Aaron Swartz was truly The Internet’s Own Boy. And they truly did kill him.
Driven to suicide by the prospect of decades in prison for merely accessing thousands of protected academic journals in line with the “information wants to be free” credo, and guaranteed the lifelong label of a felon even if he agreed to a plea deal, Swartz’s death by his own hand served as a grim reality check. Amid escalating judicial overreach, it reminded all sides that there is a human cost to political machinations.
Of all the commenters, it was radical sex blogger Susie Bright who put it best:
This post has been edited to indicate that the journals were never actually released to the public.
Categories: Aaron Swartz, Activism, Conspiracy, Court Cases, Crime, Crypto, FBI, Hackers, Hacktivism, Opinion, Police
He never released thousands of protected academic journals. First, there was no distribution. Secondly, they were not “protected.” MIT offered public network access and through this public network access, in agreement with JSTOR, users could download (legally) academic journal articles. Aaron created an account (legally), and downloaded the articles (legally). There was likely no breech in the terms of service with JSTOR. Aaron did attach his computer to MIT’s network via an ethernet cable in an closet. The closet was not marked do not enter. The closet was not locked when Aaron entered. The equipement Aaron made use of did not say on it: do not use. Connecting the computer to the network involved nothing abnormal and did not attempt to remove Aaron from the network. When the network did disconnect Aaron’s computer from the network, he simply reconnected without doing any sort of malicious activity against the network.
The Government was abusing its power and using absurd readings of bad laws to try to create a criminal case over what, **if anything**, should have been a civil matter. Even after the civil matter was resolved — JSTOR publicly stated they did not want to see charges brought against Aaron and had no interest in bringing a civil charge against Aaron –, the Government still chose to bring criminal charges against Aaron.
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Thank you Joshua,
Aaron never released any of the journal articles he had downloaded and, in fact, returned the entire set of hard drives intact to JSTOR, in return for them dropping charges. This did not, however, stop Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann from proceeding with their “career-making” prosecution of Aaron. Visiting Aaron’s grave yesterday, I sadly reflected on the venality, the cruelty, and the overreach of federal prosecutors trying to make a name for themselves by hounding a brilliant and vulnerable young boy to his death.
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I’ll correct that.
The world cannot afford to lose people like Aaron– His brilliance, his creativity and his heart.
As he said, the future is in our hands.
A brilliant life destroyed to promote careers of federal scum.
They killed the messenger, but the message lives strong.
And it is up to us (the Constitution’s “people”) to carry on.
The carrying on might include thinking of the revolutionary
candidate for US president in 2016. Aaron would have been a good candidate.
Who in his absence?