December 11, 2012

You can now get sent to court for sharing a link

You now can get hauled into federal court in the United States for sharing a link in a chat room, apparently.  
Barrett Brown, the journalist covering Anonymous-related activities for news outlets like The Guardian, was charged late Friday with 12 charges including linking, identity theft and fraud related to the Stratfor Global Intelligence hack.
The indictment reads, “in that Brown transferred the hyperlink ‘’ from the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel called ‘#AnonOps’ to an IRC channel under Brown’s control called ‘#ProjectPM,’ said hyperlink provided access to data stolen from the company Stratfor Global Intelligence, to include in excess of 5,000 credit card account numbers.”
Brown, who's also writing a book about Anonymous, shared a link that thousands of people have shared before him. Brown is not charged with hacking into Stratfor, mind you, just linking. In fact, Brown's involvement with Stratfor was more as a press laison than anything else.
As someone who has been in and around Anonymous since 2008 as either as an activist or journalist, Brown’s indictment is downright terrifying. I’m not the only one that thinks so either.   
Gawker’s Adrian Chen called this indictment “frightening because it seems to criminalize linking,” and he’s right. There is nothing in the language of the indictment that clarifies when it is okay to link to documents Anonymous puts publicly online.
I’ve linked to “stolen information” countless times in articles I have written about Anonymous activities, and I know of other journalists and bloggers who have done the same. Besides articles, I’ve also retweeted Anonymous posts, posts that contained information that could be classified as stolen. There is nothing in Brown’s indictment that clarifies whether sharing links in this manner is illegal either.  
“Worryingly, there is no specific information to indicate what, if anything, differentiates Brown’s behavior from that of any Twitter user simply retweeting the link to those files,”wrote Lorraine Murphy at The Daily Dot.    
Who else retweeting dodgy information will be arrested?
Immediately following news of Brown's indictment, Internet activists, journalists and bloggers protested by tweeting the link that got Brown arrested, under #RightToLink.


  1. "The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
    Ayn Rand"

    “We are in power. Nobody will deny it. By virtue of that power we shall remain in power…We have no words to waste on you. When you reach out your vaunted strong hands for our palaces and purpled ease, we will show you what strength is. In roar of shell and shrapnel and in whine of machine-guns will our answer be couched. We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain. As for the host of labor, it has been in the dirt since history began, and I read history aright. And in the dirt it shall remain so long as I and mine and those that come after us have the power. There is the word. It is the king of words–Power. Not God, not Mammon, but Power. Pour it over your tongue till it tingles with it. Power.”
    - Mr. Wickson, The Iron Heel by Jack London (1908), chapter 4

    "Poor people have access to the courts in the same sense that Christians had access to the lions." - Justice Earl Johnson, Jr.

  2. The solution is to share instructions on how to access the information (ie enter this URL, click on this, click on that)

  3. This is NOT valid, what the Feds claim are "laws" are , in fact, only "statutes. Statutes can be gotten around with, in a Court. There are ways, and you have to do a basic research of the Legal System, AND Legalese. The Legalese seems to be the same as English, but the meanings are different.
    That's how the Leal System fools you, and any lawyers you get, are NOT working for you.

    Research the scam of your Birth Certificate, and your name in CAPS.

    Research all the Legal Dictionaries you can, ESPECIALLY
    "Black's Law Dictionary." Editions are expensive, but public libraries have copies in the Reference section. Take notes.

    All of this is very revealing.

    See online:

    "The Extortion System of the Ruling Elite"

    It's a long read, take notes. And take what you need, and as usual, leave the rest.

    I suggest everyone prep themselves for any eventually, by a continuous research online.