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MIT to release documents related to Aaron Swartz case


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#1 COKid

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 22:02

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced it will release documents related to the prosecution of internet activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself in January.

He was accused of illegally downloading academic documents using MIT networks.

MIT president L Rafael Reif said in an email that university employees' names would be blacked out for their safety.

Lawyers for Mr Swartz's estate filed a motion in a US federal court last week, requesting the documents' release.

The documents will be released at the same time as the findings of an internal inquiry into the university's role in the case, led by computer science professor Hal Abelson.

Mr Reif wrote: "In the time since Aaron Swartz's suicide, we have seen a pattern of harassment and personal threats," .

"In this volatile atmosphere, I have the responsibility to protect the privacy and safety of those members of our community who have become involved in this matter in the course of doing their jobs for MIT, and to ensure a safe environment for all of us who call MIT home."

According to MIT, more than 70GB of data were downloaded from JStor, a subscription service for academic journals.

If convicted, Mr Swartz, 26, could have faced up to 35 years in prison and a fine of more than $1m (£630,000).

Mr Swartz's family says the actions of both MIT and the Massachusetts US Attorney's office contributed to his death.

"Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach," they said in an earlier statement.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk...nology-21862627


#2 Arceles

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 22:10

May he never be forgotten, after all he did it for Science... Science for all.

#3 +_Alexander

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:10

Why do Academic Journals need a subscription to access - if you aren't here to share with the world, why bother writing?

#4 +zhiVago

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:20

The guy is an example of why academic information must be free.

Why do Academic Journals need a subscription to access - if you aren't here to share with the world, why bother writing?


Because there are costs involved to print them and maintain those databases.

But the thing is that he actually had his subscription. He just didn't use the ordinary method to access the database like the rest of the students. He just went into the unlocked server room, plugged his comp, and downloaded lots of info much faster by running his own script.

So, Instead of getting more recognition, he was prosecuted for systematically "hacking" JSTOR, for his desire to be smarter basically.

However, that's the official story.

I personally think he became a nuisance for the authorities because of his activism and connection to Julian Assange.

#5 Growled

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:09

The guy is an example of why academic information must be free.


I agree but I don't see it happening though.

#6 articuno1au

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:56

The guy is an example of why academic information must be free.



Because there are costs involved to print them and maintain those databases.

But the thing is that he actually had his subscription. He just didn't use the ordinary method to access the database like the rest of the students. He just went into the unlocked server room, plugged his comp, and downloaded lots of info much faster by running his own script.

So, Instead of getting more recognition, he was prosecuted for systematically "hacking" JSTOR, for his desire to be smarter basically.

However, that's the official story.

I personally think he became a nuisance for the authorities because of his activism and connection to Julian Assange.

He spidered the database, the Admins locked him out via a number of different techniques, he continued to bypass them until they finally achieved a lock out; so he eventually plugged a device directly into a wiring cabinet used to house infrastructure.

He didn't petition to have free access, he entered by way of a system he wasn't meant to have access too.

Whilst I fully support what he did, failing to recognise that he wasn't entirely honest in the way he approached this is wrong..

Just because we think it's ethically right, doesn't mean he didn't do something wrong in the process >.>