Bradley Manning Convicted of Computer Fraud for Using a Free, Open-Source Program
Among the charges that Army Private Bradley Manning was found guilty of this week was computer fraud—for using a free, open-source program.
When Manning downloaded thousands of classified files, he used wget, a simple Web program that’s been around since 1996. Anyone can use wget to store downloaded files, and yet the government managed to convince the military court that Manning’s use of it amounted to computer fraud.
Prosecutors argued that wget was not on the list of “approved” programs for use in the facility where Manning worked. They also claimed that using an unauthorized program to help store the secret documents amounted to a digital “trespass,” thus computer fraud.
Manning’s lawyers asked the judge, Colonel Denise Lind, to dismiss the charge, saying that their client hadn’t stolen passwords or bypassed digital firewalls to access the documents and thus had not committed computer fraud. But Lind declined to throw out the charge.
The computer fraud conviction alone carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
To Learn More:
The Free Web Program that Got Bradley Manning Convicted of Computer Fraud (by Max Fisher, Washington Post)
Bradley Manning and the "Hacker Madness" Scare Tactic (by Cindy Cohn, Slate)
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