Barrett Brown, Political Prisoner Of The Information Revolution

Kevin M Gallagher | The Guardian | July 13, 2013

If the US government succeeds in criminalising Brown's posting of a hyperlink, the freedom of all internet users is in jeopardy

When I first noticed Barrett Brown in early 2011, I never thought that two years later I'd be directing Free Barrett Brown. Intrigued by his irreverence, I became familiar with his work, admiring him for his skill as a writer. I spoke to him briefly on IRC (internet relay chat) and occasionally dropped into the same channels he frequented; later I met him in person at a conference in New York City. But it's the US government's behavior in this and other cases – see also, Manning, Hammond, Swartz, Assange, etc – that have made running his legal defense fund a labor of love for me.

The distributed research project Brown founded, Project PM, is important and necessary. Since 9/11, the intelligence and cyber-security contracting industries have exploded in size. I believe, as Barrett does, that the public/private partnership on surveillance constitutes a threat to civil transparency and the health of democratic institutions. Large and very profitable companies like Booz Allen Hamilton obtain most of their revenues from the federal government; yet, the majority of their work is performed in secrecy.