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Aaron Swartz and MIT: The Inside Story

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the shades-of-gray dept.

News 106

An anonymous reader writes: "The Boston Globe has reviewed over 7,000 pages of documents from Aaron Swartz's court case, shedding light on the activities that got him in trouble and how MIT reacted to his case. Quoting: 'Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution's early reaction to the intruder's provocation. MIT, for example, knew for 2½ months which campus building the downloader had operated out of before anyone searched it for him or his laptop — even as the university told JSTOR they had no way to identify the interloper.

And once Swartz was unmasked, the ambivalence continued. MIT never encouraged Swartz's prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued. ... But a number of JSTOR's internal e-mails show a much angrier face in the months that Swartz eluded capture, with employees sharing frustration about MIT's "rather tepid level of concern." JSTOR officials repeatedly raised the prospect, among themselves, of going to the police, e-mails show."

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Translation (4, Insightful)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 6 months ago | (#46613839)

So MIT as a body did not care about Swartz, but some busy bodies did. I wonder if it is a part of their job description?

Alernate Translation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#46613971)

Bureaucracy is low intensity conflict, i.e. war. War is hell. Hell surely has a hellish bureaucracy.

Re:Alernate Translation (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#46615973)

"Bureaucracy is low intensity conflict, i.e. war."

No. Office politics are low intensity war.

Bureaucracy is a virus; existing only to grow and multiply at the expense of the host.

Re:Alernate Translation (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#46616685)

Not a bad analysis. I've also been on record as saying: "I bureaucracy is cancer, then let liberty be a plague."

Re: Translation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613979)

As a matter of fact, any support or encouragement of the educationally-deprived people of Palestine alerts the neo-con-neo-lib-spinmeisters and mobilizes their resources to ruthlessly stamp out anything which may upset the tables of their rigged business; from information (censorship), to the nuclear-fuel cycle. From banking, to IT support. Aaron knew, and stood against the barriers to educational opportunity. if he had visited Palestine, he would have stood against the APARTHEID WALL, as it obstructs study and research.

Re:Translation (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46614339)

some busy bodies

Beware the Little Eichmanns. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Translation (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#46616039)

"Beware the Little Eichmanns."

Indeed. I have often said that it doesn't take a genuine conspiracy in order to have the effect of a conspiracy. A group of wrong-headed individuals, acting entirely on their own, can really mess things up in a way that appears to outside observers as the result of a concerted effort.

Re:Translation (2, Informative)

hey! (33014) | about 6 months ago | (#46614503)

Well... I've seen MIT try to cope with problems. I've known people working at MIT try to get the Institute to do something about things that most of the people there care about. it's not a pretty picture.

The thing you may be missing about MIT is that it is a behaviorally rigid bureaucracy that swallows up and individual initiative and spits out ... nothing. Yes, I know that describes many higher education institutions, but I've worked with many such institutions, even as part of a non-profit that was supposed to help colleges and universities implement changes, and trust me, no matter how dysfunctional your institution is at responding to new situations, *MIT is probably worse*.

So when the Swartz became public, folks reactions were that MIT must be full of horrible, uncaring people. But that's not true. MIT has all kinds of people, and the kind of people like *you* are a much higher proportion of that population than in the general population. Imagine you are a caring, energetic person who goes to work at MIT... OK, maybe you don't know how to picture that. Imagine you are an agile fly darting around faster than the eye can follow. Then you land on this nice looking tree, and end up in this gooey sap-stuff. Now you get the picture.

Busybodies? MIT is an environment practically engineered to turn energetic, caring people into busybodies. If you're a person who wants to make a difference, you find yourself trapped in an endless well of inertia. So you do *what* you can, as *hard* as you can. And people who like to think of themselves as rational are as prone to rationalization as anyone else. Maybe more so.

It's still a great place, full of great people. People you'd like. But if you work there, you've got to learn to live in the moment, not in any plans you might have for the future.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614511)

> I wonder if it is a part of their job description?

Two things:

1.
Years ago, or rather, three decades ago there was a (fictional) column (*) here in Brazil about a guy who felt insecure and decided to hire a bodyguard to protect him. The scheme worked very well and the bodyguard was impressive -- almost like a hitman. The story ended up with the author complaining he was starting to fear the man he hired and asking for help on how to deal with the situation.

Moral of the story: a job description can kill you.

2.
Some 15 years ago a lady was under risk of being jailed because she stole medicine from a pharmacy. It was a poor lady with a sick daughter. The medicine was something simple like one for fever. Upon reading the news, one immediately felt embarrassed -- both because somehow the lady didn't manage to get help for her daughter and because the law was clearly not working as intended i.e. protecting good citizens from crime. It was actually making the life of a concerned mother way harder.

Moral of the story: someone will do things which you may find evil in your name; can you stop it from happening somehow?

(*) In Portuguese, we use the world "chronicle" in a different way; in English, it seems it must be about facts while the present case was clearly fictional. I used "story" for lack of a better word. The word "eventual", not used in the post, is another such case, as once taught to me by a friend.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616161)

Some 15 years ago a lady was under risk of being jailed because she stole medicine from a pharmacy. It was a poor lady with a sick daughter. The medicine was something simple like one for fever. Upon reading the news, one immediately felt embarrassed -- both because somehow the lady didn't manage to get help for her daughter and because the law was clearly not working as intended i.e. protecting good citizens from crime.

She was a thief. Thievery is a crime, no matter what her motivation. The law protected the pharmacy owner from a thief. She should have begged the pharmacy owner or others for help if she was poor, not steal.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618679)

> She was a thief. Thievery is a crime, no matter what her motivation. The law protected the pharmacy owner from a thief. She should have begged the pharmacy owner or others for help if she was poor, not steal.

That's one possible assessment.

The law itself (at least in my country, that is) has provisions for "famine thefts"; I agree she should have approached the owners and asked for help. Whether she was an introvert or already had negative answers elsewhere, the disease won't care about legal aspects and her daughter might be at risk. Being a father, I can certainly relate to what she probably felt.

My point is, in cases like that, we should not be machines, like Chaplin proposed in "The Great Dictator", but rather have a holistic view; we should be able to use the law and not become pawns who must perform some mechanical dance like the figures in a clock mechanism.

SILLY GLOBE CRAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618011)

Of course MIT had to care. Imagine you owned something, and some wack-o was messing with it, and you could be sued as a result. You'd care, or you'd be a fool.

      The alleged Globe "story" was just the same crap about a wack-o who had not one, but TWO run-ins with federal cops. He put the dumb in dumb-butt.

      He killed himself. That's on him, and no one else. Can't deal with, tough, there are 47,000,000 on food stamps and 21,000,000 unemployed/under-employed. Have bigger problems than this.

Re:Translation (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#46618417)

well, swartz was pissing on JSTOR's business model, not MIT's.

soo.. all the employees were pissed off that someone was threatening their milking cow.

Schwartz was a massive asshole. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613849)

I didn't know much about Schwartz apart from this case until I read his blog.

After reading that, I can't help but think that there's one massive asshole less in the world and the world is better for it.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (3, Insightful)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 6 months ago | (#46614101)

I agree in part and disagree in part. Swartz was not an asshole, he was however a moron, who let occupioer types convince him that just because you protest, you cannot be arrested for your protests. Which is just the opposite of what Martin Luther King said which is that if you break laws protesting an unjust law, you should gladly go to jail.

That said, let us remember that what Swartz did was download a bunch of papers describing research that was mostly paid for by the government, and that researches paid [1] to be published. The money used to pay to publish also mostly out of government money. Fact is that the system for publishing academic articles served us well for many years, but is now obsolete. The job could effectively done better by the government sponsoring e-journals, and would be much cheaper then the government is paying now, and be free to anyone with internet access.

The thing is that I believe the Boycott Elvesier movement has done more to promote the cause of publicly open journals then anything that Swartz did.

[1] Because I'm sure some idiot will come along and claim that Swartz was stealing from the authors of the papers.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (4, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | about 6 months ago | (#46614213)

Former researcher here:

a) while the System for publishing needs to be overhauled seriously (and thats happening all the time) it is by no way obsolete

b) while publication fees exist these are usually minor, and are quite low if you dont demand printing features (e.g. colored prints)

c) I think JSTOR fulfills a important role. Without such a organization, univerities would be forced to eat the shit of the publishers in a much bigger extend

d) Not acting on the illegal copying of a big database would undermine the attempts to open up the situation. Something which Aaron did is exactly what the publishers alsways fear.

e) The MIT acted correctly. If a business partner of mine is attacked in such a way on my network, i have the responsibility to clear the situation and secure evidence but no responsibility to press charges on my own.

f) I dont share the interpretation that he did not know what he was doing

g) Reasons for suicides are complex. The assertion that somebody is responsible for a suicide, since he was not 100% positive and supportive about an individual is not the right message, especially *not* in the light of preventing future suicides

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#46614245)

Reasons for suicides are complex

In this case it appears that one major factor was that his girlfriend was threatened and he seemed to think that suicide would take the pressure off her. Due to the fuss generated over his suicide he was correct and the threats of legal action against his girlfriend stopped.
Are you starting to see what sort of people were involved here? If they were petty criminals instead of lawyers or their agents acting like petty criminals they would probably be doing time for their actions.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614659)

b) while publication fees exist these are usually minor, and are quite low if you dont demand printing features (e.g. colored prints)

I think the objection is not to publication fees (minor, or free) but instead to access fees, which are typically US$30 per article. When a university (or research organisation, public body, company, etc...) negotiates access to a journal's backlog then the fees paid are a "good deal" compared to $30 a pop, but are still costing the university thousands and thousands of dollars.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46622595)

Former researcher here:

a) while the System for publishing needs to be overhauled seriously (and thats happening all the time) it is by no way obsolete

b) while publication fees exist these are usually minor, and are quite low if you dont demand printing features (e.g. colored prints)

c) I think JSTOR fulfills a important role. Without such a organization, univerities would be forced to eat the shit of the publishers in a much bigger extend

d) Not acting on the illegal copying of a big database would undermine the attempts to open up the situation. Something which Aaron did is exactly what the publishers alsways fear.

e) The MIT acted correctly. If a business partner of mine is attacked in such a way on my network, i have the responsibility to clear the situation and secure evidence but no responsibility to press charges on my own.

f) I dont share the interpretation that he did not know what he was doing

g) Reasons for suicides are complex. The assertion that somebody is responsible for a suicide, since he was not 100% positive and supportive about an individual is not the right message, especially *not* in the light of preventing future suicides

It's unconscionable for these papers to not be freely available to the public. It means we merely pay lip service to the idea of an educated and informed public. If we had the impetus, we would be able to consider a fair agreement by which publishers made works freely available and were paid for the effort.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (5, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614435)

> Swartz was not an asshole,

No, he was an asshole. The *scale and intensity* of his attempt to download and replicate *all* of JSTOR, including the indexing, was not only illegal in itself. Because of the amount of bandwidth he was using, he repeatedly crashed parts of JSTOR. That means that researchers and scholars woldwide lost access to a vital research tool. And as a response, and to protect the rest of the world's access, they finally had to cut off MIT's access. He was screwing with people doing medical research. People *die* because cutting edge research gets held back for bonehead reasons.

If Swartz had taken the single step of cutting the bandwidth he used by 75%, JSTOR wouldn't have kept crashing and had to punt MIT. And if he'd done it from his office at Harvard, *which had similar access to JSTOR*, there probably wouldn't have been a way to charge him, and it would be his employer's problem. Swartz was allowed on the MIT campus because of his Harvard ID, and his screw up has cast that whole reciprocal agreement between MIT and Harvard for library and campus access in doubt.

What Swartz did was not directly stealing from the authors of the research, it was making their research inaccessible while in progress. It screwed with the thesis writing of friends of mine, and interfered with research projects throughout MIT. Frankly, MIT should have been *much* more eager to help slap cuffs on this twit, but they're traditionally very, very slow to act against "cracking" because it's *embarrassing*, and the prosecutors inevitably fuck it up. Look into the David Lamacchia case about 10 years ago for an example

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 6 months ago | (#46615299)

Let's say it again: copying is not stealing. You keep using that word "steal" because... you're trying to strengthen your argument, which is that Swartz was a jerk?

To further this assertion that Swartz was a jerk, you say that he effectively did a Denial of Service attack, though you concede that it was probaly not intentional. Let's look at that charge a little more. If some high school kid crashes the school web server by repeatedly hitting F5, is the kid in the wrong? Or, maybe, you know, the people who set up the system did a bad job and as soon as a problem crops up, go on a witch hunt. JSTOR was not hit with a DDoS. Systems should be robust enough to handle requests in a fair fashion. Maybe the ability to handle a DDoS is asking too much, but this was a single user. Don't join the witch hunt!

Seems also that you are not thinking of JSTOR at all. Were they jerks? Absolutely! They should never have locked away all that research that we paid for. It should be freely available, perhaps in torrents. JSTOR's entire model is an offense to freedom and a slap in the face to us all. And they could have done a better job on the technical side, and made their service able to handle a more demanding load. It's not like we haven't done loads of research into operating systems and task scheduling. Why do you give JSTOR a free pass? They're as much or more at fault for your friends' difficulties in accessing research.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615433)

This argument is still a thing?

Look, there may be a specific legal term, but most people recognize these actions for what they are: a type of theft. So yes, stealing is a fine term to use, although not the most precise, because people generally understand stealing to be taking something without permission.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46616249)

Pretending "Copying is not stealing" is like pretending "no one can own the land". It ignores the last two thousand years of copyright law (dating back to the Irish "Cathach" document). I refer more to Swartz's abuse. He had legal access to the documents, He attempted to download and steal the _index_ by replicating the entire contents of JSTOR.

JSTOR was not hit with DDOS. The abusive download, its speed, and its fat bandwidth pipe did, indeed, create repeated Denial-of-Service, just not a "Distributed" one.If you persist in this belief that committing a DDOS or other disabling attacks is OK because they should have protected themselves better, then I suggest you follow the same reasoning and let people punch you in the head repeatedly, to demonstrate how it should have been OK because you should have protected yourself better. "Protecting yourself better" include, in the real world, contacting the client whose systems are attacking yours and getting them to stop it, or falling back on law enforcement if that fails.

JSTOR _does not lock away research_. Please discard that false and confusing description of JSTOR. JSTOR is a compromise between scientific journals, which are very expensive to run and often charge outrageous subscription fees for a a very small number of subscriptions, and public access which would be _impossible_ with so many journals and no organization of their contents and references, and no infrastructure to keep websites running and backups made and organizers paid. JSTOR organizes and makes the data available. They do _not_ lock it away to be lost and unused, they do _not_ add copyrights, and they're very generous in their licensing costs to get the organized journal data into the hands of whoever wants it or needs it.

JSTOR is doing what a responsible non-profit or, indeed, any dedicated librarian would do. They've vastly _improved_ access to it, not reduced it, and deserve support and credit for it. They don't deserve some kid using the free printer, copying out all the books, and putting them up in their own "free library".

Schwartz was a hero (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 6 months ago | (#46616771)

Vandalism, arson, speeding, blasphemy, slander, theft, fraud, and copying are all different. None of these should be lumped together as somehow different forms of stealing, not even fraud, vandalism or copying. While the goal of most fraud may be theft, it isn't always. Money is not the only thing that can be forged. So can driver's licenses and identification papers. Throwing a brick through your window is not stealing, it is vandalism. You lost a window, and no one gained it, whereas copying is the other way around. Someone gains something and you lose nothing. Nor should all of these be crimes. Blasphemy is no longer a crriminal act in much of the world. And what have you to say about the distinction between the material and the immaterial? These different things should have different legal treatment.

I did not say a DDoS was okay. I said that what could seem to be a DoS (with one 'D') should be okay. The principle is that any use that is easily handled by a good system should not be regarded as bad. If the system is poor and can't handle some usage that could be handled by a known better system within reason, that is the fault of the system, not the usage.

scientific journals ... are very expensive to run

No. Journals are no longer expensive to run. Neither the authors nor the reviewers receive any compensation from the publishers. Distribution, except for the obsolete dead tree kind, is now so cheap as to be close to zero cost. The publishers have sunk to being lowly, rent seeking gatekeepers who contribute no value.

often charge outrageous subscription fees

I agree, and am glad you also see their fees as outrageous.

public access which would be _impossible_ with so many journals and no organization of their contents and references, and no infrastructure to keep websites running and backups made

Those are jobs for our public libraries.

Re:Schwartz was a hero (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46617193)

> Vandalism, arson, speeding, blasphemy, slander, theft, fraud, and copying are all different.

Yes, and the laws that govern copyright violation are linked to those of theft, in theft. Please, don't pretend "copying is not theft" and that that somehow covers this case when the law is pretty clear that it _was_ theft, due to its scale.

> No. Journals are no longer expensive to run. Neither the authors nor the reviewers receive any compensation from the publishers.

Again, nonsense. They're reasonably cheap to _print_, although electronic publication has helped that a lot. They're expensive to pay the experts and reviewers that provide the analysis and editing that make these journals useful, and there are real costs with the layout and getting the often badly formatted original documents into a printable format. And some reviewers _do_ get paid, it has become part of the "fast track" to publication to get an article reviewed and published early.

There are fascinating articles about this, such as http://www.nature.com/news/ope... [nature.com] , and we're seeing open access journals springing. But stealing complete copies of all journals, and the indexes and cross references from JSTOR just exacerbates the problem and discredits the "information should be free" community. And yes, the charges included "theft".

>> public access which would be _impossible_ with so many journals and no organization of their contents and references, and no infrastructure to keep websites running and backups made

> Those are jobs for our public libraries.

The job is too big for libraries smaller than the Library of Congress or perhaps the British Library, or some other international institution. The Library of Congress _might_ be able to do it, if they were funded for it. But it would be taking on a job that JSTOR is already doing, as a _private_ library service and quite reasonable charges. Why should a federal agency take on a job that is being done reasonably well by private industry? And which federal program are you going to give up to fund it with?

Re:Schwartz was a hero (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 6 months ago | (#46617509)

I'm not pretending, I'm saying, right out, that copying is not stealing. Some kinds of copying are illegal. Some kinds of copying may be immoral or unethical or unfair regardless of legality. But copying is not stealing.

But we are at an impasse. If we can't agree on whether copying is or is not theft, and why, then further discussion is pointless. I think years from now, the public will embrace sharing as a natural right, and we will devise other ways to compensate artists and scientists. Trying to control copying, in order to fairly compensate creators, isn't working. Surely we can find and use some other means. That's what the debate is really about.

Re:Schwartz was a hero (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46617973)

> Trying to control copying, in order to fairly compensate creators, isn't working. Surely we can find and use some other means. That's what the debate is really about.

It is working. An enormous number of artists, and authors, are making a living this way and the public is getting access to those works at prices they can tolerate.

It's not working very _well_, which is a different issues.

Re:Schwartz was a hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618693)

... and the public is getting access to those works at prices they can tolerate. ...

That statement would still be true even if reading one of Shakespeare's works once and only once cost one million dollars.

There's a term for statements like this. I think it's... Tautology?

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 6 months ago | (#46620391)

> If you persist in this belief that committing a DDOS or other disabling attacks is OK

Judging from your Slashdot ID, both you, and I, then, have participated in many actions which you seem to consider DDoS attacks --- namely, Slashdottings. I wonder if you'd be OK, then, that you should be charged with felonies for each and every one of those actions? Oh, I forgot --- you don't have to worry --- you're not someone who has a public presence so that convicting you could be politically worthwhile.

As for JSTOR, I find it telling that somehow, suddenly, they decided that it wouldn't ruin their business model if they made access free to the 6% of their database which anyway was in the public domain. They're not Elsevier, for sure, but it sure seems that Swartz did accomplish forcing JSTOR to reconsider what might be better for society, yet still OK to enable their non-profit business to continue running.

copying is stealing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616679)

I can do this too:
"Let's say it again: copying *IS* stealing." And I say that as a photographer. And programmer. just because you put it in bold, it doesn't make your sentence a truth.

Re:copying is stealing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618701)

I can do this too:
"Let's say it again: copying *IS* stealing." And I say that as a photographer. And programmer. just because you put it in bold, it doesn't make your sentence a truth.

So, when you steal a stylistic flourish, angle, or technique from another better photographer or programmer, and yes we all know you do do this.

Not only have you copied, for example the quick sort algorithm, or the techniques of shooting the sunset.

The originator of these, since we know that copying is stealing and when you steal something from somebody they no longer have it, no longer has these things.

Right?

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

droptone (798379) | about 6 months ago | (#46615419)

. That means that researchers and scholars woldwide lost access to a vital research tool. And as a response, and to protect the rest of the world's access, they finally had to cut off MIT's access. He was screwing with people doing medical research. People *die* because cutting edge research gets held back for bonehead reasons.

If we're being precise, JSTOR is mostly a database of humanities journals. If we were talking about Web of Science or Scopus, then sure, perhaps that could've occurred. Even if it were a biomedical oriented database, very, very, very rarely will any doctor involved in point of care service try to find a journal article on anything. They will largely be using point of care oriented databases like Clinical Key which provide actionable information rather than benign background which isn't altogether relevant to a particular patient's needs.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

elvis the frog (580312) | about 6 months ago | (#46615685)

JSTOR, not Swartz, cut off access: "MIT was harmed in the process, Grimson said, with 10,000 researchers denied an important resource for several days as JSTOR sought to cut off the mass downloading."

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46616645)

JSTOR, not Swartz, cut off access: "MIT was harmed in the process, Grimson said, with 10,000 researchers denied an important resource for several days as JSTOR sought to cut off the mass downloading."

Standard authoritarian tactic -- follow the chain of cause and effect back to the party you want to blame, then stop.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46616117)

> If we're being precise, JSTOR is mostly a database of humanities journals.

From JSTOR's own front page information, you're quite correct. But look closely:

        Area Studies (602 titles)
        Arts (1600 titles)
        Business and Economics (2048 titles)
        History (7834 titles)
        Humanities (8043 titles)

        Law (817 titles)
        Medicine and Allied Health (688 titles)
        Science and Mathematics (3025 titles)
        Social Sciences (11255 titles)

While you're quite correct that it's mostly humanities journals, the medicine journals are a critical research tool, as are the math and science journals. So called "harder" sciences tend to publish less than the humanities, but what they do publish is quite critical to further research. JSTOR is an especially useful resource for cross-correlating research that touches multiple fields and which your local university or research library may not be able to afford the journals for.

Re: Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615701)

You'd do well to calm your emotions and look at the issue with a higher level of intelligence. Swartz had possibly committed a crime, because the university's access policy is open this point isn't completely clear. The issue is that the prosecutor's office persued him overzealously and that our justice system is setup to both allow and encourage this behavior.

From the article:
âoeThere was such rigidity with the people we were dealing with,â Peters said. âoeI couldnâ(TM)t find anyone in that office to talk about proportionality and humanity. It was driven by a desire to turn this into a significant case, so that some prosecutor could put it in his portfolio.â

And to your point about access being cut off for days. This would have been an inconvenience but ultimately not a big deal. There's an access agreement between MIT and nearby Harvard for one. Another is that much time is spent experimenting, the analysis takes time too but articles van be accessed and printed in bulk. It's not necessary to always have access. Furthermore the idea that loss of life could be at stake by limiting this access is preposterous. Many of these experiments in life sciences take a few years and many hypothesise prove false or murky.

Swartz I'm sure would have argued that this brief loss of access from MIT's campus was an acceptable inconvenience for the greater good.

Shit systems == Schwartz massive asshole???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615715)

The problem was not with Schwartz's use of the service. The problem was with badly designed systems. You can't fault Schwartz for that. Given the insane amount of money they make off selling the service to universities around the world you think they could have done a little bit better job designing it. For something that is in large part publicly accessible (ie your giving others access, just like you would say the pubic has access to private retail establishments) they should have taken steps to ensure it was stable and reasonably immune to attack.

what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616457)

Sounds like the college needs a new internet/network connection. Let's go ahead and blame it all on shitty infrastructure that colleges never seem to upgrade?

That sounds like the real problem here, if greedy colleges had internet connections that could load balance and handle the miniscule bandwidth someone would be alive.

People *die* because networks aren't upgraded.

Hey guys, let's watch trolls prattle their talking (1)

Rujiel (1632063) | about 6 months ago | (#46617235)

No one hates Aaron that fiercely. Your anger isn't convincing at all, but even so, I'm sure your masters are proud.

Re:Hey guys, let's watch trolls prattle their talk (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46618005)

Goodness. Logical fallacy much?

I don't hate the man. I didn't hate the man. I just don't think it's fair to lay any blame on JSTOR or MIT for defending themselves from his abuse, and it _was_ criminal abuse of their resources, even if you refuse to call copying documents theft. Simply _scaling back_ the bandwidth of his downloads would have avoided JSTOR's problems and MIT's eventual cooperation with a criminal investigation, and people at MIT or campus guests like Aaron could have done their research unhiindered.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46622741)

> Swartz was not an asshole,

No, he was an asshole. The *scale and intensity* of his attempt to download and replicate *all* of JSTOR, including the indexing, was not only illegal in itself. Because of the amount of bandwidth he was using, he repeatedly crashed parts of JSTOR. That means that researchers and scholars woldwide lost access to a vital research tool. And as a response, and to protect the rest of the world's access, they finally had to cut off MIT's access. He was screwing with people doing medical research. People *die* because cutting edge research gets held back for bonehead reasons.

If Swartz had taken the single step of cutting the bandwidth he used by 75%, JSTOR wouldn't have kept crashing and had to punt MIT. And if he'd done it from his office at Harvard, *which had similar access to JSTOR*, there probably wouldn't have been a way to charge him, and it would be his employer's problem. Swartz was allowed on the MIT campus because of his Harvard ID, and his screw up has cast that whole reciprocal agreement between MIT and Harvard for library and campus access in doubt.

What Swartz did was not directly stealing from the authors of the research, it was making their research inaccessible while in progress. It screwed with the thesis writing of friends of mine, and interfered with research projects throughout MIT. Frankly, MIT should have been *much* more eager to help slap cuffs on this twit, but they're traditionally very, very slow to act against "cracking" because it's *embarrassing*, and the prosecutors inevitably fuck it up. Look into the David Lamacchia case about 10 years ago for an example

Unrelated (maybe not), JSTOR should have made all those papers freely available to the public.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 months ago | (#46614447)

Which is just the opposite of what Martin Luther King said which is that if you break laws protesting an unjust law, you should gladly go to jail.

He set up a laptop in a cabinet and downloaded files. The charges -- at best -- should have concerned interference with property. There have been MIT pranks which warranted more serious charges.

Instead Schwartz was faced with a 35 year sentence and the full weight of a Federal prosecution. It's as if Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and instead of a $10 fine, found herself charged under anti-terrorism legislation with a 15 year prison sentence for disobeying TSA regulations and a $10 million fine. In other words, a cruel and unusual punishment. Even Dr. King would have found it difficult to rally support in the face of that kind of state reaction to protest.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614745)

> It's as if Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, and instead of a $10 fine, found herself charged under anti-terrorism legislation with a 15 year prison sentence for disobeying TSA regulations

You forgot the part about "was welcomed on a *different bus* that didn't go to her home but which she decided to use to protect her own neighborhood bus, was welcomed on the other bus with a free transfer from her other bus pass, proceeded to *siphon off all the gas*, made the bus crash, and when kicked off the bus got on with a fake id and siphoned off the gas *again*, forcing the bus driver to stop picking up riders at that bus stop at all".

Aaron was not prosecuted for riding a bus in the wrong seat. He was prosecuted for stealing the gas, apparently to run a free bus company, and making the buses crash. Get your metaphors right.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

elvis the frog (580312) | about 6 months ago | (#46615699)

You failed your metaphor test yourself. Swartz didn't use anything but bandwidth that would have gone wasted otherwise. There is no real physical metaphor that makes sense. And it was JSTOR that cut off access, not Swartz: "MIT was harmed in the process, Grimson said, with 10,000 researchers denied an important resource for several days as JSTOR sought to cut off the mass downloading."

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46616087)

> Swartz didn't use anything but bandwidth that would have gone wasted otherwise.

No, he didn't use only "bandwidth that would have gone wasted otherwise", He overwhelmed the _JSTOR_ servers at least once, enough to crash some critical JSTOR services. That cut off access not just for MIT but for researchers worldwide. And the amount of bandwidth he was using slowed JSTOR significantly for MIT's students and researchers repeatedly in the months before he was arrested.

So no, he was blocking the service for other people.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46617175)

Rosa Parks was taking her life into her hands in doing what she did. She faced physical harm. Shame on you for even associating the two. Thankfully, February (Black history month) is long gone. You have an extremely romantic, rose-colored view of Aaron Scwartz.

Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation .. (1)

DTentilhao (3484023) | about 6 months ago | (#46614677)

"Swartz was not an asshole, he was however a moron, who let occupioer types convince him that just because you protest, you cannot be arrested for your protests", by MouseTheLuckyDog

"The prosecution of Aaron Swartz was motivated, in part, by the 2008 “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto [archive.org] ” the internet activist had penned advocating for civil disobedience against copyright law, Swartz’s attorney confirmed Friday." ref [wired.com]

"A reluctant witness's account of a Federal prosecution. If you haven't been following the case, start with the editor's note for context. ref [theatlantic.com]

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616015)

I am not speaking about the downloading at all.

I am speaking about what he wrote on his blog.

He was a myopic, offensive asshole.

Re:Schwartz was a massive asshole. (1)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46616439)

Which is just the opposite of what Martin Luther King said which is that if you break laws protesting an unjust law, you should gladly go to jail.

That tactic is out of date. The government has adapted to it. Now if you break laws protesting an unjust law, you are arrested and go to jail until your cause is long dead (or better yet, you are) and nobody even notices except a few unimportant true-believers.

^^^^ Wow, trolls like this are all over this threa (1)

Rujiel (1632063) | about 6 months ago | (#46616639)

Those trolls that Glenn Greenwald wrote about are trying to prevent Aaron from being martyred. "Convinced by some occupiers"? So you're trying to say teh evul OWS corrupted his pure heart? Please. On the other hand, you could say Aaron was inspired upon seeing occupiers help people who were illegally forclosed upon reclaim their homes. But you'd sooner subtly shit on a populist movement like OWS. Loaded, weasely words. Nice try, ttoll.

IDIOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618017)

Because I'm sure some idiot will come along and claim that Swartz was not stealing from the authors of the papers.

Which he was. Like Snowden screwed up and betrayed the USA, and deserves to hang.

The adjectve "restless" captures it (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 6 months ago | (#46616119)

I could not help thinking of 16-year old freshmen in my MIT class who committed suicide some decades ago. Before MIT he was the center of attention in his hometown for his brilliance. At MIT he was just another "average" genius hacker and not the center of attention.

I'm guessing when Aaron mastered some new project he got bored and moved on. Couldnt really complete a degree or product then. I am not sure to parent or manage these these kind of geniuses.

Re:The adjectve "restless" captures it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616285)

I'm guessing when Aaron mastered some new project he got bored and moved on. Couldnt really complete a degree or product then. I am not sure to parent or manage these these kind of geniuses.

Society sadly cannot handle such persons. In a better society such persons would be allowed to pursue things of interest to them with a potential benefit being the society could utilize some of the projects or ideas these persons created in pursuit of another challenge to which to apply their minds. In the real world these persons are largely marginalized or at the very least forced to try survive in the midst of a knuckle-dragging population. Something as trivial as office politics can adversely affect a genius or high-performing mind...the outcome might be depression, suicide, or a socio path in the making. Some people never fully recover, even decades later, their former high-performing mind once depression takes up residence. I speak from experience; now I prefer walks in the fields with my dogs, learning to play the classical guitar and violin, and generally avoiding negative situations.

nazi media pr desperados; beating a dead man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613863)

a really nice guy like many of us unchosen brotheruns as we are not known http://www.youtube.com/results... [youtube.com] no wonder creation & momkind are in a near tailspin?

He embarrassed Republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613875)

Expect them to murder him. They are pro-gun ownership thus pro-murder. This poor guy will not last past the night.

Re: He embarrassed Republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613893)

Who is the 'he' who embarrassed Rublicans and is going to get murdered? The only 'he' mentioned be name in the submission is Swartz who already committed suicide.

Re: He embarrassed Republicans... (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 6 months ago | (#46613925)

Where is the mod for 'duh'?

Re: He embarrassed Republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613985)

The Barack Ehud, Obaminator went on strike, again!

Whatever gets you elected for the office. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613883)

It was never about Aaron or JSTOR. It is how can some people fulfill their dreams on advancing their careers by throwing somebody 6 feet under.
Well job done, US prosecution.

Re:Whatever gets you elected for the office. (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 6 months ago | (#46613999)

The least that can be done is to expose the people who treated him so appallingly so we all know who they are

Re:Whatever gets you elected for the office. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614019)

It was never about Aaron or JSTOR. It is how can some people fulfill their dreams on advancing their careers by throwing somebody 6 feet under.
Well job done, US prosecution.

I do not understand the rationale for universities and researchers more particularly wanting to have their research locked behind pay-walled services such as JSTOR. I am a researcher in the area of forensics and thankfully I can usually obtain research papers and similar materials directly from the website of the university, college, or researcher. However, the notion of restricting access to research papers is abhorrent to science and the advancement/betterment of society and the world. The family of Aaron Swartz should due the Government of the United States of America and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specifically naming individuals. Whether we agree or disagree with Aaron's philosophy or acts is immaterial.

Re:Whatever gets you elected for the office. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614103)

I do not understand the rationale for universities and researchers more particularly wanting to have their research locked behind pay-walled services such as JSTOR.

No one wants their research hidden away in JSTOR. Neither university nor researcher gets any royalty from JSTOR publication. JSTOR is more aptly described as a necessary evil.

In the bad old days (before about 1995), academic publishing was mostly paper-based, with few if any electronic documents. As the publishing world transitioned to electronic distribution, few publishers saw any benefit in republishing their massive archives for the internet, and essentially nothing pre-1995 could be found online. Enter JSTOR, who obtained agreements with many publishers to scan and reprint that legacy content, complete with royalty fees. Essentially, JSTOR was the way to get electronic copies of most of the literature available, especially between, say 1995 and 2005.

It's 20 years later now, and the content that's exclusive to JSTOR has become that much more dated. Many of the better publishers have gone back and scanned their own libraries and make them available either as part of an extended subscription or completely free. There's still a lot of material exclusively available through JSTOR, so we keep paying their fees, but if there were another way to get that content, we'd also be happy to see JSTOR fade away

Re:Whatever gets you elected for the office. (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614501)

> I do not understand the rationale for universities and researchers more particularly wanting to have their research locked behind pay-walled services such as JSTOR

It's well indexed and cross referenced, reliably available, and has become the "one-stop" resource for research documents. That is _invaluable_ when looking for obscure documents or tying together research among multiple fields. JSTOR is getting paid, and not an outrageous amount, for that work. Some fool replicating their entire index and layout, as Aaron Swartz was clearly attempting, means that their income to continue the organization of the material dries up and will not be continued. And JSTOR subscriptions have been much more cost effective than Google searching or library searching for research documents.

It's the same reason newspapers or magazines put up paywalls: one has to pay the writers and editors, or in this case the indexers and the maintainers of the quite robust and effective back end. Good backups and failover facilities are not free, and JSTOR has been a reliable and invaluable resource. Aaron was threatening that by overwhelming and crashing the services. The documents are kept available much longer, and much more reliably, than a community driven or freeware service could hope to manage. JSTOR see themselves as librarians of knowledge, not as vendors of knowledge, and I applaud their efforts.

Blah Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46617963)

Yeah, no. JSTOR is not the one stop resource for research documents... not anymore at least.

Are you still using askjeeves and lycos too?

Re:Whatever gets you elected for the office. (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 months ago | (#46614341)

Not just any somebody. This particular somebody had been instrumental in organizing public opposition to the SOPA act. Schwartz was targeted by the Justice Department in a clear cut case of political suppression.

As we all know, the Department under Holder and Breuer has better things to do with their time(banks, guns, etc), but instead chose to politicize their offices instead of upholding justice.

Re:Whatever gets you elected for the office. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614541)

No, this was someone who'd been caught, repeatedly, doing marginally illegel or marginally legal bulk downloads of paid websites. Aaron's abuse of the PACER resources should have correctly led prosecutors that he'd pulled this sort of thing before and would continue doing so without an actual conviction.

onwords prosperitarian christian (dior) soldiers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613929)

if we follow the divine directions (fictional book of death & debt) to the letter (of credit) & get 'it' just right, we'll be provided with endless suffering followed by being fed to (3 legged viagrant) wild animals, then on to our eternal reward system... that's if we get it right

the wages of 'prosperity' is debt & death? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613951)

spiritual bankruptcy, bodies piling up prior to arrest etc... http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=banker+suicides&sm=3 not enough digits to go around?

Just Wowz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46613995)

Dude up and killz hizelf cuz some honcho in hiz mind wanted to rape him. The daming iz the dude hizelf. Musta had a nirvana epizode or two in that head of hiz. Some people want an end and if not thiz then something elze.

Re:Just Wowz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614029)

Apparently you've never faced the real possibility of time in prison especially for a minor offence, huh?

Re: Just Wowz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614049)

The prison-time theory has been debunked. He was looking at a couple slaps on the wrist. He was just fucked up in the head and when the real world called him out on his actions, he couldn't deal with it and killed himself. No big loss to the world.

Re: Just Wowz (1)

i.kazmi (977642) | about 6 months ago | (#46614073)

Debunked by whom?

too sad (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#46614137)

The whole story is just a damn shame.

I just hope there are some people who feel guilt about it.

Poor kid (1)

Myu (823582) | about 6 months ago | (#46614427)

I'm not sure that guilt is the right response. His father is probably feeling absolutely destroyed by this, and I don't think he needs to be dragged through the muck by people looking for someone to blame.

Kids like Aaron are probably all over the place - young people who think the only moral thing to do in the world is to try to steal from those with power because of how that power has been so abused by its bearers. I don't blame them for thinking that way, but it's really sad that there's nobody other than disenfranchised radicals to give them a sense that there might be a better world on the horizon.

Institutions like the universities have it in them to give people hope for the future. I hope they try to take this as a chance to explore why people want to take from them and look at how to broaden access to their research to make it more widely accessible, rather than just closing up shop and keeping everything behind the locked doors of the academy.

Re:Poor kid (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614585)

> because of how that power has been so abused by its bearers

Except that JSTOR abused _nothing_. They're a non-profit corporation. They did all the work to _organize_ the data and make it a 24x7 worldwide resource. Their rates are very reasonable, they had excellent sliding scales for poorer clients, and universities, laboratories, and libraries worldwide, and their clients were able to share those resources with the public. JSTOR is available in public libraries world wide, and they're a _model_ of how to run a non-profit business. They charge enough to keep the lights on and the backups running and people doing the programming to run the servers and indexes.

The universities _already do_ give hope for the future. Aaron's mis-aimed abuse of JSTOR was just that. Abuse.

Re:Poor kid (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#46615671)

I'm not sure that Aaron saw JSTOR as the enemy so much as the intellectual property laws governing research that have such distorting effect economically and politically.

Re:Poor kid (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 6 months ago | (#46616125)

Re:Poor kid (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#46616947)

"I also hope to keep a steady high".

Man, the '70s...

MIT Can fix this or go away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614205)

As someone who hires MIT grads and working with people looking to get in there, I know this is effecting the prestige of the university and not in a good way.

Re:MIT Can fix this or go away (1)

Myu (823582) | about 6 months ago | (#46614477)

For your own good, you might be wise to stay out of this one. In much of this debate the role of industry in determining who should and should not have access to certain empowering resources gated by the universities, for the sake of creating and managing a skilled workforce, is seriously contentious. To step in and attempt to use your power to force through certain changes risks a serious lose of customer and social confidence.

Re:MIT Can fix this or go away (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615209)

Zionists do have a lot of power in America but if you think you are going to destroy MIT over the death of one overprivileged kike, think again.

Why did he do it that way? (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 months ago | (#46614307)

I never really understood why Swartz felt he needed to break into a closet at MIT in order to download those journal articles. I am all in favor of information being freely available, but I don't agree with his choice of method.

Every public university I have been to thus far (and some private ones as well) has had public wifi that grants anyone on campus the ability to access all the digital journals that their library subscribes to. Unless MIT is different, he could have just used the wifi (or perhaps even public wired access in public places - I've seen that in libraries as well) to download the articles and then he never would have faced breaking and entering.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614337)

Where else could he have hidden his machine? It had to run for a long time.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46614463)

In his office at Harvard. He had legitimate JSTOR access there. The difficulty is that he needed _bandwidth_, and ideally to avoid detection on the routine network maps managed by IT staff, and to avoid the typical monitoring and proxy configurations found on most competently administered public wi-fi access points.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 6 months ago | (#46614989)

In his office at Harvard. He had legitimate JSTOR access there.

Precisely. Why enter a networking closet when you can just do the download from a place where you are already allowed to go?

The difficulty is that he needed _bandwidth_, and ideally to avoid detection on the routine network maps managed by IT staff

Was there a reason why those papers needed to be downloaded in such rapid succession? If he was able to get - for example - 20GB of papers in a day, what difference would it make if it took him a week instead? I can't find a solid argument for why he couldn't have done it without using the networking closet.

As for detection, if he was downloading papers that the school had access to, then detection should not have mattered. It is not unusual for grad students (for example) to download many GB worth of papers when writing or preparing their thesis; similarly people writing review articles for publication might need to download very large numbers of papers as well.

and to avoid the typical monitoring and proxy configurations found on most competently administered public wi-fi access points.

Even if the wi-fi throttled down his bandwidth for excessive usage (though an academic wi-fi should be set up more intelligently, only doing such things when the traffic is purely recreational rather than academic), he still could have obtained the data - it would have taken longer.

If all he wanted was academic journal articles - and I'll agree that they should have been free rather than paywalled - there was no good reason to use the networking closet. Hell if he's as smart as we make him out to be with regards to networking he could have either distributed his downloads across a number of systems to evade detection, or spoofed (IP and/or MAC) addresses, or a number of other things to do the same thing without having to physically go where he was not supposed to be.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46616301)

>> and to avoid the typical monitoring and proxy configurations found on most competently administered public wi-fi access points.

> Even if the wi-fi throttled down his bandwidth for excessive usage (though an academic wi-fi should be set up more intelligently, only doing such things when the traffic is purely recreational rather than academic), he still could have obtained the data - it would have taken longer.

The throttling would have shown up and been traceable to his wireless MAC address. And he needed a safe, reliable place to _store_ the laptop with the hard drives.

Few network admins exert the effort to monitor their ports inside their wiring closets very well: they tend to devote their monitoring to their network borders, and to their wi-fi routes because those are most likely to have attackers or abusers from outside your supported community. The articles seem to show that MIT follows this "don't implement security that you can avoid" model to their internal networks.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615841)

He did it at MIT instead of Harvard because he thought Harvard would boot him out if caught. He wasn't at MIT so he imagined that if he got caught he'd get at best a slap on the wrist. But more than likely he thought he'd be treated as a conquering hero.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (1)

nanoflower (1077145) | about 6 months ago | (#46616251)

He could have worked around that by downloading at a slower rate. If you are downloaded a lot at one time it's going to draw attention but if he downloaded at a slower rate (say an article every ten minutes) then it isn't likely to draw that much attention.

Re:Why did he do it that way? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 6 months ago | (#46616271)

An article every 10 minutes is slower than new articles appear at JSTOR. But I agree, he could have reduced the chance of detection by lowering his download rate. Even at MIT, if he'd lowered his download rate by 75% I don't think he'd have crashed JSTOR and they'd have pursued his abuse much less avidly: perhaps law enforcement would have never been involved at all.

Sinister Foreigners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614555)

"Sinister Foreigners".

There's a busybody who needs his (or her) shiny ass canned and shipped back to their trailer.

AC

What was JSTOR actually afraid would happen? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 6 months ago | (#46614653)

If JSTOR is disseminating public-domain papers and just charges the cost of hosting them for downloaders, what was it afraid that Swartz would actually do with the trove of downloaded papers? Had he gone set up his own database and website, it would have incurred costs similar to JSTOR, and so Swartz would have charge about the same to keep it running.

If Swartz' bulk downloading was crashing the site, why doesn't JSTOR just teergrube its download process. Imposing a one-second delay at the start of each downloaded paper would not be noticeable to the ordinary user, but would have prevented Swartz from overloading the system by downloading huge blocks of data at one time.

Re:What was JSTOR actually afraid would happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46619289)

Depending on the way you host the data, pay the employees, etc. you may be able to reduce the running costs and so provide a cheaper alternative to JSTOR

Jews are not above the law... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46614985)

yet. Deal with it, nerd.

Look, a horse! (1)

Tolkienfanatic (1111661) | about 6 months ago | (#46615005)

Let's beat it to death!

I can just imagine (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 6 months ago | (#46615163)

That the MIT IT people must have been frazzled about this. I've been in similar situations and my answer pretty much echoes theirs in that I too told them so.

But the case against the kid did i fact have several exploitable holes in it. That whole guest access thing. I've been in places where we've had to have public access. I made sure that the screws were torqued tight regarding security on those public machines. You could get on the web but you were blocked off from things the content manager didn't like, and you could print. That's it.

Several things to note: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615561)

Aaron Swartz committed civil disobedience by accessing and making available to the public, scientific journals the public had paid for. If they want private for-profit journals, then fine: don't accept any public money. That includes the schools. No public funding of any kind. Likewise, they don't get special tax rates of any kind. If its a money making venture, then make money, keep it private, but don't expect any breaks on taxes or get any public money. I don't mind people making all the money they want, but the thing that I don't like is those creeping vermin that take what is public, and then claim it to be private. If your are a public institution, if you accept public funding, if you accept research grants, then you work for the public, and they (and I) *DEMAND* to see and get what I paid for. I don't want to have to pay again. Its not *your* patent on *your* invention, I paid for it, and in the employee/employer world this is very common: since you work for me and I'm a member of the public, then the patent belongs to me and the rest of the public. Don't like the deal? Don't take the money. Don't work at a public institution: crawl into a cave and keep your achemy to yourself.

just kill everone involved from JSTOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46615725)

Currently they're sitting there with their smug authoritarian faces. A bullet to the head can end that for them. It would be hilarious.

MIT more sensistive to student legal problems (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 6 months ago | (#46616137)

I forget the exact details. but the feds were pursuing a a student startup company related to bitcoin. MIT decided to give some legal help to them and to future such problems. I think the Swartz case increased their sensitivity.

Almost as if Individuals Make Individual Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46616499)

I'm sure a number of them looked at the phenomenol jail time he faced and decided that was too extreme.

The Greatest Moment Of MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46618389)

The killing of Aaron Swartz was MIT's finest and greatest moment that It will ever achieve.

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  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>