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Feds Add 9 Felony Charges Against Swartz For JSTOR Hack 252

Posted by Soulskill
from the seeing-what-sticks dept.
Last year Aaron Swartz was indicted on four felony counts for allegedly stealing millions of academic journal articles from JSTOR. Today, Federal prosecutors piled on nine additional felony charges. The charges (PDF) are mostly covered under the 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and are likely to test the legislation's limits. According to Wired, "The indictment accuses Swartz of repeatedly spoofing the MAC address — an identifier that is usually static — of his computer after MIT blocked his computer based on that number. The grand jury indictment also notes that Swartz didn't provide a real e-mail address when registering on the network. Swartz also allegedly snuck an Acer laptop bought just for the downloading into a closet at MIT in order to get a persistent connection to the network. Swartz allegedly hid his face from surveillance cameras by holding his bike helmet up to his face and looking through the ventilation holes when going in to swap out an external drive used to store the documents. Swartz also allegedly named his guest account 'Gary Host,' with the nickname 'Ghost.'"
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Feds Add 9 Felony Charges Against Swartz For JSTOR Hack

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  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @08:18PM (#41381613) Homepage
    Spoofing a MAC address is not illegal ..
  • Re:So what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @08:26PM (#41381667)

    Interestingly enough, I didn't see any of these things listed as crimes on the actual indictment. That used words more like "Unlawfully Obtaining Information from a Protected Computer" and "Wire Fraud".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @08:29PM (#41381691)

    It is if you're doing it to gain access to a computer that otherwise doesn't want you accessing it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @09:56PM (#41382361)

    Youll also note we dont have a "hooliganism" law.

    We just call it disorderly conduct.

  • by decora (1710862) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:31PM (#41382561) Journal

    please read the JSTOR book, there is the whole history of how they started their operation and what and how it works.

    essentially they were google books before google books. they were the first. and they are a Non-Profit entity.

    the problems they ran into were massive - old paper collections of journals are riddled with missing issues, damaged pages, scribbled notes, misprints, etc. they actually had to create their own paper-library where they store 'canonical' versions of the old journals, which scholars pore over, page by page, before being allowed into the collection.

    then they send the paper to the Dominican Republic or other low cost labor nations to get it scanned. Then they go and review the scans to make sure they are accurate.

    they dont 'prevent worldwide dissemination', they actually provide it. they give a sliding scale of subscription prices to libraries around the world, including lower prices for developing countries (maybe even free, i cant remember). there are literally millions of people who could never access this stuff if not for JSTOR.

    the problem is that they have to deal with copyright law responsibly or the publishers will crush them out of existence. they are not google, they cant just rely on the DMCA to get them out of hot water. Remember these guys started in the 90s, before Google was even really a company. They were around in the time of mp3.com --- when a single threat of a lawsuit could wipe out an entire community and valuable web resource for doing stuff that was perfectly legal. IIRC there wasn't even really a DMCA infrastructure working back then. They have to do everything 'by the book'. They cannot, for example, just pull a google and "scan first ask questions later". They would never have existed in the first place if they had that philosophy.

    Now you can argue, why arent our taxpayer funded institutions providing free access to this for everyone? Good question. Why should you have to go into a library to use JSTOR? Well, it's not really up to JSTOR, it's up to the copyright holders and the US legal system. So instead of shitting all over JSTOR, please go shit all over Elsevier and the rest of the corrupted, conflicted academic publishing world.

    JSTOR are relatively good guys. They are not the ones suing this kid, the Attorney General is.

  • by decora (1710862) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:34PM (#41382579) Journal

    JSTOR would probably love to give universal access to everyone. they love revenue because it helps them conitnue their mission, expand their collection, hire more researchers and librarians, etc. they dont control the material though. they have to act super nice and kiss a lot of ass to get what they get already. Elsevier, and others, would love to crush JSTOR like a bug.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @10:45PM (#41382667) Journal

    Youll also note we dont have a "hooliganism" law.

    Breaching/Disturbing the Peace is the catchall law that applies to any kind of "hooliganism"
    It came over to America with the colonists and was a common law in England for hundreds of years before that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 18, 2012 @11:34PM (#41382905)

    They were acquired by a "new york city non-profit" (e.g. a social club/tax shelter more than a charity) some time back and they're now run by some ex-football player. All of their top staff takes home enormous pay (E.g. >500k/yr). It's disingenuous to call it a charity, though it technically is.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @03:03AM (#41383877) Journal

    Uhhh...the girls that went into a store and one of them jammed a chicken up her pussy? Oh and that drew a giant dick...no that would actually be doing SOMETHING, in actuality they stood around while some guy drew a giant dick on a bridge so when it raised the bridge got a hard on..THAT pussy riot?

    Look I think the moron frankly shouldn't have gotten more than a standard B&E and tresspassing but the PR girls are just that...PR whores that tried dumbass stunt after dumbass stunt trying to get anybody to give a fuck about them.

    So lets not treat the publicity whores like they were some freedom fighters okay?

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