Internet activist Barrett Brown sentenced to five years in prison

After already having served 28 months in detention, U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay has sentenced journalist and supposed Anonymous spokesperson Barrett Brown to five years behind bars for acting as an accessory after the fact to an unauthorized access to a protected computer. That was the only one of three remaining charges against Brown that actually stuck, stemming from an offer Brown made in hopes of helping Jeremy Hammond, an imprisoned hacktivist who made public millions of emails from the servers of security firm Stratfor.

Haven't been keeping tabs on Brown's sojourn? We can't exactly blame you -- this day has been years in the making. Brown originally came to prominence when he (as an avid Anonymous watcher) copied and pasted a link pointing to the leaked Stratfor emails from an Anonymous IRC chat to another used by members of Project PM, an investigative community he founded to keep tabs on the sprawling surveillance industry. The rub? That link also pointed to ill-gotten credit card information, prompting law enforcement to get involved. At the time of his initial arrest in 2012, Brown was nailed with 12 cybercrime charges, including a fraud charge for spreading around that hyperlink. Later, nearly all of those charges were dropped, and replaced with three more centered upon acting as an accessory, obstruction of justice and threatening an FBI agent by way of meandering YouTube rants. At one point Brown faced a prison sentence over 100 years long for his actions, but a plea deal cut in April 2014 severely reduced the potential penalties down to only about 8 years.