Barrett's most recent mugshot. (He really weighs 150 now.)

Politics & Government

Barrett Brown Formally Announces His New Gig: The Pursuance System

Buckle up. This takes some explaining.

It’s funny. Just a couple days ago, someone up here asked if she could use the desk in our office where, for several months after his release from prison, Barrett Brown vaped and wrote about Dallas City Council meetings. “It’s yours,” I said. “Barrett isn’t coming back.” This person was sad. Barrett was sort of like an office pet, a feral cat that wandered in one day and won everyone’s heart. Then he was gone. The person asked me what Barrett was up to. I said, “I think he’s just hanging out at his apartment on Henderson, writing his book and working to overthrow the U.S. government.”

Turns out, I was more right than I knew. Over on Vice’s Motherboard, Barrett yesterday announced his next project, the Pursuance System. In announcing his goals and what it would take to achieve them, he wrote:

[O]ne would have to recruit software developers with specialized skills as well as backgrounds in cryptography and open-source development. It would be necessary to convince journalists, producers, and editors that such a project would enable them to conduct meaningful crowd-sourced research of a sort that would improve upon conventional practices, and to enlist their support. Ideally, one would obtain assistance from some of the more dynamic political parties, particularly in Europe, and establish a partnership with their governing bodies. One would need to begin outreach to nonprofits and NGOs and make plans to assist existing organizations in using the platform to better make use of their supporters. Eventually, a non-profit would have to be established to oversee additional funding and ongoing operations. As such, one would need to establish a board of directors and fill it with prominent figures representing a range of sectors. The project would have to be floated in a handful of news outlets so as to attract early support and volunteers; ongoing and staggered media exposure would be necessary as well, covering at least a year and involving everything from documentaries to national outlets to a major book release, so as to further broaden the potential constituency for an effort that, being not only ambitious but also rather unconventional, will require extraordinary institutional support if it is to be taken seriously, and thereafter prove successful.

Again, this would be a considerable undertaking. It’s just as well, then, that I’ve already done all of these things.

If nothing else, this should be fun to watch. Stay tuned.