HOPE X - Persecution of Information Activists # Anonymous is an idea

HOPE X - Persecution of Information Activists

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Barrett Brown and Anonymous: Persecution of Information Activists.

Barrett Brown, a Dallas-based writer and freelance journalist, was arrested in late 2012 and indicted several times on charges including the publication of a hyperlink. He was earlier pegged by the media as an “unofficial spokesperson” for the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous. But who is he really and what was he trying to uncover that made him a target of the feds? The prosecution was widely regarded as excessive and included a gag order, subpoenas, charges issued against family members, attempts to seize defense funds, and criminal counts so flawed that they were later dismissed.

This talk will explore Brown’s work, what happened during his case, the dynamics of his interactions with Anonymous and its implications for other journalists who work with hackers, and why his case outraged many of those who care for free speech and freedom of press.

Gabriella Coleman

is an author and professor. Trained as an anthropologist, she holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. Her research, teaching, and writing covers the ethics and politics of digital activism and computer hackers. Her first book, Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, has been published with Princeton University Press, and her new book with Verso, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Story of Anonymous, will be out in November, 2014.

Ahmed Ghappour

is a professor at UC Hastings College of the Law. There, he directs a project that addresses constitutional issues in national security and cyber security prosecutions across the country. His scholarship looks at the interplay between emerging technology and national security – particularly as demonstrated by the modern surveillance state and the evolution of cyberspace as a theater of war. Formerly, Ahmed was a diagnostics engineer at SGI’s high performance computing division.

Kevin Gallagher

is a systems administrator and activist who is interested in privacy and freedom of information. After Barrett Brown’s arrest, he created Free Barrett Brown, a support network, advocacy organization, and legal defense fund. To that end, he has been responsible for much of the public efforts that have been put forth regarding Brown’s defense. He now works for Freedom of the Press Foundation.

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