Co-founder of Reddit charged with stealing data from MIT

One of the co-founders of the popular web site Reddit has been charged with stealing millions of documents from computer archives at MIT and at JSTOR. The Boston Globe web site reports that 24 year old, Aaron Swartz, was charged today by Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. The charges include "wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer." Swartz turned himself in to authorities and is now currently out on $100,000 bail.

Swartz is accused of breaking into a computer wiring closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then allegedly accessed MIT's computer network via a connection in the wiring closet. He then allegedly stole millions of documents from the JSTOR scientific and academic archive. The US Attorney accuses Swartz of trying to distribute those documents to a number of file sharing services. In a statement Ortiz said, "Stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data, or dollars."

In addition to being one of the co-founders of the Reddit user generated news web site, Swartz is also the founder of Demand Progress, a political action organization. In a statement, Demand Progress claims that Swartz had made some kind of settlement deal with MIT before the US Attorney's office came in to charge Swartz. Demand Progress' executive director David Segal stated, "It’s even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute." If convicted of the charges, Swartz could face up to 35 years in prison.

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19 Comments

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He's not even the co-founder of reddit. It's even been tweeted by the founders of reddit that Aaron is not a co founder in any way. Rofl, fail.

bdsams said,
His own website says that he co-founded it: http://www.aaronsw.com/

http://gizmodo.com/5822681/for...yee-charged-with-data-theft

Well, the co-founders of Reddit say he didn't.

Many outlets are reporting that Swartz is a co-founder of Reddit which is untrue. When we reached Alexis Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit along with Steve Huffman, for comment, he stated:

He is absolutely not a founding member. We acquired his company in December, 6 months after Steve and I launched reddit.

Swartz worked for Reddit after his company was acquired but was relieved of his duties soon after.

You don't not charge someone with a crime just because both sides come to an agreement. Both sides agreeing stops Civil action, not criminal.

d4v1d05 said,

Next to where it says "Post comment" there's a button that says "Report a problem"...

Some people are too anal about grammar and spelling and I am not sure why? .. it is the idea and intromation that counts now the grammar and spelling as long as you can understand the word/sentence.

Now back to the article ... any cool docs we should be aware of ... looking at you anon ...

zeta_immersion said,
Now back to the article ... any cool docs we should be aware of ... looking at you anon ...
No. These aren't "MIT Documents," they are documents out of the JSTOR archive (presumably from the MIT network's local copy). It's just an electronic library of scientific and professional journals.

You can probably get access to it through the largest public library in your area, or if you're at school through your school's library. It's mainly for doing scholarly research.

zeta_immersion said,

Some people are too anal about grammar and spelling and I am not sure why? .. it is the idea and intromation that counts now the grammar and spelling as long as you can understand the word/sentence.

The idea and what? Listen, man only got to the top of the food chain by being able to communicate. If you replace "not" with a a word that has a completely different meaning, then you're going to confuse people and I won't understand you.

Braking and breaking are different words. This matters more when your job is to write for an audience.

zeta_immersion said,

Some people are too anal about grammar and spelling and I am not sure why? .. it is the idea and intromation that counts now the grammar and spelling as long as you can understand the word/sentence.

I think it is called attention to detail, and also pride in the language one is writing in, at the moment. One would almost have to take a moment and second guess what you meant by 'intromation'. Which may cause the flavor of what you were attempting to say, to be lost.

The internet has done many wonderful things. Having folks take ownership for their grammatical structure is not one of them. In this day and age, so much is either shipped off-country to be typed up and posted, or time to live is more important than taking a moment and being correct - in fact or structure.

Back to the thread... if he stole it, then he should be prosecuted/judged fully.

Dead_Monkey said,
No. These aren't "MIT Documents," they are documents out of the JSTOR archive (presumably from the MIT network's local copy). It's just an electronic library of scientific and professional journals.

You can probably get access to it through the largest public library in your area, or if you're at school through your school's library. It's mainly for doing scholarly research.


If that's the case, unless it can be proven that Swartz &/or a great relatively (few) people who expressed interest in those docs were planning to plagiarize or steal credit from the authors, THIS does not warant the involvement of the US Attorney's Office. It would should be handled as a simple robbery / burglary then... ;>