Relatively Free

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Barrett Brown is an American freelance journalist and activist who has written for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, and many more leading publications, and was the founder of Project PM a research collaboration and wiki which served the purpose of facilitating the analysis of hacked emails and other information and whistle-blowers and hackers. He was closely associated with the Anonymous activist hacker group, with some media outlets referring to Brown as the groups spokesperson (a label that he consistently refuted).

On March 6th 2012 Brown’s apartment and the house of his mother were raided by the FBI who were executing search warrants to seek evidence of alleged crimes, they took possession of his laptops and claimed to find records relating to various hacking groups that were involved in illegal activities including Anonymous and LulzSec. He was arrested on September 12th 2012 after allegedly threatening an FBI agent in a YouTube video.

Brown was indicted on numerous charges pertaining to that threat and also to 12 federal charges relating to a 2011 hack of a private intelligence company, Brown had simply shared a link to the data online but was facing up to 45 years in prison for that act alone. He was further indicted on two counts of obstruction for concealing evidence relating to the initial raid on his property. He was sentenced to 63 months in prison in January 2015 after accepting a plea bargain and ordered to pay $890,250 in restitution, much of the sentence had already been served as he had been in custody for over two years.

Relatively Free is a short documentary by Alex Winter (approx 20 mins) which follows Brown as he is released from prison in November 2016 to live in a halfway house, in the film Brown reflects on his past, his time in jail, and on what his future may have in store. He was re-arrested in April 2017 and taken back to jail after speaking to the media which was a breach of his release conditions. You may also be interested in watching The Hacker Wars, a feature length 2014 documentary which includes a contribution from Brown.

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