Does the law have mercy for computer hackers with a cause?
That was a recurring question in 2013 as several so-called hacktivists, facing years in prison, pleaded for leniency, claiming they had broken into computer networks for the public good.
"I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors," Jeremy Hammond told a judge, echoing other hackers who said their motives were ideological, not financial. "I did what I believe is right."
But the courts showed little sympathy for such arguments in 2013, a year when hacktivists and the government clashed repeatedly in an escalating struggle over control of information.