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Back in mid-September Barrett Brown, alleged spokesperson for the amorphous hacktivist group Anonymous, was arrested and indicted for threats he allegedly made to the life of an FBI agent.  Now, this former Kossack faces up to 15 years in prison for posting a link in an IRC channel.  That's not to mention as many as twelve additional charges, for each of which a fine of up to $250,000 (plus jail time) could be assessed.

According to the Anonymous account at Google+

Yes, you read that correctly. Barrett is now being prosecuted essentially for sharing information.
In Count 1 of the new indictment filed December 4th, the US District Court (Northern Texas, Dallas Div) alleges Brown did
knowingly traffic in more than five authentication features knowing that such features were stolen and produced without lawful authority, in that Brown transferred [a hyperlink] from the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel called "#Anonops" to an IRC channel under Brown's control
The indictment further specifies that the link gave access to an excess of 5,000 credit card users' information, lifted from Stratfor Global Intelligence (also of Anonymous infamy).

Additional counts in the indictment include:
- (Count Two) Access Device Fraud
- (Counts Two Through Twelve {sic}) Aggravated Identity Theft

No word yet as to whether Anonymous will retaliate for the latest charges against Brown, as they (allegedly) did back in September but Adrian Chen, covering the story over at Gawker voices some concerns about the new charges:

As a journalist who covers hackers and has "transferred and posted" many links to data stolen by hackers—in order to put them in stories about the hacks—this indictment is frightening because it seems to criminalize linking. Does this mean if a hacker posts a list of stolen passwords and usernames to Pastebin, the popular document-sharing site, and I link to them in a story or tweet I could be charged with "trafficking in stolen authentication features," as Brown has been?
Whether these charges announce a new front in the legal war against social media, or merely further codify the existing statutes on trafficking for the digital age, we may soon see some precedents set.

Originally posted to A Murphonic Convergence on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:25 AM PST.

Also republished by Anonymous Dkos.

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