It's a question to be asked, for sure, in the case of Terrence Brown of Portsmouth, Great Britain. Mr. Brown thought it was a good idea to create CDRoms of instructions (being called "terror handbooks" in the papers) on how to make all kinds of bombs, and sold those CDRom' on the internet.
It's not like the material wasn't readily available all over the internet... but I've got to seriously question his motives...
He said he only made them to make money but he was convicted of nine terrorism-related charges and a further count relating to the proceeds of crime.
From a purely marketing viewpoint, is there REALLY that big a demand for "how to blow up your neighbourhood" that you can earn a living from it?
I don't think so. But I could be wrong. Probably am, actually. Wouldn't be the first time, God knows! and it's not likely to be the last.
During the three-week trial, the court heard that Brown set up a website based on the 1970s book the Anarchist's Cookbook, selling CDs containing information compiled from an al-Qaeda training manual, the Mujahideen Poisons Book and other sources.
Two things are very evident from this paragraph of the news story.
1. The British government was severely upset with Mr. Brown, and was willing to devote an enormous amount of resources to shutting him down.
2. Mr. Brown was obviously a diligent researcher and went to great lengths himself to find all this information!
Now, I haven't gone about searching for "al-Qaeda training manual" or "Mujahideen Poisons Book", at least NOT from my own home, but who hasn't laughed at the Anarchist's Cookbook?
Nobody in their right mind would play around with that crap.
The judge was unimpressed with Mr. Brown or his motives though.
"Motivated only by money, you acted in what can only be described in a completely irresponsible way.
"Furthermore your use of the 7/7 bombing as a marketing tool, and the downloading of a very large amount of new material and the selling of the so-called 'limited edition' within literally days of these events, is not just irresponsible, it's incredibly cynical."
Cynical or not, we do live in the Information Age, and there will always be people willing to buy the kind of information that makes governments nervous.