Cory Doctorow investigated by FBI

Originally published at:


Evergreen advice from Cory’s post on the call:

There’s nothing illegal in that post, but also you should never talk to cops without a lawyer, so I asked him if he minded my setting up a time to make that happen. He said that was fine with him.

Federal agents are much better trained than most local LE – they know they can catch more flies with honey – but make no mistake, they’re adversarial to suspects. Even if you don’t intentionally lie to them, anything that can be construed as dissembling in the course of an investigation is itself fertile loam for charges.

If there’s any chance you think may ever be investigated, however remote or innocently, know a lawyer you can contact. You can’t afford not to.



Quite a bit more laid-back than swatting, but perhaps no less dangerous.


I hope that whatever animosity toward Cory that prompted this dick move by an arsehole doesn’t extend to his former colleagues at this site. I’m sure the Happy Mutants would handle things like Cory did, but this kind of call from the FBI is something no-one wants to deal with.

I also hope the FBI turns around and looks into the jerk who made this frivolous charge against Cory. Given the timing and subject matter of the post I’m assuming it was a white supremacist who was butthurt about Confederate monuments being pulled down.


I’d hope too that whoever alerted the FBI can be made to pay Cory’s legal expenses.

I also wonder, have blog commenters ever been sicced on like this for the content of a comment?


Well, the reason many who have been “investigated, however remote or innocently” do not lawyer up is because they can’t afford to, let alone actually know a lawyer.


Hence my statement that you can’t afford not to. I’m not saying keep a lawyer on retainer. I’m saying that in our injustice system it costs more to not lawyer up. In no way, shape or form should this advice be taken as defense of the colossally fucked up leviathan in which you get as much “justice” as you can afford, or the fact that it screws poor people.


No-life arseholes being no-life arseholes, I’m sure there have been a lot of attempts to hard- or soft-SWAT people based on comments, especially by right-wingers. I would guess most follow-up investigations would run up against Section 230, as well as a reluctance by forum owners to disclose IP address and other identifying information connected with relatively innocuous or obviously hyperbolic comments.

It would be a particularly fruitless task to try it here, given the moderation and media savvy and professionalism of the BBS owners. But some tr0lls are so aggressively stupid that they’d try anyhow.


Researching lawyers is free, and not something you want to have to start doing in the stress of the moment you realize you need one.


That’s still not the same as being able to just call up a lawyer friend from the EFF and ask them to call on your behalf like Cory could. For one, it’s not free.

Which is not a criticism of Cory, good for him that he could and it’s always satisfying to see when dirty tricks like that run up against someone who happens to know what they’re doing and who has the resources to properly handle it.


Have they seen the videos where people are severely injured whilst ill-prepared to topple statues? Cory is saving lives with his sage advice.

Too bad he didn’t write something about overthrowing government with violence - G-Men would have ignored that.


Unrelated to the topic at hand, but funny:
My 8th grade history teacher was a draftee during Vietnam. On the draft paperwork, there was the question, “Do you support the overthrow of the United States government through force or violence?”

After thinking long and hard about this question, he chose force.


There are ways for other people to get in a better position to find an affordable lawyer. Volunteer with your local NLG or legal aid in a non lawyer capacity. You’ll be doing good in the world and when you need to make a panicked call, you’ll know who might be affordable for your situation. They may not be willing or able to work for free, but they tend to be more open to non-traditional payment arrangements for people who have helped them.


Yes. :confused:


Eep! Thanks, I guess. . .

I suppose if that happened here, it would mean BB owners having to give up data that would identify commenters. :grimacing:


Thankfully we have very little. IP address, email. We don’t even have passwords if you use any of the auth systems (signin with google, etc), and if you use signin with apple, we don’t even have your email address unless you choose to give it to us.

These kinds of threats from law enforcement (or civil lawyers on behalf of asshats) are one of the primary sources for chilled speech on independent sites, be it the BBS or Boing Boing proper. Even I have been affected by them, doubly so because I also personally host all of Cory’s sites.


Relief Im So Relieved GIF


Oh, that’s nice! I pop over to Pluralistic every couple of days and check in on the good Doctorow.

Which reminds me I keep meaning to grab the next Little Brother novel.


I always thought that Cory Doctorow was a bad 'un. LOL :rofl: