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MIT Attempts To Block Release of Documents In Aaron Swartz Case

Soulskill posted 1 year,6 days | from the actions-speak-louder-than-words dept.

Government 159

Dputiger writes "In the wake of activist Aaron Swartz's suicide, MIT launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to his initial arrest and felony charges. It's now clear that the move was nothing but a face-saving gesture. Moments before the court-ordered release of Swartz's Secret Service file under the Freedom of Information Act, MIT intervened, asking the judge to block the release. Supposedly this is to protect the identities of MIT staff who might be harassed — but government policy is to redact such information already."

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159 comments

Sorry internet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326437)

You don't get a license to drive people of an organization into suicide because some people in the same organization possibly drove someone into suicide. The world does not become a better place by free-roaming vigilantes, but by demanding accountability and transparency.

Re: Sorry internet (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326487)

This has nothing to do with driving anyone from any org to suicide (that is not dead yet) It does have to do with transparency and accountability though.

And with a sudden diminisging of MIT's cred with many tech people, sadly. Oh well, there are always others ready to pick any people (students or professors) that won't be heading to MIT as a reaction to this.

Re: Sorry internet (3, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326509)

And with a sudden diminisging of MIT's cred with many tech people, sadly. Oh well, there are always others ready to pick any people (students or professors) that won't be heading to MIT as a reaction to this.

MIT's cred with tech people is and has always been about the competence of their educators, the capabilities of their labs and the fact that a degree from MIT is taken at face value to imply a top-notch technical education. That has not changed. Students and professors don't go there for transparency.

Re: Sorry internet (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | 1 year,5 days | (#44326987)

MIT's cred with tech people is and has always been about the competence of their educators...That has not changed.

Hasn't it?

Re: Sorry internet (4, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327393)

It has changed now that they have shown themselves to be as corrupt and self serving as every other education institution.

Re:Sorry internet (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326529)

And so where exactly is the "transparency"?

The kid killed himself because he downloaded information that *should* be freely accessible in a "transparent" world. Instead, it's a crime to do what he did, and he was threatened with excessive penalties, because "downloading" is apparently a WORSE crime than murder or rape.

Where is the "accountability" here, where the punishment should fit the crime? How has this country become so upside-down?

I agree that the world would not be a better place with vigilante justice, but it needs to be said that, for most people in the US, there really isn't any other kind of justice at all.

He broke into a server room to download it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326583)

Would it be okay if you made something freely accessible from your home PC on the internet, but I broke into your house to download it? Repeatedly?

The punishment didn't fit the crime, but let's not forget he wasn't completely innocent. That room was off-limits and he knew what he was doing was not allowed.

Re:He broke into a server room to download it (-1, Redundant)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326699)

Let's not blame the victim.

Re:He broke into a server room to download it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326795)

So it doens't matter what you do, if you kill yourself after the fact you're now the victim.

Again, his possible punishment didn't fit the crime, but come on. You can't break into private places to take things, regardless if they're given away for free elsewhere.

Re:He broke into a server room to download it (1)

Tolkienfanatic (1111661) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327663)

I think you mean the defendant.

Re:He broke into a server room to download it (0)

microbox (704317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44326989)

Well, in a just world, only the guilty would be punished by the law. You seem to believe it is a just world, so therefore Schwartz was guilty of /something/. Which was downloading JSTOR publications, which he had access to. Well, in a just world, we can't have any disobedience to the powers that be, so we should threaten him with penalties worse than murder. (Let's face it, downloading legally accessible journal articles is /far/ worse than murder.) We should then bleed him dry of money in the court system, and bring his life to a grinding halt with all the time it takes. That would be a just world.

The just world hypothesis [wikipedia.org] .

Since that isn't what happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327001)

Since that isn't what happened, in any shape or form, he doesn't have to agree to that for MIT to be in the wrong here.

Please try again, this time with some reality mixed in, m'kay?

Re:He broke into a server room to download it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327831)

Dude, you know how low penalties for burglaries are? If Swartz was charged with Burglary, he could cop a plea deal and probably get a one year suspended sentence! Of course he did something much more sinister! He used a fuckin Computer! We can't have that. Only 3-letter-agencies can use computers to break laws!

Re:Sorry internet (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326621)

Don't worry little guy, Eric Holder is on it. He's a stand up all for justice kind of guy.

Re:Sorry internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327277)

Yup like how he is all over poor innocent George Zimmerman

Re:Sorry internet (0)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327767)

Just becasue a library allows you to get free information doesn't mean you can through a brick through their windows when they are closed.

", it's a crime to do what he did, and he was threatened with excessive penalties,"
no, he wasn't. Don't confuse 'Maximum penalty possible' for a crime with what the person will get. This is a classic media ploy to make number seems bigger and scarier.

The DOJ wanted to drop the case, MIT wouldn't allow them. MIT was the victims so it's not like the justice system can choose to ignore the victims.

Re:Sorry internet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326589)

Nobody drove Swartz into suicide.

He committed a crime, in spite of a warning from a top legal scholar (Lessig) that he consulted beforehand.

The government announced it would prosecute.

He killed himself.

The usual apologists stepped in... "Swartz was prosecuted for what, downloading a few documents?" No, millions of documents, and he did it on that scale deliberately to call attention to his act. And it wasn't the first time he had pulled that stunt either. After the first time he taunted law enforcement on his web page.

Re:Sorry internet (-1, Redundant)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326705)

You're blaming the victim, and you're too much of a coward to put your name on your derp.

Re:Sorry internet (1)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327311)

I'm not the AC, but no one drove Swartz to suicide, he killed himself. That is because he was mentally unstable to begin with. The only thing he is a victim of is depression and attendant poor decision making.

The government, of course, certainly didn't go easy on him, and their process of charging people with 2,358,976,543 things to get one charge to stick is horrendous. Still, that's exactly what they do to everyone. It's not like he was singled out for this treatment.

He knew he could get busted for this. He appears to have done so in the belief he'd get off easy. That was foolish.

Smacking a tiger in the face might be brave, but don't expect to not have your head bitten off for it. Activists in the past fully expected to be arrested for their actions and were prepared for it. That's why those activists are heroes. They did their actions in the expectation that they'd have to pay a price. There was only a minor technical difficulty in getting those documents. The real heroism is understanding the consequences and going forward anyway. He apparently did not understand the consequences.

Re:Sorry internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327575)

This. I'm not saying that what Swartz did (i.e. the mass download) was necessarily wrong, but he had to back it up by being prepared to stand trial and do time for it, in the tradition of civil disobedience. Otherwise he had no business doing that in the first place. Plus, the supposed right he was fighting for, that college students and (mostly) college-degreed professionals be able to download any academic journal paper without charge, hardly seems to be of the same scale as the great civil rights movements.

Re:Sorry internet (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327801)

"The government, of course, certainly didn't go easy on him, "
  MIT not 'The Government'. the DOJ wanted to drop the charges, MIT (the victims)wouldn't let them.

This is about MIT trying to control damage.

Re:Sorry internet (-1, Troll)

microbox (704317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327025)

I'm going to punt and say you believe Trayvon Martin killed himself too.

Somewhere in the world, a fascist state is calling for a new foot-soldier. A lock-step authoritarian Javert. "He stole a loaf of bread, let's ruin his life. JUSTICE!!!!"

Re:Sorry internet (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327181)

Just shut the fuck up about this case already. The defence proved that Martin ambushed Zimmerman to punish him. Both people made mistakes but Martins proved fatal. If Martin was smart he would have just kept going and made it home safely. But he chose to confront Zimmerman. Stupid.

Re:Sorry internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327231)

I'm going to punt and say you believe Trayvon Martin killed himself too.

And I'm going to ask you, nicely, to stop kicking puppies.

Re:Sorry internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327281)

Different anonymous coward here - There's a difference between blaming the victim and recognizing that the victim made unfortunate choices which facilitated his fate.

To paraphrase a conversation from the book Sphere:

*Beth confronting Norman and Harry, all scientists, the latter two were discussing how Beth had been in a relationship with a researcher known to steal others work and how said researcher also did it to her*
Beth: So what is this, the girl who gets raped is always asking for it?
Harry: No, but sometimes you gotta ask what she was doing in a bad part of town after midnight.

Re:Sorry internet (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327591)

Threatening to charge my girlfriend with being an accessory and put my kid in the hellhole that is the Mass. foster system might drive me to suicide.

Which, ya know, the prosecutor did to Schwartz.

Do you think it is fair to threaten the to take away somebody else's child to get a conviction?

This is why you should apply to MIT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326453)

Soo, any tech university that aren't run by fascists?

Who? (1, Insightful)

Arkiel (741871) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326455)

Mmm hmm, mmm hmm. And what ARE the names of the people employed by MIT who helped drive Aaron Swartz to kill himself? I'm not interested in threatening them, I just want to make sure their names are on the Internet and forever associated with the terrible, terrible thing they did.

Re:Who? (2, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326511)

Exactly, because when someone installs their own equipment in someone else's closet, tries to hide the fact that they installed the equipment, carfs down oodles and oodles of documents which the general public did not have access to because THEY felt they had the right to decide how the information is used, that person bears no responsibility for their actions.

It's all on the backs of those who caught the person doing something they didn't have a right to do, not the person committing the crime.

Re:Who? (5, Insightful)

Arkiel (741871) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326535)

No one is arguing that Aaron Swartz own actions did not contribute to what happened to him. It was suicide, after all. Way to use the all-or-nothing fallacy. Someone is arguing that MIT should not have gotten the government involved, and that there is a pattern of behavior here by them and their employees that should not be rewarded and should, in fact, be punished. I happen to think letting everyone know what these people did is punishment enough.

Re:Who? (5, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326557)

You're right, Aaron should have been held responsible for what he did. However, what he did amounted to the digital equivalent of checking out too many library books. He should have been held responsible for that and made to pay back damages to the victim(s).

However, I don't believe that his "crimes" should have involved any jail-time whatsoever and I'm surprised by anyone who did think that Aaron was a danger to society and should have been locked up for years.

So, with people being held responsible for their beliefs and actions, why is MIT not just releasing the information and instead weaseling around the court system?

Re:Who? (0, Troll)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326739)

It was not checking out too many books. He deliberately went into the library, where he didn't have access, and took books which the library had which could only be checked out under strict controls (i.e. the books were rare, old, in bad shape, etc).

You would agree that someone breaking into a library and performing the above acts should be jailed, correct? If not, then apparently breaking and entering isn't a crime in your eyes, nor is stealing something you don't have access to.

Re:Who? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326759)

If MIT doesn't have anything to hide, they don't need to block the release of the documents. Se how fun it isn't, when it's applied the other way around? Bunch of fucking hypocrites, and they are allowed to continue due to idiots like you.

It's a fucking shame. And you're a fucking disgrace.

Re:Who? (5, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | 1 year,5 days | (#44326909)

Rare old books are a limited resource. If he took those, nobody else could use them. That would be stealing.

Checking out too many books from the library means those books aren't available for other library patrons to check out. That's rude.

What he did was weaker still. He violated a copyright license. JSTOR had negotiated monopoly rights to copy those articles, and he violated their rules. He probably didn't deprive anyone of anything, though he may have damaged JSTOR by making it harder for them to negotiate rights in the future.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327505)

Was it an open secret?
Like at work, where everyone knows where the boss keeps the keys to his whiskey cabinet, and helps themselves to a shot from time to time?

But why keep rehashing about what this guy did? let him rest in peace and look at the other people that are still alive.

Re:Who? (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327963)

Convenient that you forget about the breaking and entering and then illegal access to the computer system.

You idiots needs to realize it is not about the docs, it was about the crimes he committed to gain access to the docs.

Re:Who? (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | 1 year,5 days | (#44326913)

If not, then apparently breaking and entering isn't a crime in your eyes, nor is stealing something you don't have access to.

where have you been the last year or so? the government is breaking and entering our digital lives at a much deeper level and much wider level of population (ie, EVERYONE).

they are not punished for their 'digital break-ins'. why should citizens, then? it seems its ok, in today's world. if the gov can get away with it, then it must be legal. RIGHT?

doublestandard much?

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327313)

Because a crime that hasn't been tried yet obviously nullifies any similar crime that has already occurred...

Re:Who? (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327971)

You're an idiot.

Did you notice the much of the government is also up in arms about what the NSA did?

Re:Who? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,5 days | (#44326933)

Digital files on an "open campus" do not seem to be like ~"books were rare, old, in bad shape".

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44326955)

Where do you have any fact's that anyway come close to that analogy?
In your analogy - there was a great risk, because if the old/rare book was lost or destroyed, then
the act would deprive everyone else of ever accessing that information. Downloading a digital copy
in no way risks the original. The fact that he was download from a site specifically setup to download
from hints that it wasn't *that* nefarious. the locked closet thing was *Not* to hack into the site but
mainly to steal/hide *bandwidth* of the transfer. SO a better ananlogy would be the common booksroom
that had unlimited copies of all the books, and anyone who checked one out was allowed to keep it forever
but there were unnecessary rules trying to artificially limit the unlimited information and people could go in
and take a book here or there, he once tried just parking his car outside and loading up on one of each book
but got yelled at and chased off, so he snuck a robot inside to grab bunches of books and hide then in a container
that he could more easily grab.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44326971)

So you wouldn't mind each and every NSA employee getting 1000 years in federal jail for massive copyright infringement?

Huh! (0)

jsrjsr (658966) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327009)

Admittedly, he did wrong things. However, how is this the equivalent of books that were "rare, old, in bad shape, etc."? Accessing physical books may damage them. Accessing data on a network doesn't.

Re:Who? (2)

tylikcat (1578365) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327015)

Er, no. In the situation you mention, by removing the books he would have been depriving other people of being able to use them, and (perhaps) harming the books themselves. Not particularly analogous at all. (And this is important, as being able to differentiate between physical and intellectual property is pretty central to having a meaningful discussion of intellectual property.)

He did violate access rules. He *might* have been intending to make the material publicly available - this is broadly asserted, but also disputed.

He also did kill himself.

The response to his actions is what is being questioned, and it even this response mostly is getting attention because of his suicide, the response was pretty crazy and it deserves attention.

Re:Who? (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327033)

It was not checking out too many books

Right, because Aaron being in possession of them did not stop anyone else from reading them.

He deliberately went into the library, where he didn't have access

He did have access, MIT's network is open and anyone who has access to MIT's network can access JSTOR.

took books which the library had which could only be checked out under strict controls

So strict that they give them out in PDF form to anyone who asks.

You just made that up. (4, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327063)

where he didn't have access, and took books which the library had which could only be checked out under strict controls

Bullsh*t. You're just making it up. Swartz was a research fellow at a university with a JSTOR account. That mean he had legal access to them.

Say, you're not part of Idiot America [amazon.com] are you?

Re:You just made that up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327539)

Then he should have used that access, instead of breaking into a different university and evading the university staffs repeated attempts to block him.

Re:Who? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327299)

I think all the replies to this comment have demonstrated what a poor analogy and false dichotomy you've just made.

For the record, I do not think that a member of the public who breaks into a public library should be jailed. Why should we prioritise the "locking down" of information over the freedom of an individual? Something's very wrong with your world view if you think that makes sense.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327437)

> You would agree that someone breaking into a library and performing the above acts should be jailed, correct? If not, then apparently breaking and entering isn't a crime in your eyes

So far so good. I'd add that one would have to take into account whether the "break in" involves breaking a lock or whether the door was open.

> nor is stealing something you don't have access to

That is a dirty red herring. You, Smooth Wombat, are an idiot.

Re: Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327939)

Would people stop clouding the issue with irrelevant analogies!!!

Look at exactly what he did for crying out loud!

He installed equipment in a location and on a network he no longer should have had access to, as it had been revoked. Then downloaded massive amounts of data which was behind a pay wall, which was already bought by the Uni, then released it outside the pay wall and closed network.

He wasn't hacking a bank, pilfering user, password and SSN's, or anything of the sort. He was downloading documents behind a pay wall and closed network, and releasing to the Internet.

If you really think the actions by both MIT and the DOJ were justified, your sense of justice is beyond skewed and I suggest you get some sort of perspective about what kind of country you want America to become when it comes to due process and the idea of 'justice'.

I'm not arguing MIT and the DOJ should not have acted, they just should not have acted in the manner that they did.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326867)

what he did amounted to the digital equivalent of checking out too many library books.

This is Slashdot. Can you please rephrase in terms of LOCs?

Re:Who? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327345)

No. No, I can't.

I'm torn as I regularly read Slashdot, but I live in an EU country and as such feel that I should be using metric units. Anyone know the metric equivalent of 1 LOC?

Re:Who? (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327941)

"what he did amounted to the digital equivalent of checking out too many library books. "
No. What he did wast the equivalent of going to closed library, smashing smashing in the window, and then throwing books out the window.
Would you argue the someone who did that was just giving out information that was going to be free anyways?

Remember, there was breaking and entering, physical access a computer he was not authorized to access.

You example would only apply if he sat at home a distributed the files via bit torrent.

MIT is weaseling becasue they are the ones that kept pushing the DOJ for a harsh punishment when the DOJ want to just drop the case.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326757)

Did you ever watch porn on the internet without paying? That's copyright infringement (probability of it being open source porn is close to 0). Please report yourself to the nearest police station and enjoy your 30 years of jail.

Re:Who? (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326767)

Using a sledgehammer to swat a fly is bad, not because the fly doesn't need to be swatted.

Do you want to try again, this time with reality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327209)

No, it wasn't "someone else's closet", it was a public building, not someone's private bedroom closet.
And closing the door is "trying to hide the fact"? WERE YOU BORN IN A BARN???

Carf (WFT?) down oodles and oodles of documents that the general public WERE LICENSED TO READ, but instead of having to go download from MIT's site, was mirroring them. This is a GOOD thing. It reduces costs for MIT and increases accessibility to the data to the public who, and I repeat this, WERE LICENSED TO READ THE DATA.

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327873)

Do you think MIT should be held responsible for their actions, or not? Aaron is dead, and can't defend himself nor atone for anything he did, any more. Are you saying that because he did (or did not) do something wrong, MIT should be free to act however they please, without any consequences?

Because, due to your focus in this discussion, that's how it appears. So, how is it?

Re:Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326527)

helped drive Aaron Swartz to kill himself?

Yeah, being melodramatic about it is really going to help.

Not Block (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326459)

They don't want to block them, just put them behind a pay wall as a final FU to the memory of Aaron.

I would have expected better from MIT? (1)

dryriver (1010635) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326471)

Aren't MIT supposed to be the "good/brilliant guys" in all things tech? I don't understand why they have so much trouble with the Schwartz case... In any case, RIP Aaron Schwartz!

Re:I would have expected better from MIT? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326505)

The Boston.com article says that MIT's side of things is that they don't want the files blocked, just redacted.

Nate Nickerson, associate vice president for communications at MIT, said that the university was not trying to block release, simply trying to ensure the safety of MIT employees and security of university networks was protected, particularly after a hoax gunman report in February was linked to Swartz’s death.

“The basic idea is we want to do this quickly, and have a process where we can take a look and propose redactions based on those two characteristics [employee safety and network security],”

It does express surprise that they've waited until so late in the process to do this though, especially when details like names are usually removed anyway. It is odd.

Re:I would have expected better from MIT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326605)

I don't understand why they have so much trouble with the Schwartz case...

MIT is no different than any other big business venture. Follow the money and you'll probably find some big shot MIT administrator that made a lot of money (or thought he would) by having him prosecuted.

Re:I would have expected better from MIT? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326729)

-1, Conspiracy nut.

Re:I would have expected better from MIT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44326905)

You're supposed to use the dropdown box to select the proper rating.....

(and if the entry you want is missing tough luck)

What do you mean by "good?" (3, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326685)

Sometimes, someone gets faced with an ethical dilemma and doesn't immediately know what the right thing to do is. In those circumstances, it's understandable that the first thing he does is not necessarily the best thing he could have done.

Re:I would have expected better from MIT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326829)

Apparently you don't know much about the history of MIT.

Sleep with dogs, you get fleas, MIT (0)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326475)

Guess someone is a little ashamed to be caught in bed with the Feds. Hope MIT at least demanded they wear a condom.

Re:Sleep with dogs, you get fleas, MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327013)

Why is it anyone who has anything to do with this type of thing who is in bed with the Fed winds up dead?

Quick! To the racemobile! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326479)

Were they black? They were black weren't they. This was racially motivated.

Now here's a bunch of unrelated people to talk about it on tv.

(i have no idea if i'm joking anymore.... worlds gone insane)

Re:Quick! To the racemobile! (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326503)

You're being ridiculous.

This was clearly the work of gay Muslims.

Re:Quick! To the racemobile! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326603)

*looks down at the board*

Hmmm... Servants of Cthulhu to Orbital Mind Control Rays to Yuppies...

Looks legit to me.

Re:Quick! To the racemobile! (1)

microbox (704317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327091)

Surely you mean gay muslim atheists.

Re:Quick! To the racemobile! (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327295)

Gay muslim atheist paedophiles.

But don't call me Shirley.

Re:Quick! To the racemobile! (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327381)

Shirly? So... crosdressing gay Muslim atheist pedophiles

Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it. (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326517)

There were a lot of problems with the whole Swartz case. In particular, that his actions were considered grounds for harsher punishment than many murderers and rapists. I don't care about the documents half as much as I care about the fact that our system is so broken that copying data is so disproportionately punished.

It doesn't even matter if Aaron was right or wrong when the fundamental laws, rules and regulations of the case were so flawed in the first place.

Re:Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326693)

There were a lot of problems with the whole Swartz case. In particular, that his actions were considered grounds for harsher punishment than many murderers and rapists. I don't care about the documents half as much as I care about the fact that our system is so broken that copying data is so disproportionately punished.

Which was also violating licensing and copyright laws. And breaking and entering. And lying to police. And resisting arrest/obstructing justice.

Your point is still valid but the full charges should be pointed out or you are being dishonest.

Re:Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326769)

It's not dishonest if I haven't bothered to research the case. Merely ill-informed. In this case, I read about it several months ago, and am simply going off what bits and pieces I remember.

But, as you said, my point is still valid generally speaking.

Re:Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326803)

It's not dishonest if I haven't bothered to research the case. Merely ill-informed. In this case, I read about it several months ago, and am simply going off what bits and pieces I remember.

But, as you said, my point is still valid generally speaking.

Well, from one friendly internet denizen to another, let me tell you a sure fire way to have people write you off instantly: be ill informed and misreport facts to make your point seem even more urgent.

Re:Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327239)

be ill informed and misreport facts to make your point seem even more urgent.

You are so sure that you think you know something. You don't know jack sh*t.

Re:Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327737)

The people who care already care. The ones who don't aren't the type to read /.

No copyright breech ensued. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327079)

The documents were licensed for anyone to read. The ToS (not copyright law) required you not use a script to download them, but ANYONE was allowed to get it. As long as they knew the location of the documents store, in an abandoned warehouse, in a locked room, behind a notice saying "Beware of the Leopard"...

So, copyright infringements: NIL.

ToS violation (which clause is a civil matter and would fail the "reasonable clause" test for a one-sided contract agreement): 1.

Re:Pointless details. Let's look at the meat of it (1)

microbox (704317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327127)

Yeah, on careful consideration, I think Swatz deserved 50 years in prison, and $1 million in fines. Not.

If you think that is a reasonable penalty, then I suppose you also think Oliver North [wikipedia.org] paid the right price for his crimes as well.

Release of documents (1)

geekymachoman (1261484) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326555)

Ok, so I as an organization do something wrong. Judge orders me to release a documentation about it. What stops me to choose what documents I would release and what documents I would forget/destroy/whatever ?

Everytime I hear about freedom of information and disclosure of documents I'm thinking about this. Especially when it comes to governments which is not the case here.. but the point is still valid.

Or do they have some sort of 'protection' against this, that I'm not aware of ?

Re:Release of documents (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326667)

Your example makes no sense as it doesn't relate to the story. If you as an organization do something wrong, the judge wouldn't do anything except authorize a search warrant, at which point the police will take everything they can find. If you try to hide/destory/whatever, you face significant punishments, above and beyond whatever else they can prove. What's happening here, however, is that MIT is trying to block release of documents from the Secret Service, not themselves. MIT doesn't have those files.

Re:Release of documents (1)

mephox (1462813) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326669)

Presumably there's always the danger of someone, somewhere remembering that there was a document that was supposed to be there. Especially a lawyer on the opposition. Some piece of paperwork that is part of the bureaucracy that serves as a flag in a folder as thick as a thigh that, if missing even by accident, raises warning flags.

Also, shredding papers and burning papers tends to raise eyebrows among the staff who may or may not be in on your scheme and, if not, may just tip off the authorities.

There are layers and layers of paranoia that a more practiced paranoid than I could get into about what might or might not raise warnings about missing paperwork.

Re:Release of documents (1)

Xest (935314) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327027)

Nothing, that's exactly what happened under Bush regarding the Iraq war. Some hard drives just went "missing".

As someone else said you can always hope that someone recognises something is missing or destroy but for many organisations it'll be a cost-benefit analysis. What's going to hurt the organisation more, the revelations themselves, or the data proving the revelations themselves being found to have disappeared?

Say Obama ordered the NSA to assassinate the Queen of England, say someone leaked this but there was no proof, what would hurt him more, evidence proving that fact he ordered it or a revelation that no evidence could be found but may or may not have existed at some point? The latter leaves room for doubt in the accusation so is always going to be a safer route than releasing the evidence.

Contrast this to a story of say, for example, Microsoft being engaged in financial irregularities, in this case they'd be better off releasing the data and implicating themselves and saying sorry and promising to do better because the excuse "Oh we kinda lost all our financial records" would probably hurt them more because investors would be scared shitless of investing in a company that just "loses" it's financial records. Especially if you weigh in the risk of whistleblowers.

Re:Release of documents (1)

microbox (704317) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327163)

From Yes Minister, "The Skeleton in the Cupboard"

Jim: How am I going to explain the missing documents to the Mail?

Sir Humphrey: Well this is what we normally do in, circumstances like these. [hands over a file]

Jim: [reading] This file contains the complete set of papers, except for a number of secret documents, a few others which are part of still active files, a few others lost in the flood of 1967. [to Humphrey] Was 1967 a particularly bad winter?

Sir Humphrey: No a marvellous winter, we lost no end of embarrassing files.

Jim: [reading] Some records which went astray in the move to London, and others when the War Office was incorporated in the Ministry of Defence, and the normal withdrawal of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for liable or breach of confidence, or cause embarrassment to friendly governments. [to Humphrey] Well that's pretty comprehensive. How many does that normally leave for them to look at? [Humphrey says nothing] How many does that actually leave? About a hundred? Fifty? Ten? Five? Four? Three? Two? One? Zero?

Sir Humphrey: Yes Minister.

Re:Release of documents (2)

cptnapalm (120276) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327415)

Yes, Minister: the only show that is probably more relevant now than when it aired in the 1980s.

Non issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326585)

It's a non-issue to me because if I had the data in my hands, it would be released, court orders be damned.

Why so secretive MIT? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326613)

In its motion, MIT asked the court to establish a process by which MIT could review and propose redactions to any such documents prior to their release. With this motion MIT does not oppose the release of these documents, but seeks only to redact information that could threaten the safety and privacy of its employees, or that could threaten the security of MIT’s computer network.

Jeez MIT, its not as if you turned state's evidence against the mob and now need witness protection! The fact that they're seeking to hide information which ordinarily would be completely unremarkable, now only piques the interest of everyone concerned with the case. Is MIT hiding something more than the names of a few employees who were trying to track down an illicit use of network resources?

College full of geniuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#44326715)

I wonder if anyone could figure out who the staffers were even if they were redacted..

MIT has no standing (2)

ggraham412 (1492023) | 1 year,6 days | (#44326743)

Nate Nickerson, associate vice president for communications at MIT, said that the university was not trying to block release, simply trying to ensure the safety of MIT employees and security of university networks was protected, particularly after a hoax gunman report in February was linked to Swartz’s death.

“The basic idea is we want to do this quickly, and have a process where we can take a look and propose redactions based on those two characteristics [employee safety and network security],”

FOIA requests can be redacted to protect the identities of agents in ongoing or sensitive investigations or to protect things like social security numbers whose release could abet fraud. They cannot be redacted to protect institutions from embarrassing imbroglios and bad decisions. That is the whole point of FOIA: the public has a right to know.

Whatcha got to hide there MIT? Eh? The Truth??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327049)

The following hostile statement is my opinion, tell your lawyers to go sit in a hottub filled with hydrochloric acid please.

Fucking MIT assholes - prepare to have your shit smeared all over the world and people to see what kind of deluded, criminally negligent, murder inducing (remember, the AG has stated that harassing an individual til they commit suicide is murder) psychopaths you really are.

Re:Whatcha got to hide there MIT? Eh? The Truth??? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327535)

I don't think that mob justice is justified here as the people responsible most likely had no idea that their behaviour would lead to Aaron taking his own life. However, they were extremely malicious and the papers should be released (with their names redacted if deemed necessary) so that we can prevent this happening again.

America used to be proud of being "Land of the Free", but it now seems to be that secrecy is valued higher than people's lives. Release the information and let the chips fall where they may.

... nothing to see here, move along ... (2)

BemoanAndMoan (1008829) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327065)

Supposedly this is to protect the identities of MIT staff who might be harassed — but government policy is to redact such information already.

There is nothing in the article that supports your conclusion. From the article:

In its motion, MIT asked the court to establish a process by which MIT could review and propose redactions to any such documents prior to their release. With this motion MIT does not oppose the release of these documents, but seeks only to redact information that could threaten the safety and privacy of its employees, or that could threaten the security of MIT’s computer network.

So your outrage is what, that MIT isn't proceeding in the good faith that the government would bear the burden of protecting their staff's identities. Yea, that makes sense.

If somebody solicits your attention through forced indignation, its a sure sign you are talking to either a) a zealot or b) a drum beater looking for a pat on the back. Nobody thinks what happened to Aaron was reasonable (other than those fetid US attorneys and prosecutors who build their careers by prosecuting beyond reason or justice), but selling shit as Shinola just tarnishes the overall conversation around it, even if there is a grain of truth in what you are selling.

Defund all federal contracts to MIT (1)

PhuckIndian (2943641) | 1 year,5 days | (#44327201)

Call your local congressman and support this crucial budget cut in the name of freedom. If it is a "D", tell them it supports freedom of information and more open, advanced internet. If it is a "R", tell them it supports reducing the deficit.

Full discosure now!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327205)

Angry mob with torches and pitchforks: "Tell all the names now!!! We want justice!"

Official: "Why? So you'll kill them?"

Guy #1 in crowd: "YEAH! Get what they deserv... OOF!" <as guy #2 in crowd elbows him in the stomach>

Guy#2 in crowd: "um... we just want to erm... talk with them."

Official looks incredulously at angry mob with torches and pitchforks

Official: "You really want me to believe you just want to talk to them. What are the pitchforks for?"

Guy#2 in crowd: "umm... We were in the middle of farmin'??"

Guy #1 in crowd (impatient): "Quit yer stallin' tell us who they are!!"

Angry mob with torches and pitchforks: "YEAH! Tell us who they are!! Tell us who they are!!"

Official: [sighs] "Go home people!" and walks away

How much is this costing MIT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327553)

Lots of new AC morons posting completely made up bullshit to paint the court order as some vigilante justice SOLELY because it's MIT that is "at risk".

Sorry, you done wrong and you don't get to say "Oh, can we check what you're going to print and let us edit it before released" TO A FUCKING COURT ORDER.

If you didn't wan't to have this shit shown, you shouldn't have done the shit that made this necessary.

What would Snowden have about Swartz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 days | (#44327817)

Would Snowden's terabytes have anyting about this, by chance? Or thwarted attempts on Hastings? That could help a lot.

Consider Swartz and Hastings as heroic Zimmerans for the Light Side. Fighting mixed-up cowardly bullies, instead of being one.

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