharing a link to hacked material.

Brown has been a journalist with the likes of the Guardian, the Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. He was also involved with the Anonymous Movement till 2011 and was to be made an example of using the combined sentence of over one hundred years he faced at one point.

Upon recieving his sentence, Brown via an official statement said “Good news! — The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex. I seek to expose wrongdoing by Bureau of Prisons officials and staff and otherwise report on news and culture in the world’s greatest prison system. I want to thank the Department of Justice for having put so much time and energy into advocating on my behalf; rather than holding a grudge against me for the two years of work I put into in bringing attention to a DOJ-linked campaign to harass and discredit journalists like Glenn Greenwald, the agency instead labored tirelessly to ensure that I received this very prestigious assignment. — Wish me luck!”

Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international non-profit digital rights group based in the United States released a statement on the sentencing saying “This raises uncomfortable similarities to the disturbing saga of Aaron Swartz, who ultimately committed suicide after facing the threat of years in federal prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). While the substantive criminal charges and motivations between Brown and Swartz may have been different, they present a clear view of just how powerful and uncomfortable the scrutiny of federal law enforcement can be.

At a time when the White House is seeking to increase penalties under the CFAA, these cases highlight just how intense federal law enforcement power can be and calls for caution before we expand already harsh criminal laws.

While we’re disappointed with the sentence Brown received, we hope everyone takes this sentencing as a clarion call to not only continue the fight for government transparency and press freedom that Brown’s work represents, but to make clear that increasing the criminal penalties and devastating consequences that come with a federal criminal indictment is a bad idea.”

Posted by on January 25, 2015. Filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.