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Aaron Swartz Indicted in Attempted Piracy of Four Million Documents

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-information-wants-to-be-free dept.

Media 174

An anonymous reader writes "New York Times has reported that Internet activist Aaron Swartz has been indicted for stealing more than 4 million documents from JSTOR." The indictment contains an exciting tale featuring trespassing, MAC address forgery, a Python script or two, and even computers hidden under a cardboard box. El Reg has a decent summary. Demand Progress has released an official response claiming the charges are trumped up nonsense.

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Not Piracy (4, Informative)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36814990)

Perhaps this goes without saying, but the title is misleading. The Grand Jury did not indict Mr. Swartz on any copyright infringement or acts of piracy on the high seas. There are really only four indictments: wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information form a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer.

You can read the whole indictment here: http://ia700504.us.archive.org/29/items/gov.uscourts.mad.137971/gov.uscourts.mad.137971.2.0.pdf [archive.org]

Criminal copyright infringement is not one of the charges.

Re:Not Piracy (2)

gtvr (1702650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36814998)

Also he's apparently not a reddit co-founder.

Re:Not Piracy (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815092)

I think Al Gore founded reddit.

Re:Not Piracy (2, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815160)

I think Al Gore founded reddit.

No, but he did chair the committee that authorized funding for the creation of what became the internet which did ultimately lead to the creation of Reddit, so he must bear some of the blame.

Re:Not Piracy (1, Insightful)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815942)

No, but he did chair the committee that authorized funding for the creation of what became the internet

...and as a result has been universally taunted and mocked by ignorant Republicans, not a one of whom at the time had even the slightest clue what the internet was, let alone what it could potentially become.

Re:Not Piracy (1)

BatGnat (1568391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815206)

He then abandoned it to continue his search for manbearpig....

Re:Not Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815238)

Even he himself claims he is a Reddit founder. The fourth one to come on board in 2005 before Reddit was acquired.

more evidence the CFAA is unconstitutional (2, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815210)

the computer fraud and abuse act is one of the worst laws ever passed in the history of the country.

it is also being used against Bradley Manning and the Wikileaks cambridge people

it was also used against Thomas Drake

they also tried to use it against the Myspace suicide-woman

Re:more evidence the CFAA is unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815262)

Good lord, where exactly is this evidence that it's unconstitutional? The fact that you don't like it isn't exactly a constitutional argument. Also, Thomas Drake was acquitted, and citing someone guilty of treason and a grown woman who convinced a teenage girl to kill herself as your "defense" isn't really as convincing as you seem to think it is.

its vagueness and broadness only proves (4, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815344)

how pointless it is.

its like having a law that says 'its illegal to bad things on a computer'. what the hell does that even mean? its complete bullshit, which is proved by the wide variety of people that have been prosecuted under it.

Drake was not acquitted, he plead guilty to one misdemeanor under the CFAA (instead of 5 felonies under the Espionage Act) - the point of his case is that the CFAA made it criminal to simply take unclassified information and have it in your house. UNCLASSIFIED.

now the CFAA applies to women telling people to commit suicide? AND to a guy who downloads from JSTOR? And to a guy who jailbreaks his playstation? What the fuck kind of a law is that?

Re:its vagueness and broadness only proves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815764)

It's the kind of law that is searching for a purpose.

Re:its vagueness and broadness only proves (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815792)

I don't understand why computer laws are so hard. My computer is my property, as is the data stored on it. Accessing that data without my permission is trespassing. Destroying data is destruction of private property. Running software on it without my permission is conversion. Using my computer to lie to me to get my money is fraud. Threatening to delete my files unless I buy your software is blackmail. Sending threatening messages to me is assault.

Why is this so freaking hard!? We don't need laws specifically for computers or any other piece of technology, what we need is for politicians and justices to understand the fundamental concept that data is property and a computer is the just the physical (and arguably, least important) part of the system.

Re:its vagueness and broadness only proves (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816320)

Data is not owned. Consider an infinitely long random sequence of bits - who owns it?

Re:its vagueness and broadness only proves (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816400)

Then maybe you should have encrypted it and kept it behind a firewall, no?

If I leave my front door wide open, at sidewalk level, leave home, on a busy downtown street, how long will it take before somebody helps themselves to my stuff?

Common sense, protect your shit!

Re:more evidence the CFAA is unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815632)

It's unconstitutionally vague, because courts are completely unsure how to draw the line between which ToS violations are criminal and which are not.

A non-vague possibility would be that all ToS violations are a federal "hacking" crime. For example, evading a Slashdot ban might be a felony. But few courts seem to want to do that. So which ToS are enforceable and which aren't?

Let's say that I'm on a university network without breaking into it (which I am). If I slurp 4 million JSTOR documents, this is clearly a violation of JSTOR's terms of service. But I have not in any meaningful way "hacked into" JSTOR; I accessed it from my university network, which I had legitimate access to. Yet it appears, under the theory advanced here, that I would be guilty of a federal crime, "stealing" 4 million documents from JSTOR, because my access went above the use JSTOR authorized me to make of their service, and therefore constitutes computer trespassing.

Re:more evidence the CFAA is unconstitutional (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815752)

Of course since TOS can be changed often at and time and with little to no notice...

There really aught to be a good set of rules as to what shrink-wrap and click-through documents can get an individual to agree to and what they cannot. A good standardized outline of what is required to give consent online and having greater requirements for items of greater importance.

Re:more evidence the CFAA is unconstitutional (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815718)

worst? Just wait until the Protect IP act, and ACTA, and do I really need to go on?

Re:more evidence the CFAA is unconstitutional (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816168)

Ahem... FISA [wikipedia.org] was not nominated. Considering all of the ex post facto absolution, it should get honorary mention.

The Gramm Leach Bliley Act [wikipedia.org] which gutted the market protections put in place after the last great heist, er...depression, gets my vote as "Worst Ever".

He's a Reddit co-founder. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815008)

Surprised the title or summary didn't mention that.

Re:He's a Reddit co-founder. (2)

gnick (1211984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815112)

He claims to be a Reddit co-founder, but several sources including Reddit strongly dispute that claim.

Re:He's a Reddit co-founder. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815118)

The original Slashdot title had "Reddit co-founder", but it seems to have changed, which is good. Swartz' company was merged with reddit at some point before he was forced to resign, but he's not a reddit co-founder.

Re:He's a Reddit co-founder. (1)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815126)

An update on the article points out that his claim of being a Reddit co-founder is in dispute.

Re:He's a Reddit co-founder. (5, Informative)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815218)

No, he is not.

"Edit: Actually, apparently Alexis had this to say[Gizmodo]:
He is absolutely not a founding member. We acquired his company in December, 6 months after Steve and I launched reddit."

Re:He's a Reddit co-founder. (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815256)

Swartz was fired from Reddit.

Re:He's a Reddit co-founder. (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816334)

Swartz was fired from Reddit.

Well, there's one positive on his resume.

It sounds like he was being an asshole (4, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815010)

The "too many library books" thing is a little disingenuous; I wonder whether JSTOR's servers were capable of keeping up with this kind of assault (assuming the factual description of this event is correct). On the other hand, this looks like government deciding to throw the books at this guy because they don't like his organization, and are using this as a pretext.

Re:It sounds like he was being an asshole (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815050)

I read an article about this earlier which said it crashed JSTOR's servers on at least three occasions.

However, JSTOR didn't wan to press charges yet the feds continued to push it. Academic interests (hilarious considering the reason for JSTOR) be dammed.

Re:It sounds like he was being an asshole (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815458)

I read the indictment, and he appears to have been doing this from an Acer laptop... If one Acer laptop can bring down JSTOR, maybe they should rethink their network architecture...

Re:It sounds like he was being an asshole (2)

etresoft (698962) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815946)

According to the indictment, he didn't manage to overwhelm JSTOR until he hooked up a Mac too.

The next day, October 9, 2010, Swartz used both the “ghost laptop” and the “ghost macbook” to systematically and rapidly access and download an extraordinary volume of articles from JSTOR. The pace was so fast that it brought down some of JSTOR’s computer servers.

Perhaps the Acer didn't have gigabit ethernet like the Mac does. That comes in handy when you break into the wiring closet and connect directly to the switch.

Re:It sounds like he was being an asshole (1)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815098)

I unsubscribed from the Demand Progress mailing list because of their whitewashing of the charges against him.

Re:It sounds like he was being an asshole (1)

gnick (1211984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815138)

Not to mention that many of the things he copied were being made commercially available for sale, not made free as in library.

Re:It sounds like he was being an asshole (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816300)

Commercially available, by a third party. You think most of the books in a library are NOT commercially available?

My point is: this is a straw man argument. Just because something is available commercially does not mean it is unavailable, legally, for free.

being an asshole does not merit 35 years in prison (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815416)

holy christ man, the world has gone fucking insane.

He is being threatened with half his life in prison for violating a fucking EULA.

If this precedent is set, we are all fucked for life. Especially when the next "Conservative" administration comes into office and decides we all need anal probes to save us from gay terrorism.

Re:being an asshole does not merit 35 years in pri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815684)

Decora, stop spamming with all this irrational crap about how horrible the government is for prosecuting a guy who (if the allegations are true, which seems likely given that he was caught red handed) violated the terms of service of an academic journal service (not a EULA) in an attempt to steal the entire archive. This is theft. I don't know what kind of an "activist" he is, maybe he thinks he's trying to reform the economics of academic journals or something (which are a bit screwed up), but systematic theft (and DoS to legitimate users due to the way he operated) is not the way to solve that particular problem.

Also, where are you getting 35 years in prison from? Are you just pulling that out of your butt like everything else you've said so far?

Re:being an asshole does not merit 35 years in pri (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815832)

Theft is removing property of another person from their possession and control. Copying is NEVER theft.

Re:being an asshole does not merit 35 years in pri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816080)

Read your definition again: copying is theft by removing material of another person from their control. If they authorize you to do so, fine, they accept the risks that may result, but if you are not authorized, you are stealing material of which you are not entitled because it is not under the owners control with the owner's blessing.

Re:being an asshole does not merit 35 years in pri (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816338)

By making a copy, you gain control of a copy, not the original. The owner of the original still has full control over his property.

For it to be theft, I would have to delete, destroy or otherwise remove your ability to make use of your copy.

It can be a license violation, infringing a state sanctioned monopoly or possibly even considered trespass, but NEVER theft.

my hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815016)

he is my hero. F R E E Information

Oh, really? (4, Interesting)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815038)

"Aaron Swartz, a 24-year-old researcher in Harvard University's Center for Ethics, broke into a locked computer-wiring closet in an MIT basement and used a switch there to gain unauthorized access the college's network,"

How ethical.

"Members of Demand Progress, a nonprofit political action group Swartz founded, criticized the indictment."

Oh, really? No conflict of interest there.

Re:Oh, really? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815132)

> How ethical.

Well, it is if they were hoarding data that should be public, say. That's dubious in this case, but could be how Aaron saw it at the time In any case, JSTOR explicitly requested that charges not be pressed and the feds are doing so anyway like dicks, likely because in later life Aaron went on to do terribly inconvenient pro-liberty lobbying of the government.

steve jobs got started by selling blueboxes (2, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815190)

JSTOR doesn't want it prosecuted

and neither does anyone with a shred of common sense.

Re:steve jobs got started by selling blueboxes (2)

hyperizer (123449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815380)

JSTOR doesn't want it prosecuted

That's according to Swartz's own Think Progress. JSTOR's statement [jstor.org] is more ambiguous.

Re:steve jobs got started by selling blueboxes (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815656)

Man, that is one evasive-as-hell statement. Time for us academics to put pressure on journal editors who have clout with JSTOR to clarify what their role is.

Re:steve jobs got started by selling blueboxes (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815864)

I like how JSTOR starts by saying that it can't comment on the case, and then it comments on the case.

Re:steve jobs got started by selling blueboxes (3, Interesting)

Hutz (900771) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815384)

Perhaps the SysAdmins at MIT want it prosecuted. Since he kept invading their network.

JSTOR?? (1)

P. Legba (172072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815062)

How many academic articles does one need, anyway?

I mean, I've wanted a way to grab two or three in my lifetime without going through the University, but really? Stealing academic articles?

Fascinating.

Re:JSTOR?? (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815418)

Who is hiding what, one wonders. Big gulp of articles, but what was the motive? What's in there that meant breaking a lot of rules (potentially laws, too)?

Is there something curious in that batch? Has anyone combed the evidence? Is there an FOIA in this? One wonders.

How curious... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815064)

Regardless of whether the tale in the indictment is true or not, it seems a weird way to go about just getting a whole bunch of jstor articles...

The defendant's record suggests a reasonable amount of tech savvy and some geek and activist cred. Combined, perhaps, with a little beer money, that should be enough to secure the cooperation of a few students at a great many of the colleges that have site licenses for jstor journals. Within trivial driving/MBTA distance of MIT alone, there are quite a few to choose from.

It seems like you could get entirely the same results, entirely above board, just by scraping a little more slowly, from slightly more endpoints, which would be easy to secure with the permission of their owners. While MIT is fairly laid back, cloak-and-daggering into their wiring closets risks the wrath of some resident BOFH, and it isn't legal. Mere scraping, on the other hand, is just a ToS violation at worst.

Re:How curious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815142)

My thoughts as well, I routinely get articles from behind paywalls just by messaging friends that have access and getting them to download them for me...

Re:How curious... (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815512)

I routinely get articles from behind paywalls just by messaging friends.

Once you involve friends it's not just cyber terrorism, you are now a cyber terrorist cell

Re:How curious... (1)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815148)

According to one of the articles I'd seen, his status as a Fellow of the Harvard School of Ethics would have allowed him access to JSTOR. If true, one wonders why he went through all the trouble.

Re:How curious... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815224)

If he was crashing servers, his rate-limiting was probably a little on the lax side, which is presumably didn't want directly associated with his account; but that still doesn't explain why he wouldn't just go with the distributed approach, along with a dash of patience.

Re:How curious... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815370)

only thing i can think of is to avoid having this actual name attached to it..

but i do find odd is that it took so long for the sysadmins to stop him.. sorry but hiding it under a cardboard box and coming back and swapping drives.

if it was transferring enough data for the admins to take notice and to "block the ip" they should have recognized it was an internal IP and found it physically.. follow the traffic to the switch and follow the cable..

this isn't that hard to do - hell they had the luxury of knowing information about the rogue device to start with

if he is guilty, what is google and facebook? (3)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815150)

jesus christ, have you ever had your shit auto-filled in by facebook? do you remember authorizing that shit?

this whole thing is an assault on the intelligence of the public. it is absolutely outrageous abuse of power. the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is being rolled up like a stick and used as a battering ram against the First Amendment. this administration is completely out of control.

Re:if he is guilty, what is google and facebook? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815562)

this administration is completely out of control.

Kindly take your racism elsewhere.

Re:if he is guilty, what is google and facebook? (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815774)

Campaign Contributors?

Re:if he is guilty, what is google and facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815816)

Inquiry: how is the First Amendment applicable here?

How is the government preventing Schwarz from peaceable assembling and or discussing current government affairs?
Or, if it is the religious angle, are you saying the government is actively restricting this man's religious rights? If the latter, how?

Re:if he is guilty, what is google and facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815886)

this administration is completely out of control.

Clearly this is directly attributable to the Obama administration! Surely if McCain or Palin were president they'd step in and put an end to this travesty! After all, Republicans have so much support from the students and staff at MIT...

Re:if he is guilty, what is google and facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816368)

Wait, so this is a conspiracy by Facebook?

No, it's actually one by Obama? This is a first amendment issue? Does Obama control Facebook?

Sounds like someone's been skipping their pills. Head back to reddit; they like their zealots frothing at the mouth.

Re:How curious... (3, Insightful)

cancer4xmas (666669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815598)

This isn't the first time Swartz has spidered a site in order to download the content hosted there. In 2009, he went after the PACER system which hosts court records. While those are public documents, they're behind a per-page paywall. His python script was probably reused from before, just s/pacer.gov/jstor.org/g. See: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/10/swartz-fbi/ [wired.com]

When you're the creator of the Open Library project, liberating a few million articles from behind a rather expensive paywall is, at the very least, quite circumstantially indicative of what your intentions might be. While I personally think access to such document repositories for scientific journals is priced way too high, most people can go to public or university libraries to do any research they might want to do. Breaking into a wiring closet, getting MIT's access to JSTOR cut off for days, spoofing your MAC address, getting shut off, spoofing your MAC address again, and still continuing on downloading is not the way to go about trying to affect change the way he wanted to. Smart kid buried under an avalanche of dumb.

A good read (1)

Flector (1702640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815084)

summarized: A fellow at the Harvard Center for Ethics engaged in rampant downloads of JSTOR's (MIT's) document library under false identities and without authorization.

and how is that different from Google Books? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815482)

they had no authorization to engage in massive copyright violation, scanning millions of copyrighted books that they had no right to, specifically violating the exact same laws that drove Kinko's to lose massive amount of university campus business in the 1980s.

and yet.

Google got away with it. Google books is there for all to see. journals, advertisements, the books, the newspapers, the articles, all copyrighted, all obtained by google without permission.

JSTOR did alot of the same stuff. There is no way in hell they owned the copyright to all the stuff they scanned.

They also probably broke some labor laws when they outsourced the whole scanning operation to the Dominican Republic.

this guy is going to get 35 years so that Obama can prove he is 'tough on leakers'? because Eric Holder lost the Thomas Drake case? What the ?@#

Re:and how is that different from Google Books? (1)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815670)

Well, obviously Obama wasn't lying when he stated "Yes, we can"
Yes, we (the government) can (screw you over and over)

Re:and how is that different from Google Books? (1)

Anonymous Crobar (1143477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815834)

they had no authorization to engage in massive copyright violation, scanning millions of copyrighted books that they had no right to, specifically violating the exact same laws that drove Kinko's to lose massive amount of university campus business in the 1980s.

Google's approach did not involve breaking and entering. Google didn't plug in rogue devices on secured networks, engage in spoofing, unauthorized network access, evade physical security (kudos for masking your face with a bike helmet) and voluntarily circumvent security measures designed to protect the network after admins found him. Google DID scan a bunch of books and they subsequently settled with the copyright holders. Google certainly put themselves on the hook for civil penalties and in the process pissed off a bunch of authors, but they didn't do any of the above.

So to answer your question, this is nothing like what Google did.

Re:and how is that different from Google Books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815978)

Wait wait wait wait...

So the original material is under copyright and JSTOR violated that copyright, so the solution is to actively violate MIT's and JSTOR's regulations and computers to copy said copyrighted material for distribution? Doesn't that further violate the original copyright?

In short: two wrongs make a right, you're saying?

Now, perhaps JSTOR should also be charged for having the material in the first place, but how does that nullify Schwarz's breaking-and-entering and violation of existing copyright?

Mirroring is a crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815108)

Mirroring a web site is wire fraud? What?

Obama needs to be impeached (-1, Flamebait)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815114)

Thomas Drake
Stephen Kim
Shamai Leibowitz
Jeffrey Sterling
James Risen
Bradley Manning
Aaron Swartz

When does it fucking end? This is the worst assault on free speech, since the war-time censorship during World War II. This is completely unconscionable and unacceptable. The president has gone absolutely insane and needs to be relieved of his duty.

This is not what I voted for.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815276)

Swartz appears to be an actual criminal

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815356)

Manning is also a criminal. He violated MILITARY law as a member of the military.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815426)

No he doesn't, not at all on the facts as presented by the prosecution. And the parent comment appears to have been made by an insane person. Can't really tag the President for every prosecution made by every prosecutor. They're mostly independent or supervised by local authorities. The President is not at the top of a hierarchy of everything.

That would be true EXCEPT (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815676)

that Obama personally appointed Lanny Breuer, who is in charge of alot of these 'leak' cases.

And as commander of the armed forces, he is directly responsible for the fate of Bradley Manning.

i dont know who is involved in the Swartz case... so maybe i am crazy on that one.

But the argument that the president has nothing to do with federal prosecutions is a bit off the mark. He sets the tone and sets the priorities, he hires people, knowing their records, and he also allows people to stay in their jobs (like William Welch) even after they make a lot of bizarre mistakes.

i thought it was crazy too, until i started reading up on the facts of the cases. Obama is the worst First Amendment president in modern history.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815566)

So are most of the people on wall street, heading up the FED and taking bailout money, but I don't seen any effort to indict those assholes. And they did a lot worse.

He's a criminal in the same sense that I am a criminal because I once drank under the age of 21, or you might be if you never returned a library book. This is minor stuff, and the only reason for all the effort is to silence political speech.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816510)

breaking-and-entering is minor stuff?

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815340)

You sir, are a fucking idiot. Have you ever met Herr Schwartz? Believe me, this could have been predicted. He's always been a loose cannon, and a class A prick. Now, why don't you and your sad little neo-con BFFs go jump in a deep lake.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815390)

Kind of like Michael Kristopeit, then. In that case... yeah, burn him at the stake.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816188)

Have you ever met Herr Schwartz?

Going by OP's numerous and incresingly unhinged posts on the article, I'd say its Swartz's mother. If not that, then someone else who would act in complete defiance of reason and facts.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815374)

When did breaking into a locked equipment cabinet become free speech?
 
What Manning did was also a violation of the law, military law.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816434)

Look, what part of "TEH GUMMURMINT IS EVUL" did you fail to understand? The GP made this assertion* quite clear. Therefore, all aspects of the US government are a part of this investigation. Do you know nothing about tinfoil hat law?

*: Not "point". "Assertion".

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815408)

This is not what I voted for.

If you voted for Obama, then yes it is what you voted for.
Failure to recognize a shyster at the polls is your own shortcoming.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815438)

Doesn't help that he has hardcore-authoritarian Eric Holder as AG. That was one of the first signs that post-election Obama was going to be very different from pre-election Obama.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815800)

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815552)

I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that the President of the United States does not have a hand in every prosecution case. Also what offense can you cite that the President has committed that would warrant impeachment? Calling for impeachment just becaue you don't like who was prosecuted doesn't mean the President committed an impeachable offense.

Re:Obama needs to be impeached (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815760)

You always get burnt like this once with elections. Then you learn you need to check out your candidate's political history.

What bills they've created or co-authored. How they've voted in the past. Where they're getting the bulk of their campaign contributions. etc.

It still burns. You never get over the Candidate standing up there, saying *exactly* how to fix things and make things better. Then doing none of it once they get into office.

Interestingly enough (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815124)

The Demand Progress website says:

JSTOR has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute. Indeed, it's not JSTOR suing but the USA government.

Seems like someone's stepped on the wrong toes... Kind of reminds me of Assange and Strauss-Kahn. Why yes, this tinfoil hat goes with my tinfoil shoes.

MIT already settled; the government is just mad (4, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815170)

MIT doesn't care, but the fact that he's very critical of the government makes him a prime target for shoehorning accusations onto him to shut him and his site up.

Thomas Drake, James Risen (-1, Redundant)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815258)

Thomas Drake
Stephen Kim
Shamai Leibowitz
Jeffrey Sterling
James Risen
Bradley Manning
Trevor Timm
Aaron Swartz

when does it end? Obama's DOJ is clearly off the deep end.

Re:MIT already settled; the government is just mad (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815938)

Yeah, he clearly a victim of a massive conspiracy! A site that I've never heard of that has content indistinguishable from r/politics is suddenly under attack from the DOJ?

You right-wing loons will believe anything that makes Obama look bad.

Re:MIT already settled; the government is just mad (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816134)

He wasn't as well known as he wanted, so the best way to solve that is to do something to get arrested. Really, I don't know who this guy is and I don't care.

And I'm frankly tired of the overblown hysteria about government conspiracies trying to shut up tiny blogs. This has nothing to do with politics: they'll pile on all the charges that they can think of onto anyone they arrest, the shotgun approach is a very common approach. Ie, tack on larger and lesser charges, this way you have a higher chance of a conviction somewhere. This is not a conspiracy this is instead just your average prosecutor aiming to get more promotion points.

Re:MIT already settled; the government is just mad (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816336)

Yeah, he clearly a victim of a massive conspiracy! A site that I've never heard of that has content indistinguishable from r/politics is suddenly under attack from the DOJ?

You right-wing loons will believe anything that makes Obama look bad.

I didn't know being anti-authoritarianism and pro-consumer were right-wing issues.
Apparently you've never read DemandProgress.org or anything I've posted, because you're wrong on both counts.

Re:MIT already settled; the government is just mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816506)

Just to point out, Aaron Swartz (and presumably his supporters) is left wing, not right wing.

read another article (2)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815234)

... and it seems like once you start downloading too much it kicks you off or makes you contact someone.
Seems like he evaded that little scheme and they're charging him with that.
Insane... it'd be like charging someone for disabling pop-ups.

Re:read another article (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815306)

I was under the(apparently mistaken) impression that that ugly little notion had been settled:

Back during that 'myspace suicide case' drama, the prosecution made the argument that, by creating an account under a false name(which the defendant definitely had), she had violated the myspace terms of service(which, she also definitely had); but then went on to claim that accessing a website in a way contrary to the ToS was a violation of the CFAA. Thankfully, that... exceptionally broad... interpretation was shot down.

Whatever he was doing in a locked wiring closet may well have been some sort of trespassing; but ToS violations are a matter between you and the entity(and generally only worth terminating your relationship) not you and the feds.

Re:read another article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815434)

well in an ideal world people would be punished for evading pop-ups as well. Perhaps someday we will live in a society free from infocrime.

You i8sensitIve clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36815594)

waS whatd got me [goat.cx]

I don't get this at all (1)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815674)

I cannot make sense of this.

Allegedly, Swartz broke into a computer closet in order to download documents you can download from a Website, and he downloaded a lot of them. Why would he go to that much trouble?

Supposedly, MIT and JSTOR didn't press want to press charges, but the state of Massachusetts is pressing charges anyway. Why?

Some of the speculation here is that it's because Swartz was threatening to the government. I just read some of his articles; it seemed like good stuff from a moderate left. Left of the Democratic party? Sure, but so are thousands of activists, academics, and journalists. What's extraordinary about Swartz that would call for active persecution?

Re:I don't get this at all (3, Interesting)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815970)

Who cares what MIT or JSTOR thinks. This is criminal matter not a civil one. If they don't want to sue then that is their deal. The govement has a responcibility to its citizens to enforce the laws equally. If I broke into a closet at MIT I would get jail time even if I was just stealing soap.

Re:I don't get this at all (2)

FoolishOwl (1698506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36816204)

No. Police don't arrest someone every time a crime appears to have been committed, nor do prosecutors prosecute every person arrested for a crime. They have discretion, and limited resources, and more apparent crimes than they can afford to investigate or prosecute. If the crime appears to be minor, and the victim doesn't want to press charges, or there's no victim, the police are likely to ignore it. What prosecutors actually prosecute is a policy decision -- which often means, a political decision.

err stupid topic? (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815808)

This is not 'piracy', stupid topic

lol @ MIT (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36815870)

The fact that MIT of all places couldn't figure out which switch an IP address/Mac Address was hitting them from, within their own network, speaks volumes about the quality of the IT staff working there. I can think of dozens of different ways I could have stopped him right off the top of my head, and tracking down the location of the computer would have been even easier unless he had plugged in a wireless bridge or something. EVEN THEN, finding it wouldn't have been that hard.

Slap on the wrist speeding ticket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36816084)

While I am only going off the paraphrased articles mentioned in the story, I still have to think that this is mostly a slap on the wrist offence (but let him suffer in jail for a bit until the court date perhaps).

Basically all he did was spoof mac addresses to get new ip's to continue to get around him, essentially mirroring, the whole site. Sure, it puts extra load on things, and yes he was spoofing something, but lets be honest, he was still probably only using a single IP at once time (which he is allowed, assumedly), and connecting at the full rate that his network, and the destination servers _allowed_.

The servers crashed on 3 occassions? Why? Most likely because of a half assed linux install that ran out of logging space or hit swap or something. Is it your fault if the telco crashes and every phone in your province/state goes offline, because you made a call during some freak chance time of the night while they were running and upgrade or something? No, fix your setup :)

Now, I do think that the act of hiding harddrives, or essentially network attached storage, devices plugged into a switch he probably didn't have permission to do (likely cause of its ability to evade administrative restrictions on connectivity and/or bandwidth, etc), which is why i think a little bit of jail in the clink is justified, if only to scare some sense into him. But I only think the courts should be lenient due to the nature of what he did; ignore speed limits and download something he had access to anyways.

Basically, at worst, this should be considered a speeding ticket, but someone going really really fast :)

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