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MIT Warned of a JSTOR Death Sentence Due To Swartz 390

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the stewards-of-knowledge-locked-safe-within-their-walls dept.
theodp writes "The NY Times takes a look at how MIT ensnared Aaron Swartz, but doesn't shed much light on how the incident became a Federal case with Secret Service involvement. Still, the article is interesting with its report that 'E-mails among M.I.T. officials that Tuesday in January 2011 highlight the pressures university officials felt' from JSTOR, which is generally viewed as a good guy in the incident. From the story: 'Ann J. Wolpert, the director of libraries, wrote to Ellen Finnie Duranceau, the official who was receiving JSTOR's complaints: "Has there ever been a situation similar to this when we brought in campus police? The magnitude, systematic and careful nature of the abuses could be construed as approaching criminal action. Certainly, that's how JSTOR views it."' Less than a week later, a Google search reveals, Duranceau notified the MIT community that immediate changes to JSTOR access had to be made lest the University be subjected to a JSTOR 'death sentence.' 'Because JSTOR has recently reported excessive, systematic downloading of articles at MIT,' the post warned, 'we need to add a new layer of access control. This is the only way to prevent recurrence of the abuse and therefore the only way to ensure ongoing access to this valuable resource for the MIT Community.' The post concludes, 'The incidents that prompted this change involved the use of a robot, which is prohibited by JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use. ...Continued access to JSTOR and other resources is dependent on the MIT Community complying with these policies.' Hope you enjoyed that freewheeling culture while it lasted, kids — now Everything is a Crime."
theodp continues " MIT's Wolpert, who was recently named to an advisory board for JSTOR parent Ithaka, also chairs the Management Board of the MIT Press, where her reports from 2008-2010 included JSTOR Managing Director Laura Brown and MIT's Hal Abelson, adding another twist to Abelson's analysis of MIT's involvement in the Swartz tragedy."
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MIT Warned of a JSTOR Death Sentence Due To Swartz

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  • What is this crap? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Garridan (597129) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:06AM (#42655161)
    Seriously? Death sentence? Yes. They used the words "death sentence" but it was for their access to JSTOR, not anything to do with Swartz. This is not news, this is grasping at straws.
    • by Coisiche (2000870) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:18AM (#42655197)

      Well it is news. The Swartz case has been a discussion topic here in previous articles and this provides a bit more insight into what drove it into becoming a criminal case in the first place; JSTOR pressure on MIT was probably the trigger for MIT's later actions.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:35AM (#42655491) Journal

      All they needed to do is change the focus to make it into a decent FA and being a nice guy allow me to do so:

      If MLK or any of the other freedom fighters of the 60s were to pull that same shit today they would have all their rights stripped away as EVERYTHING is a felony now.

      Now THAT should have been the focus of TFA, Go to some occupy protest? You end up on a list of possible terrorists and if you are arrested they will pile on as many charges as it takes to make it a felony. Go to some rally and hold up a little sign? Same thing, if the PTBs decide to break it up a good portion of your rights will be stripped away. Do you know how many homeless single mothers we have because of the "zero tolerance" crap they passed in the 90s?If you get busted for pretty much anything in many states including protesting you will end up being able to get ZERO help for the rest of your life, in fact a fucking illegal will have more help than you will, you'll have pretty much zero rights and the cops will fuck with you at will for the rest of your life. "do the crime do the time" simply no longer exists as its "Do a crime do a life sentence as a second class citizen"

      It was THIS kind of bullshit that killed the kid, not JSTOR or any other corp. Sure corps now have Godlike powers but those Godlike powers are granted them by a broken corrupted system that has turned into a giant revolving door with so much conflict of interest its not even funny.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:44AM (#42655519)

        It sometimes feels like Les Miserables comes to life.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          After watching Les Miserables recently I actually felt that this is the basis of our legal system. Nothing has evolved since then and we they didn't need big brother to destroy lives, now we have "the system" it's pretty much end game for any form of redemption from any past errors in life, disgusting.

          • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @03:06PM (#42659771) Journal

            The purpose of "everything is illegal" has been well-known for thousands of years -- nobody can do daily activities to keep themselves alive without kickbacks, and anyone uppity can be easily yanked.

            History should give no confidence whatsoever that democracy and freedom of speech have more than a minor impact on this. If anything, it can be worse in some ways since some of the lower-level officials don't feel themselves corrupt, but rather fancy themselves helpful, playing the position of useful idiot for higher officials who do take donations, legal or otherwise. "I'll sic this self-righteous regulator...unless a hefty ransom is paid?"

        • Les Miserables (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rmdingler (1955220) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:37AM (#42656063)
          Valjean's descent from peasant to yellow card carrying convict, after serving 14 years in the gallows for bread theft & repeated escape attempts, is an odd parallel at first glance. In reflection; Both Schwartz and Valjean intentionally broke the law of the land, both offenses seem rather petty to most of their peers, and both faced draconian punishments. Of course, one man was stealing food for his starving sister and the other gent was engaged in idealistic hactivism, but I can see how prosecutorial discretion has the ability to continue our society's descent to a place where being a felon is so ubiquitous it's no longer a Big Red F.
          • Anatole France quote (Score:5, Interesting)

            by fritsd (924429) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:15AM (#42656929) Journal
            a nice quote from the same time period, from Anatole France:

            "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." (Le Lys Rouge)

          • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @01:26PM (#42658515)

            but I can see how prosecutorial discretion has the ability to continue our society's descent to a place where being a felon is so ubiquitous it's no longer a Big Red F.

            Oh, don't worry, they'd never let it get watered down to that point. They'll make sure "felon" still makes people think they're horrible people. Kind of like how they label people "sex offender" for a ton of crimes that have nothing to do with sex, but most people would still see that as a mark of a pervert, rather than someone who got drunk and peed in public.

      • by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <plasticfish.info ... m ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:35AM (#42655731)

        You think this is any different now? You are aware that the FBI bugged MLK, aren't you? And that the guy who assassinated him likely had help from the Feds, don't you?

        Only the names have changed.

        • Well, sure, but the courts didn't send Mildred and Richard Loving [wikipedia.org] up the river, and they could have because the were both criminal lawbreakers as well as doubleplusungood crimethinkers.

          The FBI and COINTELPRO used to have to do their dirty work in secret, as covert ops.

      • by abirdman (557790) * <abirdman@m[ ]e.rr.com ['ain' in gap]> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:11AM (#42655887) Homepage Journal
        Thank you sir, you are completely correct. Corps have convinced government at every level that their needs-- for protection of future profits, for protection of trade secrets, for maintaining their own security rubrics, for protecting their IP)-- make it necessary they be able to interpret and prosecute their own lines of inquiry, sanctions, and punishments against citizens. Government at every level (and on both sides of the aisle) is jumping at the chance to hand them anything they ask for, from SOPA passed in secret, to pepper spray for college protesters, to absurd prison terms for the unregenerate such as Aaron Swartz. It's shocking and unsustainable, but it's happening.
        • by Creepy (93888) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:02AM (#42656753) Journal

          The thing is, they don't even need SOPA - as it is now, you could read the same 1980s CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) section that was being used to prosecute Swartz even more liberally and make the internet itself illegal because it essentially requires a user to get permission to visit any site (for Swartz they interpreted this section of the law as a violation of Terms of Service).

          For that matter, this post is a felony in the United States; under the CFAA, I am technically committing wire fraud by using an alias to (falsely) represent myself. Yep, the CFAA wording is that broad - if we had internet in the 1970s/80s (a failed precursor existed in 1979), we'd have killed it with a massive protest.

          • I am technically committing wire fraud by using an alias to (falsely) represent myself.

            So, you're not actually "Creepy"? Damn.

      • by fearofcarpet (654438) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:37AM (#42656059)

        A friend of mine was convicted of a crime 20 years ago. Long story short, he slept with the sheriff's daughter (in a small town) who had to that point claimed to her father to be saving it for marriage. Now he is a sex offender. Sure he made some bad choices (he was 17 at the time), but now he not only has a criminal record, but a sex offense. It drove him out of the city, out of the state, and eventually nearly underground. It made it almost impossible for him to get an education and a job, buy a house, start a family--all those normal things we take for granted that in fact stem from our "inalienable" rights. And that was 20 years ago--nowadays that small-town attitude is the norm for anyone trying to express an opinion that The Man finds unsavory. Once the system gets a hold of you, you're lucky if it only ruins your life in the short term.

      • It was a bit tougher in the 60's than the picture you paint, for starters MLK was assasinated.
        • It was a bit tougher in the 60's than the picture you paint, for starters MLK was assasinated.

          Indeed, for people to suggest civil rights activists would be incarcerated today for doing what they did then is just an example of reaching all the way up their asses to make an argument. That act is even worse because it willfully white-washes the horrors of the time, horrors that are no longer present regardless of how they feel about the current status quo.

    • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @10:55AM (#42656685) Homepage

      So far JSTOR has been covered favorably (due to settling and not wanting the government to press charges) while MIT has come off as evil or apathetic at best. This story implies that MIT was itself pressured by JSTOR to go after Swartz or lose their access. That's pretty big news.

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @01:41PM (#42658711)
        No, it sounds like JSTOR was urging MIT to clamp down on JSTOR access, not push to prosecute Aaron.

        Kind of like if you own a chain of retail stores, and you tell a store manager to crack down on shoplifting or you're going to fire him, and the store manager shoots the next shoplifter he sees. You didn't tell him to go that far overboard, or shoot anyone, or shoot that one specifically.
  • by eksith (2776419) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:20AM (#42655207) Homepage

    JSTOR acted naively, but corrected itself later. MIT acted naively and then stupidly, but realized their mistake too late. Prosecutors acted like prosecutors typically do these days (I.E. tyranically) and a vulnerable kid took the least painful way out.

    Mr. Swartz turned over his hard drives with 4.8 million documents, and Jstor declined to pursue the case. But Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States attorney in Boston, decided to press on.

    As in MIT didn't "ensnare" anyone. They first overreacted, but then couldn't reach the reset button before Ortiz et al took over and sent all reservations MIT may have had about pressing on and destroying his life straight to /dev/null .

    The prosecutors killed Swartz. That's it. While I appreciate the details of exactly what happened within MIT, lets not divert attention away to what this story really is. This should actually be looked as a big fat spotlight being shined on our spectaular legal system that values conviction rates over actual decreased crime rates and political gain at the cost of lives.

    • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:34AM (#42655253)

      Swartz did something wrong, for sure, he used a script to download documents. He was being rude, making the system slower for everybody else.

      The DOJ reaction? Slap a 50 years sentence on him.

      If that's the prosecutor's reaction, she is certainly not competent for the job she does, she should be fired and the bar association should start an investigation on her.

      I think disbarment would be the proper solution. That would be the right level of punishment in her case. She demonstrated very plainly that she doesn't have the understanding of law needed to work on it professionally.

      • by eksith (2776419) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:38AM (#42655265) Homepage
        Agree with this 100%. At the most a public apology for making the system slow would have been plenty from Aaron. While we're at kicking out Ortiz, the same treatment should go to Stephen Heymann.
        • by coastwalker (307620) <acoastwalker.hotmail@com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:36AM (#42655495) Homepage

          The final outcome of this story is unfortunate and appears to condemn the American Criminal Justice system more than anything else.

          Aaron did not do something without consequence however. He broke a trust in a club (People on campus) and spoiled the party for the members of that club. Free access had been granted to members of the club and his actions took that away. The club members are not trusted anymore and have to go through authentication to get at the data now because of his actions.

          When you look around at society most of the petty unpleasantness of it all happens because someone was greedy, stupid or criminal. It is a shame that Aaron contributed to this slow slide into the straightjacket, whatever the justification.

          • by abirdman (557790) *

            He broke a trust in a club (People on campus) and spoiled the party for the members of that club.

            Good, lets brand him a felon and then throw him in federal prison for 35 years. That will teach him to cut out the "petty unpleasantness" he was spreading, and stop inconveniencing the People on campus.

            • by TapeCutter (624760) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @09:48AM (#42656127) Journal
              Just because the prosecutors were wrong does not mean Swartz was right.
              • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @10:02AM (#42656229) Homepage

                Just because the prosecutors were wrong does not mean Swartz was right.

                This. Thank you. It is unfortunate that Swartz took his life. He was treated unfairly and with the utmost unjustice, ironically by the DOJ. And he was a brilliant individual. But he did commit a wrong. It does not justify what was done to him (which ultimately led him to kill himself.)

                But /. fans need to get this in their thick, stupid, avant-garde-wannabe skulls. He was not on the right, nor what he did - in this specific issue - constituted something positive or promoting of individual rights. This is a criticism of him, rest in peace, on this specific incident. It does not constitute an indictment on Swartz, the person as a whole, nor does it constitute a justification for what the authoritities did to him.

                He might have been abused like Valjean, but he was not Valjean. On this issue, he was not.

                OTH, the DOJ certainly played the Javert macabre part and relished on it.

                • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @10:45AM (#42656577)

                  Just because the prosecutors were wrong does not mean Swartz was right.

                  This. Thank you. It is unfortunate that Swartz took his life. He was treated unfairly and with the utmost unjustice, ironically by the DOJ. And he was a brilliant individual. But he did commit a wrong. It does not justify what was done to him (which ultimately led him to kill himself.)

                  What was the wrong he committed? He was allowed access to the documents he downloaded. The only wrong was that instead of sitting there clicking on each one and clicking save as, he had a script access them and save them. But as to the content itself, he was allowed to have access to it and to save it. Instead of JSTOR, you would have thought the RIAA was behind this.

                  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:04AM (#42656779) Homepage

                    Just because the prosecutors were wrong does not mean Swartz was right.

                    This. Thank you. It is unfortunate that Swartz took his life. He was treated unfairly and with the utmost unjustice, ironically by the DOJ. And he was a brilliant individual. But he did commit a wrong. It does not justify what was done to him (which ultimately led him to kill himself.)

                    What was the wrong he committed? He was allowed access to the documents he downloaded. The only wrong was that instead of sitting there clicking on each one and clicking save as, he had a script access them and save them. But as to the content itself, he was allowed to have access to it and to save it. Instead of JSTOR, you would have thought the RIAA was behind this.

                    That. Usage of robots was/is prohibited by JSTOR. Whether that makes sense or not is not the issue. If someone doesn't like a service's TOS, the correct thing is not to use that service. It is not a ZOMG-kill-babies, but it is still a wrong.

                    Obviously, however, the DOJ's javirtistic response was completely unjustified. Considering that all the WS fat cats that almost drove us to the cliff are not in jail, or the people behind unmasking Valerie Plame's cover as a CIA operative (*cough* Karl *cough* Rove *cough*) still remain unpunished, the DOJ's handling of this petty case is an obscene miscarriage of the law beyond description.

                    • by SilverJets (131916) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:59AM (#42657573) Homepage

                      Usage of robots was/is prohibited by JSTOR.

                      Then its up to JSTOR to detect and block bots.

                      Putting a web server on the internet means that people will connect to it with various types of software. You don't get to determine what that software is -- a TOS that says "no IE" is meaningless, and so it one that says "no bots"; and using IE or bots to access that site, in and of itself, is not a wrong.

                      When you are selling access to your servers to academic institutions you most certainly do get to determine how those users then connect to you, how much they can download, etc. If the academic institution doesn't like those terms they can go elsewhere for the content.

                    • by Belial6 (794905)
                      Could he have? I don't know what the content of the papers were, so I would ask... Could he have gone somewhere else for the content?
                    • Usage of robots was/is prohibited by JSTOR.

                      Then its up to JSTOR to detect and block bots.

                      JSTOR had a solution for violation of their terms of service. They notified their customer, MIT, that they were going to suspend their service if they didn't correct the problem.

                      Putting a web server on the internet means that people will connect to it with various types of software.

                      I don't believe JSTOR had their server on the Internet. Mr Swartz first hacked MIT's network (kept changing his MAC every time the MIT

                • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:42AM (#42657347) Journal

                  You're so sure Mr. Swartz was not in the right that you preemptively call everyone who disagrees with you stupid, huh?

                  No, it is publishers who are in the wrong. If you think JSTOR is some kind of saintly, charitable effort, and point to their non-profit status as evidence, I suggest you take a harder look. Research publishing is a huge racket. We, the people, pay for a great deal of research, and then allow these publishers to lock it all up, charge huge fees for access, and bless the whole affair by calling it privatization. That they do it on behalf of a few school rather than for themselves, and that the access fees are in the form of tuition rather than straight up fees, does not make it any less unfair. JSTOR has willingly aided that injustice, providing cover for the schools, until prodded hard.

      • He wasn't sentenced (or even found guilty yet) and the claim wasn't for 50 years. But hey, facts happen to other people right?

        The moment you start spouting nonsense like this, the rest of your opinion is automatically suspect as well. After all, if you don't know the facts, how can you form an accurate opinion?

        Cases like this get very emotional but if you ever want to change anything, you need to argue with facts, not with made up stuff. Liars like mangu just make it easier for people on the other side to

        • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:59AM (#42655327)

          Sorry, I remembered wrong, it wasn't 50 years, just 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million. [justice.gov]

          Do you feel better now? Is 35 years in prison plus a $1 million fine the correct punishment for using a script to download documents?

          • Sorry, I remembered wrong, it wasn't 50 years, just 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million. [justice.gov]

            Do you feel better now? Is 35 years in prison plus a $1 million fine the correct punishment for using a script to download documents?

            Is disbarment the correct punishment for applying the law that Congress wrote and failing to use discretion to ignore offenses? Do you understand what "discretion" even means, if you insist that it be mandatory and punishment be applied if it's not used? Do you understand what "hypocrisy" means?

      • I find your lack of familiarity with our system disturbing. It ain't justice, it just is.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        I disagree honestly its better for society if people like Swartz are martyred.

        As another poster pointed out everything is a felony now. You probably commit felonies everyday without even being aware. If something is illegal and someone does it they should be prosecuted. If we don't want to prosecute people for doing than it should not be illegal in the first, and the law needs to get off the books. Right now we have a legal briar patch, that can be used to find a reason to mess up someones life anytime

      • by reub2000 (705806)

        Isn't that a failure of our lawmakers to set reasonable prison terms for crimes? The prosecutor doesn't set the maximum sentence for any crime, they just charge people with the laws written by the legislative body for their jurisdiction.

      • If that's the prosecutor's reaction, she is certainly not competent for the job she does, she should be fired and the bar association should start an investigation on her.

        I think disbarment would be the proper solution. That would be the right level of punishment in her case. She demonstrated very plainly that she doesn't have the understanding of law needed to work on it professionally.

        So, you're saying you're in favor of ridiculously high punishments that have no relationship to what the accused did?

        There are a lot of hypocrites in here.

    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:14AM (#42655633)

      The prosecutors killed Swartz.

      I do find the difference in opinion that rises to the top of Slashdot discussions on various topics very interesting.

      In this case, the overriding opinion is that the acts of the prosecutors are responsible for the death of Swartz.

      However, in at least two other cases, that of Amanda Todd and Megan Meier, the overriding opinion in those Slashdot stories was that the person or people accused of bullying were not responsible for the deaths of the victims, as suicide victims usually have underlying issues.

      The duality of Slashdot is very interesting, but so is how very different, very strong opinions and very opposing opinions can still rise to the surface.

      • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:58AM (#42657563)
        Power. The federal court has power of us. Peers over the internet do not. "Cyber bullying" is amongst equals while the power imbalance between an ethical and upstanding digital rights activist and federal prosecutors is laughable. To curtail cyber bullying we would need to impose draconian rules enforced over the Internet, while to curtail federal bullying we simply need to slap a political official on the wrist. And we can do that second one, in theory, because we live in a democracy. But to get the right people to start slapping, even halfheartedly, the masses have to get in a huff and thrash a little.

        Also, did you think that Slashdot is one homogenous group? We're not even a loose coalition. We're individuals that occasionally function as a hive-mind.
  • Three Felonies a Day (Score:5, Informative)

    by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @06:49AM (#42655295)
    > The decision whether to charge a defendant, and with what -- is almost entirely discretionary. ... > Hope you enjoyed that freewheeling culture while it lasted, kids — now Everything is a Crime."

    Once to be charged with a crime there needed to be a criminal intent. No longer. There are so many ridiculous laws on the books now that you can't be a citizen without breaking some laws, and zealous prosecutors can pluck those laws out of obscurity to target anyone the don't like, or even just choose some unlucky sap they pick on to boost their career.

    There's a good book by ex-FBI cop & criminal lawyer Dale Carson who explains these people have run out of big time criminals to prosecute, and so now the justify their existence by filling jails with poor saps who meet this criteria, or they would be laying off cops, judges and prisoners for lack of business: http://www.amazon.com/Arrest-Proof-Yourself-Ex-Cop-Reveals-Arrested/dp/1556526377 [amazon.com]

    Here's a real life case where US officials made life hell for a California marine biologist for no other reason than they have big swinging dicks and they could: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120803gw.html [japantimes.co.jp]

    This has been going on for a long time. Aaron is the first person to draw it to the wider public attention: "Legions of government lawyers inundate targets with discovery demands, producing financial burdens that compel the innocent to surrender in order to survive. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Boston, chillingly demonstrates how the mad proliferation of federal criminal laws — which often are too vague to give fair notice of what behavior is proscribed or prescribed — means that "our normal daily activities expose us to potential prosecution at the whim of a government official." Such laws, which enable government zealots to accuse almost anyone of committing three felonies in a day, do not just enable government misconduct, they incite prosecutors to intimidate decent people who never had culpable intentions. And to inflict punishments without crimes. The more Americans learn about their government's abuse of criminal law for capricious bullying, the more likely they are to recoil in a libertarian direction and put Leviathan on a short leash."
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      The problem is not that they can. As they can target everyone, they could pick specifically the people that causes them trouble (and maybe pick others to not be so obvious). Or maybe not the visible leaders, that maybe could have cash enough in a way or another for a good defense, but the followers (or take their houses [bloomberg.com] anyway).
    • Bull (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:16AM (#42656935) Homepage Journal

      "There's a good book by ex-FBI cop & criminal lawyer Dale Carson who explains these people have run out of big time criminals to prosecute, and so now the justify their existence by filling jails with poor saps who meet this criteria,"
      ----

      In a word, that's bull. The world is filled with big time criminals. The problem is that they are "too big to prosecute". Look at HSBC. They laundered money, knowingly, for drug dealers, terrorists, and Iran (helping to fund their nuclear program).

      Even after a full investigation, and HSBC admitting to criminal activity to the tune of billions of dollars, wanna take a guess how many people went to jail?

      If you guessed anything other than ZERO, you are wrong. HSBC was fined 1.9 Billion Dollars, and then let off the hook. HSBC, incidentally, can make up for that fine over 4 weeks with some slightly more risky trading, and perhaps charging their customers a few pennies more per transaction.

      The point is: Prosecutors don't go after "big targets" to make their name, because it's much, much tougher to win a case against an organization that can spend more in lawyers than the entire GDP of your district.

      As a result, there have been no prosecutions of anyone guilty of market manipulation for the "Great Recession", there have been no prosecutions for "robosigning foreclosures", there have been no prosecutions for insider trading, there have been no prosecutions for LIBOR, there have been no prosecutions for HSBC.

      So, Prosecutors spend their time being High School Bullies, going after targets they know they can win because the little guy has no resources to fight. That's why we have the highest incarceration rate in the world, and our jails are filled with petty criminals -- people busted for a few ounces of Pot. But the real criminals drive in limos.

  • by Sir Foxx (755504) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:04AM (#42655347)
    Every student at MIT should download and article from JSTOR and post it online. Everyone. Let's see the system deal with that.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The more details that come out the less sympathy I have for the legal troubles Swartz found himself in. He was smart enough to know going into this that there would be legal repercussions. It's possible he even ran his plan by Lessig, with Lessig explaining that it was wrong and he shouldn't do it. Barreling ahead anyways, he only decided not to do it at Harvard.

  • by andydread (758754) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @07:46AM (#42655527)

    The problem here is Stephen Heymann. He is the real zealous procsecutor here

    He has been on a crusade for years for "computer crime" juicy publicty [huffingtonpost.com]

    I remember about a week or so ago Anonymous leaked some long diatribe written by Stephen Heymann about lowering the bar on what defines computer crimes etc. I can't find it now. This guy is on a crusade to make a name for himlself.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Mod parent useful. Stephen Heymann sounds like a nutbag and that all he gives a shit about is prosecuting people. Worry about finding a name for the crime later.

      > During another investigation in the 1990s, Heymann wanted Harvard to place a electronic banner on its intranet telling users they were being monitored, as Network World reported. He said would allow the feds to monitor the network without getting a court order. Harvard disagreed, saying it respected the privacy of its users. According to his Ha

      • The prosecutor [Heymann] even claimed Watt had psychopathic tendencies and was trying to bring down the entire financial system, Watt told Business Insider.
        Those accusations came after Watt admitted to liking the movie "Fight Club," according to Watt.
        "I think that he had a very bombastic manner of describing the crime and the alleged calculating manners of the co-defendants," Watt said.

        Read more: Ex-Con Shares How Hard It Is To Be Targeted By One Of Aaron Swartz's Prosecutors [businessinsider.com]

        Heymann does seem to be a partic

  • by couchslug (175151) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @08:40AM (#42655763)

    With their resources, MIT could do the same thing in-house instead of outsourcing.

    MIT is a wealthy institution and could afford to free considerable information without being adversarial. The solution isn't "lone rebels freeing the info", but using massive resources to break it loose instead.

  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @10:33AM (#42656453) Journal

    The comments on this "The Tech," "MIT's oldest and largest newspaper & the first newspaper published on the web," online edition are very good:

    Aaron Swartz commits suicide By Anne Cai [mit.edu]

  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @11:00AM (#42656739) Homepage Journal

    Isn't this the very school that *created* hacker culture with the model railroad club and people lockpicking their way into offices at the school?

    Is this school now going to teach that the investigative process itself is now a crime? That, if you try and figure out how something works, essentially reverse engineer it, you're a criminal?

    What has happened to our world? Dammit, the vast majority of the infrastructure of the internet was created by college students, as a free and open system that was run largely on chaos theory.

    I think it's time we took back our internet.

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