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First Portions of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service File Released

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the can't-make-jstor-look-bad dept.

The Courts 89

Despite attempts by MIT and JSTOR to block the release of files pertaining the Aaron Swartz investigation, the court has ordered the release of documents not referencing MIT or JSTOR. There are approximately 14,500 pages of documents that will be released over the coming six months, after having information that could lead to harm against MIT or JSTOR employees redacted. Wired has the full story, and the author uploaded the first hundred pages of files. The first batch reveals that the Feds had indeed been looking into Swartz since the publication of his 2008 'Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,' several years before being indicted for copying documents from JSTOR.

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It's "pertaining TO"... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550505)

Damn Americans.

"pertaining the Aaron Swartz investigation"

What does that even mean?

Re:It's "pertaining TO"... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550601)

They do it on accident.

Re: It's "pertaining TO"... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551015)

Whilst they hold "down" the fort. Look, they really could care less, even if they tried...

MIT/JSTOR redactions == cowardice (1, Troll)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#44550523)

With that kind of cowardice, you could black out the nearly the entire document just for someone's sensitivies.

Now if that information is released, that would be telling.

Re:MIT/JSTOR redactions == cowardice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44553383)

Random people in MIT IS&T have gotten death threats, folks who had nothing to do with any of this.

Schwartz's SO sent condemnations of the MIT report less than a minute after it was published, and it was 1000 pages. She didn't read it. None of you have either. Some of Schwartz's supporters, (of which I'm one and you'd probably be surprised to learn, so are most people within MIT) have lost all sense of perspective or facts about this, and are ready to lash out in righteous anger at anybody they can. They're angry, so fuck the facts.

MIT didn't want him prosecuted for JSTOR. They wanted him busted for breaking & entering, and installing covert surveillance equipment on the network. That was it. When the Dept. of Justice went ballistic and MIT said 'woah, woah, woah', they were told in no uncertain terms by the Mass District Attourney that if they tried to intervene on Aaron's behalf, "they would make it worse for him".

Unless you want to spend taxpayer money on extra police protection for people who did nothing but go to work at MIT, I think a few redactions are warranted. We don't need Reddit doxing people to death. Go after Carmen Ortiz and the USDOJ if you're angry.

Re:MIT/JSTOR redactions == cowardice (2)

Weezul (52464) | about a year ago | (#44562115)

Agreed. I think people know that Prosecutors Stephen Heymann and Carmen Ortiz are the ones who need to pay for Aaron Swartz death by losing their jobs. Any MIT and JSTOR employees involved should be penalized by people remembering them and obstructing their promotion within those organizations, but tempers have cooled enough that they shouldn't be getting death threats now.

In any case, these documents will help focus anger back on Heymann and Ortiz. Example :

Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Compared Aaron Swartz To Rapist [firedoglake.com]

Released? (5, Insightful)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about a year ago | (#44550567)

We already know based upon Snowden that anything that will incriminate the U.S. government will be classified (Blacked out). It's clear on the Swartz case that they are so bent on making the people stupid that they are willing kill the smart ones that want to share knowledge. Not really much more to explore on the subject, other than a choice in country that is a bit more worthy of their word, and rule of law.

Re:Released? (2)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year ago | (#44551081)

The assessment that people at MIT and JSTOR would be personally attacked and harassed by internet vigilante is realistic. You can just read the Slashdot articles calling for the hanging of everybody involved.

But bringing more suffering does not help Aaron. We need to create protections against the psychological, financial and social consequences of prosecutions that go on for years. People lose their jobs, sanity and social status due to being under investigation.

Re:Released? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551371)

As well they should be attacked and harassed for participating in the investigation and prosecution, and ultimately his death. We will be protected against the psychological, financial and social consequences of lengthy prosecutions based on mindless secrecy and "property" rights when all of us refuse to participate in them.

Re:Released? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44551675)

The only person who participated in his death was Aaron Schwartz. He wasn't harassed. He was arrested for unlawful actions.

Re:Released? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44551759)

The only person who participated in his death was Aaron Schwartz. He wasn't harassed. He was arrested for unlawful actions.

He was needlessly imprisoned as punishment for taking actions which really shouldn't even have been illegal. That's not just harassment, it's also punishment before a finding of guilt.

Re:Released? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552061)

He was needlessly imprisoned as punishment for taking actions which really shouldn't even have been illegal.

Breaking the law isn't a valid form of protest. If you plan on using civil disobedience as a form of protest you better be ready to be put in a cell for it. That's the give and take of that kind of action. I might agree with you that it shouldn't be illegal but at the same time I agree that it's still illegal.

That's not just harassment, it's also punishment before a finding of guilt.

Which many other have also faced and most of them don't kill themselves. There's a line each person must draw when assigning blame. I don't see what his suicide as anything more than his own actions. He wasn't harassed into killing himself, not but a long shot.

No one should face anything in relation to his suicide.

Re:Released? (3, Insightful)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44553431)

Swartz published PUBLIC DOMAIN documents on the internet that non-college students had to pay 10 cents a page for a copy. He was charged with computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer, all provisions of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, many of which were meant to protect ATM transactions before there was internet. If you haven't read this extremely over-broad law, which depending on interpretation makes the internet illegal (accessing any site without permission of the owner is illegal and a felony). In the aftermath, Aaron's law [wikipedia.org] was proposed to eliminate terms of service from the CFAA, which is what all of these charges were based on.

For that he was looking at 35 years in prison, forfeit of assets, and a 1 million dollar fine. To put that in perspective, he was looking at spending over half of his life in prison and could be 61 by release (without parole) and completely broke. That was for making free knowledge available to the public. I can understand being depressed and possibly suicidal faced with those charges and the very likely possibility of losing in court.

Re:Released? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#44553723)

That's what happens when you don't subscribe to a legal protection insurance.

Re: Released? (3, Interesting)

dnadoc (3013299) | about a year ago | (#44552587)

It's really callous to ruin somebody's life with immoral abuse of the legal system, over an unjust law, then blame the victim for his own suicide, because you think it didn't count as harassment.

Aaron's dad was right- the government murdered Aaron.

Re: Released? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44559603)

I prefer the truth even if you think it is callous. Nobody murdered Aaron Schwartz. He killed himself and nobody else can or should be held responsible for that.

Re:Released? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44551653)

If they're not charged with anything, it's usually zero to minimal interference with their activities. If they're charged, they can demand speedy trials. American defendands have that right but rarely exercise it. I've heard an attorney say that they rarely do because it rarely works to their advantage. Many of the delays are actually caused by defendants and their lawyers.

Re: Released? (1)

dnadoc (3013299) | about a year ago | (#44552521)

No where is "speedy trial" defined as a particular length of time. In practice it works like "as soon as possible" considering all the recognized reasons/loopholes for a delay. Other than gitmo inmates nobody "invokes" their right to a speedy trial anymore than they invoke their right to a Republican form of government.

Re: Released? (0)

sirhan (105815) | about a year ago | (#44554933)

It's defined as 160 days in my state's statutes. 725 ILCS 5/103-5

Re: Released? (1)

dnadoc (3013299) | about a year ago | (#44560229)

True! When he said "American defendants" I assumed he meant federal statutes. My memory of those cases involved judges scheduling a trial, then granting the prosecution as many continuances as they wanted. The only Constitutional bar is something like years after indictment.

Re:Released? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44552207)

But bringing more suffering does not help Aaron.

You are of course correct.

But killing these fuckers and every friend they ever had while torturing their families for 3 generations might prevent it from ever happening again.

Re:Released? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#44552265)

But killing these fuckers and every friend they ever had while torturing their families for 3 generations might prevent it from ever happening again.

Unlikely.

Re:Released? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44552545)

You do not think that Federal Prosecutors would unlikely to abuse their powers once they knew that getting found out meant a lynching of themselves by a mob of angry citizens followed by the torture of their parents and children? I do.

Will not happen though. The stupid fuckers we have can not even vote people out of office.

Re:Released? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about a year ago | (#44554053)

You best get back on your medication before you hurt yourself or others. You have come real close to issuing the kind of threats that people are starting to take seriously.

Re:Released? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44554609)

What threat? Coming close is noticing that if actions have consequences it changes things more than if there are no consequences? The fact prosecutors are already almost completely immune from proprietorial conduct makes this type of thing common. When the lawmakers make themselves immune to the law, sooner or later vigilantes will come into the picture. This is not a threat. It is an obvious observation. Without law there is vigilante justice.

Re:Released? (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about a year ago | (#44557905)

Seriously dude get back on the meds and power down your reality distortion field a bit. It's bad enough a young man killed himself, someone with admitted psychological issues, but laying the blame on others and threatening them with violence is probably not the best way to vent your anger.

Re:Released? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44558687)

Not threatening. Stating that it would be nice.

Also not placing blame for the suicide on them. Only placing blame on them for twisting the legal system to protect big money interests while harming the people the law is supposed to protect.

Since prosecutors are immune from prosecution even when they are clearly abusing their power the only type of justice that can ever come their way is via vigilantism. Which I think personally is wrong in most cases as law is supposed to be applied to them. Sadly they have exempted themselves from the law ...

14500 pages? (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44550667)

What the hell? How much of 14500 pages could have been relevant to the trial?
Are you guys competing with Stasi?

Re:14500 pages? (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about a year ago | (#44550703)

These are scary unethical people developing policy, given that they are driven by corporate interests, well... FUCK THAT!!!

Re:14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550705)

Remember that those are the types who still use Fax machines, dot matrix printers, and probably ride around in horse carriages illuminated with oil lamps.

Give them a YouTube link, and they'll tell their secretary to tell their IT guy to print it out... frame by frame... if they're lucky... if the secretary has to do it herself, it will come out as random characters after renaming it to .doc and using MS Word. And they will *still* insist it is valid court material and happily put it into their (physical) file. And yes, they will also expect you to read and type in every character, even if it's an ASCII line-drawing one, to watch the video again. "Why would anyone ever think differently? WTF is wrong with you for wanting me to give you a *link*? You're weird for not using paper. Officer, frisk that man. He looks like somebody who's thinking for himself, even though we know such a thing doesn't exist. He's probably a terrorist."

Re:14500 pages? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a year ago | (#44551773)

Dot Matrix?! Hey!

If you can't afford a good laser printer then a dot matrix one can be useful. Inkjets suck, they dry out or the timer chips in the cartridges expire. They collect dust inside and start leaving streaks on the paper requiring difficult cleaning processes (or more likely just buying a new one) Ink is rediculous expensive!!

I was really regretting that I didn't keep a dot matrix printer myself. For a while I was looking for a nice used one to print out pdf manuals, ebooks and stuff like that. Tractor fed paper is great if you want to print out reams of it at a time without having to babysit. Just place the printer on a high shelf so the paper has plenty of room to go down as it prints. You can let it go all day. Most newer consumer grade printers will just jam up if you try that.

My work decided to get rid of an old HP LaserJet so I don't need a dotmatrix any more but otherwise I probably would have one by now.

Then again, now that I have a tablet I don't print books so often as I used to. It's still nice to know that I can though.

Oh... and Dot Matrix printers are great for printing receipts!

Re:14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44563107)

When you wrote your comment and got all worked up, did you even realize that you already lost your pants *before* you crossed the starting line?:
Who of those lawyers and judges we're talking about can't afford a laser printer??

Missing info from the summary (3, Funny)

mutube (981006) | about a year ago | (#44550727)

It was in an 86pt font.

Re:14500 pages? (2, Interesting)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | about a year ago | (#44550763)

I suspect there will be page after page of

suspect woke up at 06:55. Alarm played I'm Free by the Who
suspect entered bathroom at 06:56
suspect farted
suspect got dressed Jeans (faded levi's) and white T shirt at 07:04
suspect descended stairs at 07:05 and yawned
suspect said good morning to

etc etc etc

He must have been a 'very naughty boy' (with homage to Monty Python) to have made the feds take that level of interest in him. It is a pity that in doing do, they took their eyes off of other even badder people in the Boston Area.
joking apart and honestly,
I can't see what was so serious/life threatening/treasonable that caused the Feds to take that level on interest in him. However, I do suspect that having done so, they saw that this pretty innocious charge of copying was the foot in the door and they needed to show the bosses in DC that there was some return on their investment so they put the squeeze on the DA to throw the book at him.
no proof but why else would she keep saying we are going to press for the maximum sentence?
If found guilty, he could well have spent more time in jail than a murderer. How can his crime be regarded as being more serious than that? The US Justice is IMHO anything but Just.

Re:14500 pages? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550799)

The US does not have a justice system. It has a legal system. Wherever you see the term "justice" applied, you can infer it to mean, "Whatever the government wants."

Or whatever the powerful want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550967)

Remember, the government is made up of people. Just like corporations.

And, just like the people in corporations, those people are open to petty jealousy, irrational rage, corruption and bribery by other people percieved as powerful and able to give them the bribe.

So when Apple Corp want the law to engender injustice, they get someone in government to do it.

This is no more "the government are abusing the law" than the hitman is guilty of murder: the one making this happen is just as, if not more, guilty of the crime. Insisting it is "the government's fault" is always used to absolve the rich commercial interests who sic the government on their opponents.

Without a government to do this, there would be no government to stop them just buying their own guards, guns and justice system. If there were no government to do this for them, they'd do it themselves. Removing government won't remove the injustice.

Re:14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550865)

If found guilty, he could well have spent more time in jail than a murderer. How can his crime be regarded as being more serious than that? The US Justice is IMHO anything but Just.

Swartz could have shot the POTUS and received significantly less time incarcerated even if he never claimed insanity. Although the Government gave him plenty to be paranoid about and therefore his actions and mental state could be classified as mental illness. You have to work the legal system to get any justice.

Re: 14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552517)

Yes he could have. But wouldn't. I the U. S. the prosecutor piton every possible charge. But may are servers concurrently and the maximums are not given to first offenders. Then there is time off for good behavior.

Re: 14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552995)

Yes he could have. But wouldn't. I the U. S. the prosecutor piton every possible charge. But may are servers concurrently and the maximums are not given to first offenders. Then there is time off for good behavior.

Your fingers are too fat for your phone. Put down the doritos and Dew.

Re:14500 pages? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551379)

Be careful when you are publishing something entitled "Manifesto" or "Guerilla"
This people takes this words just as serious as saying bomb in a plane.

Re:14500 pages? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#44553969)

You'll be fine as long as you don't mention pressure cooker and explosive device in the same sentence.

Re:14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552665)

Of course anytime you get someone that can expose the country for what it really is, guess what? You are a target be the FBI, and another unknown agency..
Anytime they prcatice there rights and give a big F_U to those that do not want to see you or others have those rights guess what?

Real shocker, I guess the Unibomber wasn't as important seeing how he was out to kill, while Aaron was out to expose how you rights should apply..

Rights BADS, Killing people GOOD..

Re:14500 pages? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550849)

What the hell? How much of 14500 pages could have been relevant to the trial?

Are you guys competing with Stasi?

Don't underestimate the arousal experienced by many a government bureaucrat as they compile volumes of information about any person of interest. And the malicious behaviour of government employees is rarely punished; in fact, such behaviour is encouraged.

Re: 14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550923)

It's fairly easy to add boiler plate and duplicated information to get the page count up so that the 3 pages of actually useful stuff can be withheld.

Re:14500 pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551029)

14500 pages of badly scanned text you can't even search in.

If you want to hide stuff, flooding with unwanted data works just as well as hiding.

Re:14500 pages? (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44552777)

That's the same reason the NSA doesn't think there's anything wrong with spying on the world. Still believe that?

Re:14500 pages? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#44551651)

Actually I think they are.

Read the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. [archive.org] This is what got the feds' attention on Swartz. Now what in there could possibly have anything to do with state security?

Why were the feds interested in someone because they said these things? I can only come up with three possibilities, and none of them are good:

1. They are policing IP issues
2. They are acting as rent-a-cops to protect the profits of certain corporations, on taxpayer money (this is subtly different than #1)
3. They simply see anyone not happy with the increasing secrecy and private ownership of the world as a potential security threat who should be crushed with the full weight of the legal system at the first opportunity, to cripple any of their future endeavors.

Re:14500 pages? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44551689)

It might include copies of some of the documents he illegally copied and it may contain many files that partially duplicate each other.

Help an uneducated (1)

buck-yar (164658) | about a year ago | (#44550749)

How was Swartz charged with unauthorized access when he had a JSTOR account?

Re:Help an uneducated (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44550815)

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act treats both "unauthorized access" and "exceeding authorized access" as essentially equivalent. The second case is where you had an account but used it in unauthorized ways. This has some obvious vagueness and overreach problems. Did the CFAA drafters really mean to criminalize ToS violations, for example?

Here [pdf] [volokh.com] is a proposed amendment to the law from law professor Orin Kerr.

Re:Help an uneducated (2)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#44551625)

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act treats both "unauthorized access" and "exceeding authorized access" as essentially equivalent. ...

Isn't that what the NSA has done to us?

Re:Help an uneducated (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44551737)

Possibly, but the FISA statute probably supersedes the CFAA.

Re:Help an uneducated (1)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44553773)

FISA applies to foreign surveillance and signed into law by Carter and was actually put in place because Nixon used federal resources to spy on domestic activities in violation of the Fourth Amendment. So the original intent was to make sure federal resources were only used for international spying. CFAA was put in place to prevent computer crimes such as hacking (the bad kind) and protect ATM transactions. Politicians had very little idea what (peer-to-peer) modems were, much less packet networks when they signed that into law, but it was pushed through quickly to protect banks and businesses as these technologies emerged.

So technically, FISA and CFAA have nothing to do with one another, though they could be intertwined today with FISA's broadened scope.

Re:Help an uneducated (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44552209)

Did the CFAA drafters really mean to criminalize ToS violations, for example?

I don't see how that is relevant here. Swartz evaded attempts to remove him from the network and he installed hardware on a physical network on private property. Neither of those is a ToS violation, it's gaining access illegally. The copying itself also wasn't just a ToS violation, it was a criminal copyright violation (but he wasn't even charged with that AFAIK).

CFAA is far too vague and far too expansive. But Swartz would have run afoul of pretty much any computer fraud statute.

Re:Help an uneducated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550837)

He (allegedly) violated the terms of service by downloading articles in bulk automatically, hammering JSTOR's servers. It was a distinctive enough pattern of misuse that JSTOR asked for it to be stopped and MIT tried to implement local blocks on his access (i.e. some kind of network filtering), which Swartz then circumvented by eventually plugging a laptop directly into the MIT network in a data closet. None of this was settled in court, because it never got to trial, but I think those basic facts of the situation were not in dispute.

It would have reduced costs later. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550985)

After having gained the documents, he would have been able to seed them to other computers and therefore the MIT system would not have to resolve every request for the document.

The work would have saved their network.

And Aaron wasn't going to ask for payment for his aid.

Re:It would have reduced costs later. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551385)

I wasn't answering a question about the rationale or justification for it, but a question about what was allegedly done.

Despite the manifesto he released, what he planned to do with the files is speculation because he never really got the chance. However, seeding the files to other machines would have been even more clearly in violation of the terms of service for JSTOR, as well as being a copyright violation. While JSTOR does have stuff that is old enough it is out of copyright (probably fine to copy, like journals from the 1800s), most of what's on JSTOR isn't copyright-expired material. If he had focused his attention purely on copyright-expired material, it would have made for an interesting case because copyright would no longer apply. But it wouldn't negate the unauthorized access of MIT's network or the violation of JSTOR's terms of service. It would make the reasons for pursuing the case even more ridiculous, though.

Even for the copyright-expired works I'd still argue that there is something unethical about taking stuff that JSTOR digitized and simply turning it over to the wider network. It takes a lot of work to digitize and organize paper journal articles properly. You can make it more efficient and people might be willing to volunteer, but it still costs money and time to do. If you really want to do the right thing, the approach should be to digitize it yourself and then make your work freely available rather than taking someone else's efforts without their permission.

I think Swartz's principle was right (that publicly-funded work should be publicly available for free), but his implementation was ethically questionable. He took a shortcut to get those materials out there: he copied them from JSTOR. That the reaction of law enforcement was so far out of proportion does increase my sympathy for his cause, but I still think what he did was wrong. What you claim he planned to do with the files doesn't change that impression.

Re:Help an uneducated (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550953)

There are so many rules, regulations and laws in the USA that one must "break" one of these. Many of these rules, regulations and laws contradict others so that to keep one of these is to break another of these rules, regulations and laws.
This has, at least, two purposes:
(1) Every person is made a "law-breaker" and can be persecuted at any time for a wide variety of "crimes".
(2) Every person, being a "law-breaker", can be fined (Government and/or Business), disciplined (G&B), or imprisoned (G & B with the help of G)
The individual, having gained notoriety by the Government and/or Business, can be destroyed or raised-up at any moment or incident.

Swartz broke one of these contradictory rules and the Business (MIT) induced the Government to persecute him. The Government jumped on him with hob-nailed boots and broke him. His brokenness end in his death. The Business had their "thief" punished and the Government had their "threat" eliminated.

If one keeps up with the news in the USA, one will see in Federal tax-preparation time planted news stories about taxpayers (no longer citizens) who have run afoul of the IRS and "broke" some Federal tax rule, regulation, and law. The individual is way-layed; prison terms are routinely handed out to these "criminals". If a Business does this, it receives a penalty but, being only an "entity" and not an actual person, receives no prison time and rarely admits its "crime".

Poor Mr. Swartz was caught up in a process that ate him up and spit him out. It ended in his death and now the Business (MIT) that started the entire process wants to claim innocence. Regrettably, most people will "buy" the propaganda. Every person has lost something with the death of Mr. Swartz.

Re:Help an uneducated (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551645)

There's nothing contradictory about the laws in question. It was copyrighted material. JSTOR had it on their site. Access to that material was under specific terms, including not using automated bots to download articles in bulk. He broke those terms. When MIT tried to block his access as they were obliged to do according to JSTOR's license contract, Swartz entered a closet with network gear and plugged a computer directly into the network to circumvent the blocks.

This is a very simple law: you don't copy other people's work without permission, and you don't enter unauthorized parts of private property or plug into their network without permission. How is this situation different from if it was your home network and files, and you granted access to some of the content to a friend under certain terms? And then your friend copied everything and started putting it out on the web, contrary to your stated wishes? The government's persecution of Swartz was flagrantly over the top and it had tragic results, but these were NOT hard rules or regulations to understand. It's common sense, not "contradictory rules". Where the flaws exist are is in the outrageous punishments for breaking them.

MIT is not innocent, but they did sign contracts they were obliged to uphold. Likewise for JSTOR, who signed contracts with the copyright holders. They had to do something, and they did. And then Swartz circumvented those efforts. What were they supposed to do? Give up, sit back, and let it happen? I mean, seriously. They tried to stop him with technical solutions. He found ways around it including going into unauthorized locations. What next? Legal solutions. Unfortunately that unleashed the government.

I have a *lot* of sympathy for Swartz's cause, and I have even more for him because of how the government abused the situation and tried to make him agree to ridiculous plea bargains over something so small. The magnitude of the punishments for breaking these laws are wrong. But if you think Swartz did nothing wrong himself then you don't have a balanced view of the situation.

I know people won't like hearing this, but think about the situation if these were your files on your network and someone did this without your permission. What would you do if you were unsuccessful with technical solutions?

Re:Help an uneducated (1)

pellik (193063) | about a year ago | (#44553685)

Haven't you been paying attention at all here? It was PUBLIC DOMAIN material. He did not violate copyright, he merely exceeded/broke the ToS in downloading all of it instead of tiny bits. He broke a wall between the public and things that belong to the public already.

Besides, most states have laws ensuring property owners have access to their property. That's why you can't keep the power company off your land when they want to read your meter. Why can't that apply here, too?

Re:Help an uneducated (1)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44553961)

Hmm... I had heard the documents were in the public domain, but MIT charged 10 cents a page to see them. Swartz wanted to make the public domain documents publicly available on the internet and not blocked by MIT's ivy wall and MIT went to find out what could be done to stop it. Someone (not sure who, prosecutors or the United States government) suggested using CFAA, which essentially makes terms of service a binding contract, and making these documents available on the internet violated that contract. They also got him for wire fraud, a provision put in for ATMs back when modems were considered a new technology, since he was stealing "financial transactions" that MIT could have made for these documents.

Swartz same as NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551817)

Just because I let you in my house, and let you see my possessions, doesn't give you permission to break in and setup a camera to monitor everything in my house.

Of course since you don't have a problem with Swartz's behavior, I guess you don't have a problem with the NSA surveillance either. Both are exactly the same, accessing files they have no business accessing.

Re:Swartz same as NSA (1)

Creepy (93888) | about a year ago | (#44554037)

This is more like you having the complete works of William Shakespeare including four previously unknown plays and I happened to see it and quickly copy it taking phone snapshots of each page for the benefit of the public and then you accused me of stealing it and having me arrested for it. I didn't actually take anything from you, and the document was in the public domain, just not freely available.

The only way to get the NSA off your back (4, Interesting)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#44550791)

is to die.

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44550981)

(or fake your own dead!!) ... damn, know i have to kill you... and use your body to fake my own dead... again!

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (1)

borl (586949) | about a year ago | (#44550987)

...and that's when the RIAA begin their court proceedings!

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (1)

kav2k (1545689) | about a year ago | (#44551039)

Don't be so sure. You may still be a valuable link on another person's web of contacts, so information collected about you will still be extensively mined.

I guess, with even more impunity. Are dead people protected by the Fourth?

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551249)

You think so?
You may hope that it is true but the Government has, many times, found "co-conspirators" and persecuted them also.
-- family members
-- associates
-- colleagues
-- someone with a 2,500 mile radius of the dead person
The USA Federal Government is a morally and legally corrupt organization and refuses to live under its own laws.

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44551705)

This case does not involve the NSA.

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44551779)

yet

Re:The only way to get the NSA off your back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552511)

as far as YOU know

Re: The only way to get the NSA off your back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552637)

We don't know if "parallel construction" was used. It's impossible to tell if the NSA was involved. Don't tell us that would be illegal, we know.

Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551123)

When completely clueless about technology, seize every object on the premises.

I mean...Applecare ? Manuals ? Adapters ? How are these "evidence" ?

Re:Evidence (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44551633)

Generally the officers making arrests or searching homes are not trained computer forensics experts, so they can't be expected to know what is and isn't of potential interest. The policy then is to just take everything vaguely computer-related just in case, and have the specialists back at the station look at it all to find the real evidence.

Plus is can financially and personally cripple the suspect, applying more pressure for them to agree to a plea bargain. Prosecutors love that bit.

Redacted? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551163)

Um, the whole fucking point is to release the information that could and should cause harm to JSTOR and MIT.

Oh, it's been redacted. Must be nice to not be one of the peasants like us.

AC

Re:Redacted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551185)

"Mistakes were made" Great. Who made them? Do they get to suffer for them? Oo, no, we will just quietly erase that. Yea unto the 7th generation.

AC

Nobody cares about this suicidal loser (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551205)

Really tired of all the Aaron Swartz stories, it got old months ago.

Re:Nobody cares about this suicidal loser (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44551485)

Really tired of all the Aaron Swartz stories, it got old months ago.

Really tired of some people whining about all the Aaron Swartz stories. If you're not interested, don't read them. I am interested because this is an important ongoing story, and this article does contain new information.

Feds had good reason to be investigating (2)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44551267)

The first batch reveals that the Feds had indeed been looking into Swartz since the publication of his 2008 'Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,'

While I appreciate his point of view. He wrote a manifesto specifically desiring to persuade people to break the law, and implying that he had.

It's impressive and scary that the feds discovered and interpreted this manifesto --- I would of thought it beyond their level of intelligence to be capable of understanding it.

But it's not surprising or wrong, that he was to be investigated for publishing something so explicitly begging people to break the law and essentially confessing to copyright breaking.

Expressing such a message is sure to get you extra scrutiny -- that's the way the world works.

Everything you do after publishing such a document, and anyone anybody can find you've done in the past -- better be on the up-and-up, or you risk arrest.

And you better be prepared to be found guilty, too; maybe, even if the charges were bogus and contrived by our dark overlords to suppress the throes of rebellion.

Re:Feds had good reason to be investigating (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44551487)

I would of thought...

As you're apparently unaware of the difference between "of" and "have," I wouldn't go making fun of the intellect of others...

Re:Feds had good reason to be investigating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552223)

Because we all know that perfect spelling is a sign of great intelligence! Get a f*cking clue.

obquote (1)

xiphmont (80732) | about a year ago | (#44553493)

"It is a damn poor mind indeed which can't think of at least two ways to spell any word."
--Andrew Jackson

Re:Feds had good reason to be investigating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44553709)

Ah, what a great mind stuck in catatonic body, too bad no one will ever know the insights for lack of communication. Spelling and grammar, while not overtly important to the message, is the way to convey the amount of care and passion one has in any particular subject.

Re:Feds had good reason to be investigating (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44563105)

As you're apparently unaware of the difference between "of" and "have," I wouldn't go making fun of the intellect of others...

Are you claiming an ability to draft a 133 word comment on the first go, that nobody will ever claim there is an 'error' in?

Come try writing your comment in my native Basque or Ainu (Japanese).

If you claim your writing is deemed error-free by everyone; then you are not taking on enough challenges, which is intellectually tragic.

Re:Feds had good reason to be investigating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44556627)

good reason or not i have a feeling that the rest of the world has just about had it with us.

Re:Feds had good reason to be investigating (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#44570229)

good reason or not i have a feeling that the rest of the world has just about had it with us.

The whole world has a lot to learn; including the US, and including the rest of the world that is not the US.

Anyways; it doesn't matter other country's opinions about how the US handles its internal affairs.

The US is sovereign. If they want to abolish free speech; and prefer copyright.... It would be very disappointing and contrary to their founding ideals ---- however, it would be their rights to do so as a sovereign nation.

And the "rest of the world" could be fed up with it all they want; short of war, it's outside their rights or ability to interfere with internal governance of another country.

Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44552889)

Court cases aside, Swartz and the NSA are both the same to me. They both access other people files, which are none of their business, while claiming moral superiority.

The difference is Swartz had to actually break into a phone closet to do it, and the NSA uses FISA warrants and collusion to do it.

But they're both guilty of arrogance in deciding they' have more right to decide what happens to other people information than the actual owners.

Stephen Heymann & Carmen Ortiz (3)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year ago | (#44554337)

Why are these two still employed by the U.S. Government? Ortiz and Hyemann need to pay for their misconduct in this case, preferably by being disbarred for life, and at the least with their careers as U.S. Attorneys. That they are allowed to continue working for the so-called United States Department of Justice is one more indictation of the disfunction and failure of America's legal system.

The OP is false. (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#44554791)

THE OP says that the FBI was looking at Schwartz since 2008 b/c of his manifesto. If you follow the link, it refers you to Wired. The Wired article does not say this. It says they were going to use that 2008 manifesto against him when they prosecuted him.

If I am mistaken on this, please link me, but I don't think I am.

It's a big diff. In one case the feds are building a (pathetic) case. In the other one, the feds are starting to track people for exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

Maybe they do. They have in the past. But this is not an instance of it.

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