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View Diary: Aaron Swartz Was Going Home With a Slap On The Wrist. Then The Feds Got Involved (274 comments)

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  •  We need to drop the "hacking" meme (19+ / 0-)

    It is a fact that Aaron was given a guest password by MIT something that they have acknowledged. Nor does anyone need a username or password to use the site.


    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 01:38:23 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  And still, ... (0+ / 0-)

      he felt the need to hide his laptop (the one to which he downloaded the documents) and hide his face from surveillance cameras at MIT.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:25:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He still wasn't "hacking." n/t (6+ / 0-)


        "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
        TheStarsHollowGazette.com

        by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:31:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ask my neighbor and he was hacking. Preception (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, Neuroptimalian

          is what is reality.  

          •  We need to stop the perception (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eXtina, ek hornbeck

            by not repeating the lie. And it is a lie.  


            "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
            TheStarsHollowGazette.com

            by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:24:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Regardless of how you try to frame it, ... (0+ / 0-)

              he knowingly STOLE property (and not just one or two items, 2.8 MILLION pieces of it) that didn't belong to him in any way, shape, form or fashion.

              "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

              by Neuroptimalian on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:49:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Regardless of how you frame it he STOLE nothing (7+ / 0-)

                Downloading from JSTOR is like borrowing a book and he had legal access through with the password MIT gave him.  He borrowed too many and returned them. As far as JSTOR was concerned that was the end of it and  dropped their charges, encouraging MIT to so the same.  All Aaron did was violate JSTOR's TOS, somehow in your mind and these overzealous prosecutors, that rose to the level of a 13 count felony indictment.

                BTW, all of the material he accessed was provided to JSTOR for free and are actually public domain.  JSTOR has now released all those articles for free. That material belongs to ALL OF US and should have been free to everyone in the first place.


                "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
                TheStarsHollowGazette.com

                by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 08:18:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Even giving your argument ... (0+ / 0-)

                  the benefit of the doubt, Swartz "borrowed" material with the intent of making it available to others for free, thus robbing JSTOR of its rights to fees for providing a service.   And he only "returned" them after he was arrested, he didn't do it because of any attack of conscience.  If a bank robber, after arrest, returns money he stole, should the cops just drop the charges?

                  And, although I haven't looked into it, I have to believe your claim that Swartz had authorized access is false to some degree; that's just not believable given that he hid his laptop (and his face) on MIT's premises.  If he had legitimate access, he could have downloaded to his heart's content from his own home, no?  Not to mention the fact that the feds and state authorities would have had no basis for bringing any charges if no crimes were actually committed.  I don't know if this case was put to a grand jury (or two), but it's likely it was and that MANY people found grounds existed for an indictment to issue.

                  As to JSTOR, the material may have been provided to it without charge (again, assuming, arguendo, that what you claim is true), but JSTOR paid to make it available to the public ... and charged a fee to recoup those expenses, and eventually profit, which is the purpose of a business.  Whether or not the material SHOULD have been provided to the public for free by its authors, the authors did not make it available.  If they'd wanted to, they could all have made their work available through Scribd (and the like).  (That Scribd now charges for downloading just proves that no one is going to provide stuff for free forever; they wind up LOSING money if they do.)  I'd imagine that most of the information is also available through Google Scholar ... for free.

                  If Swartz' cause was so just, why didn't he just do what JSTOR did to obtain access to the documents and then provide them to the public for free himself?  It's clear that, in many regards, despite his "genius", he just didn't think things through.

                  "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                  by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:08:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  free academic articles (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheMomCat, shenderson, maryabein, eXtina

                available to any college student, which do not pay royalties to their authors.

                how the fuck do you call that theft with a straight face?

                •  Ask the Congressmen and women, ... (0+ / 0-)

                  and state legislators, why they drafted the laws that Swartz' was accused of violating.

                  "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                  by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:09:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  And I use encryption to send messages to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina, TheMomCat, mrkvica

        my partner.  I must be planning a crime!

        •  Yeah, that's definitely ... (0+ / 0-)

          an apples-to-apples comparison.  

          Actually, you encrypt your communications to keep other people from having access.  Hmmmm.  Maybe you should stop doing that if you don't want to be a hypocrite?

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:51:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Admittedly the term my not be accurate in the (0+ / 0-)

      world of internet geeks but to the vast majority of the population it's hacking. Everything from stealing credit card numbers, bringing down websites and taking over someone's identity is lumped into one term.  What Aaron did was a crime to most people and should have been punished.  The difference between distributing scholarly papers or shutting down a reactor is a very small.  Aaron's death and case has touch many people but not enough to make a difference.  Sure it will fire up the activists and grab some headlines but in reality not much else.  Anonymous scares a lot of people for example.  Any group that claims to hold the high ground and decides what should and not should be released is dangerous.  You can make the same argument against governments but at least there we have an illusion at least of some kind of answering to the people.

      •  That is absurd (6+ / 0-)
        The difference between distributing scholarly papers or shutting down a reactor is a very small.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:53:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And that is the problem (7+ / 0-)

        the continued misuse of a term that does not apply.  It is not of matter of "may not be accurate" in Aaron's case it is inaccurate. It is tantamount to spreading a lie and you know how that goes. Other than violating JSTOR's TOS, which hardly meets the test of a 13 count felony indictment, Aaron did nothing wrong. So just stop perpetuating the lie.

        As for Aaron's death, it seems to have had more impact than you may realize.

        The top lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday demanded a briefing from Justice Department officials about the prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who killed himself earlier this month.

        In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said there are "many questions" about how prosecutors handled the case.

        They demanded a briefing from DOJ officials by Monday, Feb. 4.

        As for Anonymous, they are fighting to preserve your freedom to access the internet. You might not agree with the tactic but I ask you this, would you have said the same about the Women's Suffrage movement, the march on Selma or the Viet Nam War protests? Essentially, it's all the same just a different era.


        "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013
        TheStarsHollowGazette.com

        by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:20:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well then, I guess you wouldn't have minded (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina

        if he had retaliated by causing several nuclear reactors to melt down.  After all, the difference between  distributing scholarly papers or shutting down a reactor is very small, right?  And downloading a bunch of movies via bittorrent is basically the same thing as going on a shooting rampage killing dozens of people as a nuclear meltdown would kill more people than a shooting rampage.  Therefore what Aaron did was worse than Sandy Hook and he deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison, right?

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:13:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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