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Aaron Swartz Prosecution Team Claims Online Harassment

timothy posted 1 year,15 days | from the dogma-meets-karma dept.

Government 429

twoheadedboy writes "Members of the legal team responsible for prosecution of Aaron Swartz have claimed they received threatening letters and emails, and some had their social network accounts hacked, following the suicide of the Internet freedom activist. Following Swartz's death, his family and friends widely lambasted the prosecution team, who were accused of being heavy-handed in their pursuit of the 26-year-old. He was facing trial for alleged copyright infringement, accused of downloading excessive amounts of material from the academic article resource JSTOR. U.S. attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, who headed up the prosecution, and another lead prosecutor, Stephen Heymann, have reportedly become the target of 'harassing and threatening messages,' and their personal information, including home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family members and friends, was posted online. Heymann also received a postcard with a picture of his father's head in a guillotine."

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429 comments

SORT OF LIKE EAT SHIT AND DIE ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356711)

Or more like, don't do it again or else ??

WOW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356847)

Or else we're gonna hunt you down in WOW and Second Life and take all your armor...or shards, or magic, or what the fuck ever these low life, mouth breathing, mother's basement dwelling losers use in their substitution for reality games.

But then again Adam Lanza did pretty good at fulfilling his ultimate, retarded loser destiny.

maybe a system this corrupt deserves to die (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356953)

online harassment?
ONLINE harassment?!

You scum-sucking douches hectored someone into killing themselves with hyperinflated charges intended to "send a message" to score political points. MESSAGE RECEIVED . You should never work in law or government again. You probably should be in jail for abuse of power.

I would have no problem if someone PHYSICALLY broke each and every one of your collective kneecaps.

Payback is a bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356717)

Get used to it.

Re:Payback is a bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356803)

The result, of course, is that they now believe that they are entirely justified.

They may have been wavering after Swartz's suicide, but they now have all their worst suspicions confirmed; there really is a conspiracy of evil hackers out there that have nothing but contempt for the law and for society.

Good work, everybody. Way to play into their hands.

Re:Payback is a bitch (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356867)

The result, of course, is that they now believe that they are entirely justified.

Bullshit, they always did believe they were justifid. Furthermore, these people have no morals -- look up "innocence project" to see how many men prosecutors knew were innocent but still prosecuted and executed.

Re:Payback is a bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357143)

Bullshit, they always did believe they were justifid. Furthermore, these people have no morals -- look up "innocence project" to see how many men prosecutors knew were innocent but still prosecuted and executed.

As opposed to Aaron Swartz, who was guilty as hell and everyone knows it.

Re:Payback is a bitch (3, Insightful)

SteveDorries (1313401) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357245)

Guilty of what though? Did his actions warrant the type of heavy handed tactics that the federal prosecutors used? Should there have been a prosecution at all, much less an arrest made?

Re:Payback is a bitch (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357001)

Even if it plays into their mythology, it does change the equation somewhat. Even when power is criminal or juvenile, it is still a consequence people with political ambition will increasingly have to factor in when they take various moves. In a way, no response would have been worse since that sends the message that there are no negative consequences or risks involved in such overreach, only gains. Even if it is just a minor effect, the story will stick around and will be remembered when prosectors are pondering how they want to handle such cases in the future and if the political payoff is enough to offset the impact on their life.

Re:Payback is a bitch (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357283)

Even if it is just a minor effect, the story will stick around and will be remembered when prosectors are pondering how they want to handle such cases in the future and if the political payoff is enough to offset the impact on their life.

I don't think that's entirely correct I'm afraid. It's been my experience with "Type A" personalities that strong responses from the unwashed masses are not comprehended as consequences. Sure, they understand some of the motivations of the political adversaries, and they can even understand the reactions of the fans of their political adversaries, but when it comes to the mainstream middle, they don't really know how predict what will happen.

Certainly these people recognize in hindsight when they've made a decision with terrible consequences on them personally, but they have a much harder time predicting in advance. Look at the George Allen Macaca Controversy [wikipedia.org] as an example.

So sad (5, Funny)

T.E.D. (34228) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356719)

Being constantly harrassed like that must be hell. I'm sure Aaron Swart's family and friends have nothing but sympathy for those poor harried prosecutors.

Re:So sad (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357293)

I'm guessing that they are not addressing their complaints to Aaron Swartz's family.

Point being, you don't end harassment with harassment. An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind, and all that.

Fight these guys up front and in their face if you actually want to change something and not just have an excuse to act like a child and pretend it is "activism".
 

Good (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356725)

They deserve to rot away in prison for a few decades. They should be happy that harassment is all they get.

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

zwei2stein (782480) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356801)

Guess what?

Reading article helps:

"prosecution recommended a six-month sentence in a minimal security prison, instead of 35 years suggested by the US law, and the judge could have reduced this term even further."

If Swartz suicided because of six months in jail, he gets no sympathy however prosecutors definitelly get mine for being basically victims of his worthless and pointless "martyrdom".

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356845)

"prosecution recommended a six-month sentence in a minimal security prison, instead of 35 years ....if he pled guilty to a bunch of bullshit charges (wire fraud? seriously?).

If you think it's OK to get 6 months when pleading guilty to bullshit charges on the threat of 35 years for even more trumped up charges then something is very very wrong with you.

The 35 year thing is part of the appauling farce known as plea bargaining. You should read up on it.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357145)

And, of course, I'm told that having a felony on your record has no effect at all on your future prospects... Definitely not the sort of thing that might seriously impair somebody who might want to be able to touch a computer(that isn't a McDonalds POS terminal) in an occupational context ever again.

"Felon" isn't quite the same level of permaban as "Sex Offender"; but the fun doesn't stop when your sentence is up.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357219)

Perhaps he should have thought about that before committing the crime. Yeah, I know... he agrees with your political philosophy, so he is above the law...

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356863)

Prosecutors recommended a six-month sentence in a minimum security prison...if Swartz gave up his right to a trial. These are scumbags that deprive people of their constitutional rights on a regular basis. They would deserve to rot in prison even if Swartz hadn't committed sucicide.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357253)

if Swartz gave up his right to a trial.

And he could have taken it to trial and:
1) Perhaps won the case, and spent zero time in jail;
2) Perhaps lost, and gotten the 6-month sentence recommended by prosecutors;
3) Perhaps lost, and gotten MORE than that time, up to and including 35 years;

If you know you're breaking the law, you cannot NOT know there are consequences for doing so if you're caught. They call it a plea BARGAIN for a reason - you give up something you value in return for getting something you value. He is not being "deprived" of his constitutional rights if *he* willingly waives his right to a trial. That is a voluntary action on his part, not some external actor forcing him to do something against his will. Let me guess, you think you're being "deprived" of your constitutional rights by Honda if you choose to buy an Accord, instead of a Tesla, after concluding that the Accord is the better deal for you?

He was offered a choice, and one of those choices was "take this case to trial." He wasn't "deprived of" shit, until he "deprived himself of" living.

You pays your money and you takes your chances, basically - and Swartz ante'd up for a game he realized halfway through he didn't have the stomach for. I'm sorry he killed himself, and I'm sure he was a great guy - but perhaps he should have considered his history of mental health before he decided to become a "civil right hacktivist crusader online good guy greg." Haven't seen Julian Assange commit suicide yet, and I'm pretty sure he's been the target of a much more concerted & focused harrassment effort than Mr. Swartz ever was.

tl;dr: If your mental health is fragile, perhaps civil disobedience is not the best calling for you.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

RicoX9 (558353) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356871)

They still pursued someone for a victimless non-crime. There are far more worthy targets at the banks and Wall Street. I, for one, don't like my tax dollars being wasted in the meaningless pursuit of conviction rates.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356885)

they recommended this if he accepted a plea bargain declaring himself gulty of several felonies.

Afterwards he would be a convicted felon with limited rights.

And the judge would not be bound by the six month recommendation

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

humphrm (18130) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356905)

Reading the article helps. He was arrested for "downloading excessive material". In other words, he had a legal JSTOR account, he wasn't accessing it illegally, he just downloaded more material than they wanted him to. Really? That's a crime now? Even the civil matter was settled with JSTOR, but prosecutors went ahead and harassed him anyway.

One day in prison means the likely end of a promising technology career, and is one day too much for someone accused of "downloading excessive material".

Just hope that one day you don't get sent to prison for going over your mobile data usage.

Just woke up today, Rip Van Winkle? (4, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357025)

Reading the article helps. He was arrested for "downloading excessive material". In other words, he had a legal JSTOR account, he wasn't accessing it illegally, he just downloaded more material than they wanted him to. Really? That's a crime now?

Where were you when we went over this in all its gory detail? Yes, this is Slashdot and everything The Man does is evil, so I get the whole simplification thing. But the real situation was actually a bit complicated. He basically tried to download every article they had, which went beyond the terms of use of the service. His downloads impacted other users of the service at the time by slowing them down because - wait for it - he was trying to download everything and chewing up resources to do it. His plan was to make all these articles available for free when access to them required a paid service. He also hid the computer doing the work in a closet and took actions to hide his face from security cameras when going to the closet to check on his equipment. From a legal standpoint, this can be interpreted to mean he knew his actions were wrong. There's a lot wrong with how the prosecutors handled this, but he was hardly some innocent school boy who got bullied for no reason.

Re:Just woke up today, Rip Van Winkle? (5, Funny)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357123)

Reading the article helps. He was arrested for "downloading excessive material". In other words, he had a legal JSTOR account, he wasn't accessing it illegally, he just downloaded more material than they wanted him to. Really? That's a crime now?

Where were you when we went over this in all its gory detail? Yes, this is Slashdot and everything The Man does is evil, so I get the whole simplification thing. But the real situation was actually a bit complicated. He basically tried to download every article they had, which went beyond the terms of use of the service. His downloads impacted other users of the service at the time by slowing them down because - wait for it - he was trying to download everything and chewing up resources to do it. His plan was to make all these articles available for free when access to them required a paid service. He also hid the computer doing the work in a closet and took actions to hide his face from security cameras when going to the closet to check on his equipment. From a legal standpoint, this can be interpreted to mean he knew his actions were wrong. There's a lot wrong with how the prosecutors handled this, but he was hardly some innocent school boy who got bullied for no reason.

I never knew.

He broke an EULA? WHERE'S MAH PITCHFORK?

Re:Just woke up today, Rip Van Winkle? (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357233)

From a legal standpoint, maybe. But we all know that the law has nothing to do with right or wrong. Hiding your actions doesn't show that you thought you were doing wrong - just that you thought others might object. Often, doing the right thing involves going against other's objections.
And even though there can be discussion about whether he did or didn't try to do the right thing, it is a fact that the punishment was excessive and that the case is an object lesson in the evils of plea bargaining. That should be outlawed and that should be the biggest takeaway from this story.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357255)

That isn't as far as way as you may think. The DOJ has been pushing to make violating a company's TOS a crime, not just a civil matter. That was the basis of the article that came out the other day where teenagers could potentially be locked up for reading websites where the TOS states you must be 18 or older.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356967)

A) Have you ever heard of the word "lie"? The prosecution trumped 13 bizarre felony charges that would send him to prison for 35 years if he actually tried to have his right to a fair trial and defend himself. She may have offered him a deal but only if he admitted guilt to these felonies that he did not commit. There was absolutely no need for this, apart from the ego stroking that the prosecutor herself was looking for.

B) Don't you think any prison sentence is going to ruin your life? Especially if you haven't done anything wrong? At least, the party that he was supposed to have hacked, JSTOR, did not want any prosecution. And the law the he supposedly violated was a law that turned violating a civil agreement into a crime. An agreement that was between the university and JSTOR and that Schwartz was not a party to.

Plus, over her career, this prosecutor has had a history of prosecutorial overreach and intimidation. She deserves no sympathy at all - she represents everything that is currently wrong with the justice system.

Re:Good (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357101)

That six months was only if he pleaded guilty. If he had pleaded innocent and taken it to trial, they were prepared to throw the book at him.

The real reason for their claims (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356727)

The prosecution still has the files for the prosecution under a gag order. They are asking to extend this gag order and are using the excuse that their safety could be harmed if a judge lifted it. In reality, all they are trying to do is cover up their misconduct.

Maybe they should have signed this petition instea (3, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356729)

Activism is useless when it is aimed at unproductive channels. Instead, they should have signed the petition to remove the DA in question. Or written a letter to the state.
Petition to remove DA Carmen Ortiz [whitehouse.gov]

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356829)

Instead, they should have signed the petition to remove the DA in question.

Yeah, that's gonna work...

Maybe instead, we should vote out the republicans and democrats, but I suppose that's too much to ask. Besides, we would probably just end up with the tea party loons, or worse. I think majority rule has run its course. All the ignorance is becoming such a burden.

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (2)

Elbereth (58257) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356955)

Signing Internet petitions is only marginally less useless and pointless than harassing government employees. In fact, if I made a list of the most pointless activism on Internet, they would be:

1. Printing form letters and mailing them to Congresspeople
2. Writing e-mails to Congresspeople
3. Signing Internet petitions
4. Complaining loudly on Internet forums
5. Hacking and vandalism
6. Publishing a batshit crazy manifesto
7. DDOSing the government
8. Sending death threats via e-mail

That's in vague order of (comparatively) least pointless to most pointless.

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (1)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357059)

I would actually put it at significantly more useless. Internet petitions do nothing, they have no impact, they will not represent a negative consequence for the party they are aimed at hurting. Harassment, while not a very good tool, and a tool with its own problems, at least has a personal impact on the person being targeted, one that both they and others in similar roles can see and factor in to future decision making.

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (1)

lcam (848192) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357185)

to include in your list:

3.1 Public Protests

Those things are an equivalent to funeral ceremonies in that it's an occasion to reflect and move on, not to cause any change.

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (1)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357083)

Activism is useless when it is aimed at unproductive channels. Instead, they should have signed the petition

Lolwut?

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357131)

This isn't activism at all, it's a bunch of pissed off people lashing out at what makes them angry. It's like the mob of angry people you might get on your ass if you cause someone to commit suicide by harassing them ceaselessly and then people find out who you are. Just online. Of course, that shouldn't be how things are done in a civilized society. That goes for the treatment of these people and also for the treatment they gave Swartz.

Re:Maybe they should have signed this petition ins (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357243)

Activism is useless when it is aimed at unproductive channels. Instead, they should have signed the petition to remove the DA in question. Or written a letter to the state.

Thanks for the laugh. I needed that right now.

I've got the world's smallest violin (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356739)

And I'm using it to write a song called "Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann can fuck themselves like the useless cunts they are."

They were just doing their jobs.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356741)

They were just doing their jobs....

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (5, Insightful)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356789)

I think we all know "someone paid me money to do it so it's not my fault" doesn't actually fly. As individuals we have free will and the responsibility to behave ethically. To unquestioningly execute commands is to give up our humanity.

Throughout history we have frequently rejected "I was following orders" and "I was just doing my job". These mantras do not provide absolution.

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (3, Insightful)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357151)

I think we all know "someone paid me money to do it so it's not my fault" doesn't actually fly. As individuals we have free will and the responsibility to behave ethically. To unquestioningly execute commands is to give up our humanity.

Throughout history we have frequently rejected "I was following orders" and "I was just doing my job". These mantras do not provide absolution.

Nope. In the US that doesn't fly. You'll go to jail, and the ones who gave the orders will put you there. (See Abu Ghraib)

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (4, Insightful)

SirGeek (120712) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356795)

That didn't fly for people working in the concentration camps, it doesn't fly here.

If something doesn't pass even the basic sniff test, then you need to say NO.

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357067)

Actually it did fly for people working in the concentration camps.
All of germany was not considered war criminals, actually only a very very few people where. And only very very few people in the entire country offered any resistance at all to the genocide.

That is why we conducted studies like the Milgram experiment, that clearly show that the average person will torture someone to death or commit mass genocide if simply asked to by someone with the appearance of authority.

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (1)

LeDopore (898286) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357097)

Let me play devil's advocate.

Ideally, the legal system works best if you have optimal lawyers on both sides. The difference between the legal arguing and reasoning ability of a superstar lawyer and a merely competent lawyer is probably less than the difference between the legal abilities of randomly-selected folks, so the system in practice isn't grievously broken.

  The weird part is that for the system to work, a lawyer has to contractually agree to represent a client's interest as well as possible before knowing all the facts from both sides of the case. The practical consequence of this is that lawyers end up having a duty to promote the interests of even rotten and nasty clients to the best of their ability. For all the lawyer knows, the other side's client may be secretly even worse. Lawyers are able to sleep well at night knowing that they are not in the business of deciding what's right for themselves, and so long as they obey the law and do everything legally possible to promote their client's interests, overall the system will work out better than if people had to advocate for themselves.

Comparing a lawyer to a concentration camp guard is merely inflammatory. A better analogy might be comparing a lawyer with a soldier conducting symmetric warfare, since ideally both sides are roughly equally-equipped, but still the lawyers use words and not guns, which in my view puts them ahead.

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356827)

No they weren't, they were applying pressure to force a plea bargin rather than, you know, actually do their jobs, and take him to court for a fair trial.

Is it their fault this seems to be a huge flaw in the way Americans approach justice?

No.

Are they still cunts for waiving around excesssive charges to subjugate their quarry?

Yes.

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (1)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357073)

No, they were abusing their positions to further political aspirations. A big part of the problem is they were not doing their jobs....

Re:They were just doing their jobs.... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357203)

They were just doing their jobs....

There's this little thing called "Prosecutorial discretion". You may not have heard of it. As it turns out, at least in the US, the prosecutor has fairly broad latitude, within the scope of 'doing their job' to push or not push specific cases. This is arguably a bad thing from a 'rule of laws not of men' perspective; but thems the rules as they stand. In this case, the 'victim' wasn't even asking for prosecution, so their hands' weren't being forced even by 'stakeholder' request or public opinion.

And yet.. (5, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356743)

For some reason, I just can't seem to feel bad for these assholes.

Re:And yet.. (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356783)

I can. Not for the harassment, or the "hacking" of their social network pages. That's an almost inevitable consequence. I feel bad for them because they were doing their job of prosecuting a law that shouldn't exist. Nothing says prosecutors have to agree with the law.

Re:And yet.. (5, Insightful)

Xeth (614132) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356813)

Prosecutors have discretion. They are not required to prioritize every case and put forward the largest number of possible charges.

Re:And yet.. (4, Informative)

SirGeek (120712) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356821)

True (to some extent), but they could have just said "Plead Guilty to this misdemeanor and pay 1,000 in fines."

Instead they chose to prosecute him for EVERYTHING they could (with potentially 30+ years in prison). That, they didn't have to do.

They wanted to make an example of him. PERIOD.

Re:And yet.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356963)

They did not "chose to prosecute him for EVERYTHING they could"

They asked for 6 months for him.

Re:And yet.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357163)

I may not be correct here, but isn't that (kind of) like a school bully shoving you into a locker and asking you "I want lunch money, fucker" and then when he has to explain he says "I just asked him for some lunch money"? If they wanted 6 months, that's all they should have asked for. And that's overkill for whatever he did. End of fucking story.

Re:And yet.. (5, Informative)

jythie (914043) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357091)

Going even further, they had the discretion to say 'effected parties do not with to prosecute, the case will be dropped'. They were not under a legal obligation to continue prosecution in the first place.

Re:And yet.. (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356857)

It's called prosecutorial discretion. Nothing requires you to enforce a law. Just the other day the supreme court ripped on Obama for just this issue regarding DOMA:

If he has made a determination that executing the law by enforcing the terms is unconstitutional, I don’t see why he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions and execute not only the statute, but do it consistent with his view of the Constitution, rather than saying, oh, we’ll wait till the Supreme Court tells us we have no choice.

prosecutorial discretion (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357021)

I can. Not for the harassment, or the "hacking" of their social network pages. That's an almost inevitable consequence. I feel bad for them because they were doing their job of prosecuting a law that shouldn't exist. Nothing says prosecutors have to agree with the law.

Ever heard of prosecutorial/judicial discretion? It is part of our legal institutions, and it is what differentiate good prosecutors from Javert-wannabes trying to make their mark.

So? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356745)

I don't see a problem with it at all.

You reap what you sow.

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356753)

Maybe they and other prosecutors will think twice before trying to ruin people's lives. They wanted to make an example of Aaron Swartz, so as to deter others from following in his footsteps. Now they're being made an example of, so as to deter others from following in their footsteps. Turnabout is fair play.

so? (3, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356765)

Eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth. It could be much worse, you politically driven RIAA/MPAA hatchetmen, aka Federal Prosecutors.

Re:so? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356975)

It could be much worse, you politically driven RIAA/MPAA hatchetmen, aka Federal Prosecutors.

The funny thing with this statement is that this case had nothing to do with the RIAA or MPAA.

When you kill someone, expect consequences... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356771)

Stupid fucks, of course people are upset. You murdered an innocent, you deserve anything you get, up to and including the death sentence.

What a bunch of fucking morons, you intimidated, bullied, harassed a young man to death, of course everyone that's heard about it hates every single one of you murdering bastards with every fiber of their being.

We will only be satisfied when you are all receiving your lethal injections - I for one do not wish to pay to keep any of you alive.

Their name and address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356779)

Where is their name and address? I want to vent my anger on them as well!

Yeah Well... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356793)

When a bunch of people think you killed a dude, you're going to get harassed. Look at OJ. Those guys are just like OJ. All "looking for the real killers" out on the golf course. The difference? One is a petty thug, while the other used to play football. :-P

Do they not see the hypocricy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356831)

What are they going to do? Kill themselves?

Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356835)

It's more likely they sent themselves these badly Photoshopped guillotine pictures to create sympathy for themselves. Lawyers, always trying to out maneuver everyone with lies and deceit.

Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356843)

Stephen Heymann, have reportedly become the target of 'harassing and threatening messages,' and their personal information, including home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family members and friends, was posted online. Heymann also received a postcard with a picture of his father's head in a guillotine."

A single tear is rolling down my cheek while this nano scale violin plays really sad music..

Karma's a bitch, isn't it?

Trying not to say... (4, Interesting)

scotts13 (1371443) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356861)

"Sucks to be you"... Aw, shoot, I already did.

Seriously, though, threats are not the way to accomplish anything here. Rather than online vigilantism, people who have strong feelings about this should be talking to newspapers, senators, congressmen, etc. That way they might actually get something changed, and incidentally make these peoples lives difficult as a happy bonus. Remember, these are the people who (for this purpose) define right and wrong. If you want to go after them, short of full revolution, you have to play by their rules. Otherwise you're just another criminal they can use to justify their tactics.

Re:Trying not to say... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356985)

You must be old because ghat is something people would say before the Internet existed, laws about the Internet have just barely started to be made and the people are not on the winning side

Oh noes! Not his telephone number! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356879)

"...and their personal information, including home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family members and friends, was posted online. "

Harassment is not cool and should investigated, but privacy is dead, even for federal prosecutors. Stop acting like publishing ordinary information that's available in countless databases in the private and governmental sectors which can be seen by any number of people is tantamount to releasing classified secrets.

BAAAAAAAAAAWWWWW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356893)

> received threatening letters and emails
So do child molestors. what are your point? people hate bullying thuggish federal prosecutors who abuse their office and the law to drive good people to death. a hundred of those asshole prosecutors aren't worth one Aaron Swartz. at least if they killed themselves they would be off the public payroll. So kill yourself Heymann. do it. do it.

> Heymann also received a postcard with a picture of his father's head in a guillotine
If it didn't drive Heymann to death like he drove Swartz to death then what is he complaining about? besides Heymman's father is another prosecutor cunt. who knows how many lives he destroyed so he could put his shit of a son through sleazy lawyer school?

> personal telephone number, and the names of family members and friends
My heart bleeds go fuck yourself Heymann with a retractable baton.

we do not give a shit.

Overaggresive US Attorneys... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43356901)

As a former DOJ employee involved mainly with the BOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons), I witnessed a long history of overaggressiveness on the part of US Attorneys (mainly, the AUSA's- the Assitants)... my experience with the court people was often that the AUSA's were trying to make names for themselves and build up their resumes, in hopes of: 1) becoming full US Attorneys, 2) seeking phat money employment in the private sector, or 3) eventually running for some political office.

The females I interacted with were often the most aggressive and over the top- often utilizing severe bias based on their personal lives to make decisions affecting cases... female USA's with histories of being abused by men often saw no possibility of innocence in ANY male defendant, regardless of any facts. In several instances I witnessed state prosecutors refuse to indict based on lack of evidence and/or the specifics of the defendant (i.e. no criminal history, relatively minor charge at state level), only to have a federal prosecutor (an AUSA) throw federal charges at the defendant based on something loose like "the crime involved phones (i.e. modem)", so therefore it could be considered interstate blah blah and allow federal jurisdiction. The startling statistics I discovered were the following:

over 90% of individuals indicted at the federal level are convicted without trial (i.e. plead guilty)
of the remaining approx. 10% who go to trial, 90% LOSE, and are convicted

Do we really believe the federal investigators are so good they really only catch that amount of "bad guys"?

The prosecutors often have NO CLUE whatsoever of technical details of complex issues (i.e. computer related incidents, copyright/piracy, etc). They further confuse things by often presenting information that is outright wrong or confusing to judges or others involved in the process, and often play on the fact the defendants often have no clue of the true law and their rights. At the federal level at least IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS INDEED A VALID DEFENSE. Several federal laws have been changed over the years to add the specific wording "whoever knowingly", because in some cases obscure laws were being abused to prosecute people who had no valid way of knowing that what they did was illegal (i.e. the law was not some "common sense" thing... like a law saying it is illegal to sow grass seed on Tuesday).

I have no comment on the Aaron Swartz case as I don't know all the facts and it is always a damn shame when someone chooses to resort to suicide, but based on my personal experience with "the system" from the inside, I can say that there is no doubt the prosecutor and others on "that side" did indeed play a major role in pushing this troubled young man towards a terrible fate-- and no matter what they say to the contrary, their overaggressiveness in a case involving copyrights for God's sake was truly uncalled for and ultimately serves no proper purpose for the sake of society.

Anger (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356907)

I am afraid this sort of vigilante action is never actually productive. Already the targets are using this to justify keeping details on this case from public view.

What should be going on is pressuring public officials and the press to demand a review of the actions that led to this tragedy, and changes to laws to prevent this from happening again. Instead these attacks are only likely to be used to institute more draconian laws.

Sounds Fair To Me! (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356917)

In a certain sort of twisted way this seems appropriate. I mean that there is no accountability for their actions in the harassment of Aaron Swartz. If these prosecutors went well above and beyond the normal course of action to give this guy a hard time they should have some accountability for their actions. If the legal system / government isn't going to hold their own representatives accountable for their actions then maybe it needs to come down to the people holding them accountable directly. Sort of like the old time lynch mobs that form up and grab up the criminals and take care of things. People stop respecting the law when it seems undeserving of respect. When it is used arbitrarily and over-handedly to bludgeon people they don't like for personal reasons or makes everyday actions a crime it becomes hard to find a reason to respect the law anymore. I have lost so much respect for the criminal organization known as the police force that I give a little cheer for the news stories about one of them being gunned down. I root for the cop-killer as I find they are doing me good. How crazy is that!

Pot calls kettle black? (1)

mauriceh (3721) | 1 year,15 days | (#43356939)

In their minds, they were just "doing their jobs"
They are clearly unrepentant.
Does that justify taking this any further?
Of course not.

Vigilante expressions like this never promote good results.

Re:Pot calls kettle black? (3, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357211)

In their minds, they were just "doing their jobs" They are clearly unrepentant. Does that justify taking this any further? Of course not.

Vigilante expressions like this never promote good results.

As I recall, showing remorse can get you a lighter punishment. Maybe they should do that. Or they could agree to quit their jobs in exchange for less harassment, kind of a bargain, if you will.

So vigilante actions might not work. Writing your elected officials doesn't either unless you can afford to include a big campaign contribution. So if both approaches don't improve the situation, why not go with the one that's more gratifying?

Maybe it will result in even harsher laws. The worse, the better, in terms of getting the general public to finally be fed up.

Oh, who am I kidding? I just enjoy seeing them suffer. There. I said it.

Re:Pot calls kettle black? (1)

mauriceh (3721) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357281)

At least you are honest!

Seriously though, the right channel is through ones elected officials.

IF that consistently fails to be successful, then you may conclude that democracy is occurring.
Or perhaps one is simply in a radicalized minority.

It may be hard to tell..

Re:Pot calls kettle black? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357275)

> Vigilante expressions like this never promote good results.

Too true.

In some way one can view what as going on as pure selfishness. The vigilante actions are not going to improve the situation; in fact they may make it worse because they engender sympathy for those being attacked. All in exchange for a brief moment of self satisfaction on the part of the attacker.

Outrage in this case needs to be channeled into efforts to change the conditions that led to this tragedy. Not to some ephemeral moment of revenge that only makes the situation worse in the long run.

Galatians 6:7 for Monsieur Javert (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357005)

Aaron Swartz Prosecution Team Claims Online Harassment

As you sow, so shall you reap Monsieur Javert.

This particular phrase and verse is most fitting to describe whatever they are going through (that which will forever pale in comparison to what Swartz when through.)

What comes around goes around and shit like that, and you reap what you sow. C'est la fucking vie.

So when government does it, it's okay? (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357017)

Government, specifically law enforcement, tend to threaten people with all sorts of scary crap in order to get people to do things they don't want to do. In Swartz's case, he wasn't doing anything strictly illegal but they wanted to believe he did so badly and the JSTOR people want to believe he did so badly that they were willing to harrass and frighten this guy to the point of suicide. After all, they were threatening his life in the sense that he would no longer have a good one.

So now, there is turn-about and they cry foul.

Why is it acceptable for law enforcement to use threats and fear as a means of getting their jobs done. Isn't it they that went too far? Shouldn't it be "okay, we have evidence of X, let's charge him with X" and be done with it? Why is it "we think he has done Y, but we only have evidence of X which is not specifically illegal. So let's threaten him with Z until he pleas to Y."

Harrassment and intimidation by government should not be allowed. Just do straight business.

Re:So when government does it, it's okay? (5, Interesting)

pdabbadabba (720526) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357105)

In Swartz's case, he wasn't doing anything strictly illegal

No, he was. As has been quite widely discussed here and elsewhere he was accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and, from what I've read, he probably was actually "guilty". And, yes, 35 years is the actual punishment. Sure, the prosecutors have discretion in prosecuting crimes, but I continue to be amazed that all of our abuse is heaped upon the prosecutors for trying to enforce a law THAT CONGRESS ACTUALLY PASSED. Don't get me wrong, I think that 35 years (or, really, any punishment at all) for what Swartz did is nuts.And I think that there is an under-appreciated moral dimension to the prosecution decisions that US attorneys make. But then again, do we really want a system where the prosecutors feel free to enforce a law or not based on their own preferences? Isn't this what a legislature is for? Why are we focusing on the prosecutors who tried to enforce it instead of the actual people who passed and have the power to fix the law?

Couple of things (2)

mikein08 (1722754) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357033)

As we know, there is no privacy anymore. Hence, prosecutors are going to be facing more and more of this sort of thing. You cannot hide. Ask that DA in Texas. Once prosecutors become aware of this, they might become smart enough to NOT mount silly prosecutions like this - but I doubt it. If you as a prosecutor think your own bureaucracy can protect you, think again. I'm predicting an increase in violence against prosecutors and law enforcement in general.

There is a way they could escape the harassment. (5, Informative)

hawks5999 (588198) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357047)

It involves a noose.

Re:There is a way they could escape the harassment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357291)

Why? So they could be losers like Aaron?

A sad justice system failure (2)

ebiederm (614622) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357181)

A functional justice system keeps us from descending to the level of personal vengeance and feuding.

It is very sad to see the Justice system failing here.

No one has officially called these prosecutors out on their failings in any other way so we get this. I don't think harassment of these prosecutors and MIT and JSTOR is the appropriate reaction. Nor do I think it is the appropriate reaction that the prosecutors have not been reprimanded and appropriate taken to keep non-sense like this from happening.

How high does this failure in the Justice system go?

cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357241)

the very, very tiny violins...

Addresses plz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357247)

Can anyone send the forementioned addresses and mails etc.?

For non-nefarious purposes, of course.

nice. (2)

dj.dave214 (2888261) | 1 year,15 days | (#43357257)

Having been the defendant in a situation like adam was in, and having seen the options laid out in front of me by the prosecutor (Pay 25,000$ now and avoid the case all together, or chance spending time in prison and pay $25,000 later) I can say that maybe if these prosecutors didn't believe in what they were doing with the conviction that they exhibit when they're flat out telling you to cough up some cash or you're going to prison, If they did, then maybe, just maybe they wouldn't be waffling about their decision now.
(I realize thats a bit of a rant but I just woke up and am constantly appalled, albeit not surprised, by the prosecution of this case not fully standing by what they did).
If you can't stand by your decision in the face of adversity, then what good is it?

Funny or Sad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43357267)

Read the comments on this article. Supposedly intelligent people acting like 14 year olds. The fact of the matter is Aaron isn't an innocent person, and no one forced him to commit suicide. He made a series of choices and had to face the consequences for those actions.

Now a bunch of socially maladjusted individuals are doing what they accuse others of doing... harassment and threats. In the case of the prosecutors, they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. In the case of the unwashed "cyber activists", they are just being infantile.

We have a lot of problems with our legal system. Aaron's case wasn't among them.

Now for the 4chan wannabe crowd... grow up.

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