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View Diary: What Aaron Swartz did at MIT (53 comments)

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  •  No. That's why some are calling this (1+ / 0-)
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    bullying - to try to distort the situation. Prosecuting someone for committing a crime is of course not bullying.

    •  Distortion? (1+ / 0-)
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      Bob Love

      In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge. And so as wrong and misguided and fucking sad as this is, I get how the prospect of this fight, defenseless, made it make sense to this brilliant but troubled boy to end it.
      To say that the DOJ's treatment of Swartz was excessive and vindictive is an extreme understatement. When I wrote about Swartz's plight last August, I wrote that he was "being prosecuted by the DOJ with obscene over-zealousness". Timothy Lee wrote the definitive article in 2011 explaining why, even if all the allegations in the indictment are true, the only real crime committed by Swartz was basic trespassing, for which people are punished, at most, with 30 days in jail and a $100 fine, about which Lee wrote: "That seems about right: if he's going to serve prison time, it should be measured in days rather than years."

      Nobody knows for sure why federal prosecutors decided to pursue Swartz so vindictively, as though he had committed some sort of major crime that deserved many years in prison and financial ruin. Some theorized that the DOJ hated him for his serial activism and civil disobedience. Others speculated that, as Doctorow put it, "the feds were chasing down all the Cambridge hackers who had any connection to Bradley Manning in the hopes of turning one of them."

    •  Bullying vs. prosecution (0+ / 0-)

      And if the crime that Mr. Swartz did warranted a 35 year sentence, then I would say that it was just.  However, 35 years for what he did is using the law as a tool of intimidation, not as a tool for justice.  Using something for intimidation is not prosecuting a crime, it is acting like a bully.

      However, the problem here is not just prosecutor overreach.  The problem is also that the laws that cover cybercrime are less like the sword and more like a blunt instrument because lawmakers do not always understand how computers and the people who use them work.

      Did the AUSA conduct themselves like a bully?  Looks that way, but their job is not to interpret the law, their job is to prosecute.  So if it's not the lawyer but the law, then the law needs to be clarified.

      "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." -- Frank Zappa

      by SaintDharma32 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:53:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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