Electronic Frontier Foundation legal director Cindy Cohn has published an original take on the Bradley Manning prosecution at the EFF's blog. In it, she recounts how government prosecutors portrayed the 25 year old former Army intelligence specialist as uniquely menacing because of his knowledge of computers and digital tools. In other words, exploiting the judge's lack of familiarity with technology. Cohn describes this as "Hacker madness."
[T]he decision today continues a trend of government prosecutions that use familiarity with digital tools and knowledge of computers as a scare tactic and a basis for obtaining grossly disproportionate and unfair punishments, strategies enabled by broad, vague laws like the CFAA and the Espionage Act. Let's call this the “hacker madness” strategy. Using it, the prosecution portrays actions taken by someone using a computer as more dangerous or scary than they actually are by highlighting the digital tools used to a nontechnical or even technophobic judge.Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous “Hacker Madness” Prosecution Strategy [eff.org, via Trevor Timm]Next post