The media has had a hard time labeling Barrett Brown. "Anonymous spokesman" doesn't fit because Anonymous is too anarchic and loosely organized to have a spokesman. For the same reason, he's not the collective's "self-proclaimed" spokesman, though he did have more than his share of media appearances. The best option seems to be simply to call Brown a "hacktivist" -- this conveys the idea that he agitates for a cause (Internet freedom) and that he uses quasi-legal means to do so -- and move on.
But now that Brown faces a century in prison on a raft of federal criminal charges, his supporters have settled on a different term to describe Brown: journalist.
Brown's legal defense fund dispatched a press release yesterday calling his arrest and prosecution "a prime example of government persecution of journalists who challenge the status quo."
Brown, his supporters say, was being targeted for his work with ProjectPM, the crowd-sourced research effort he helped establish to comb through leaked documents about government security and intelligence contractors. He was also working on a book for Amazon tentatively called Anonymous: Tales From Inside The Accidental Cyberwar.More »