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Aaron Swartz's Estate Seeks Release of Documents 131

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the redacted-redacted-redacted dept.
theodp writes "The Boston Globe reports that the estate of Aaron Swartz filed a motion in federal court in Boston Friday to allow the release of documents in the case that has generated national controversy over the U.S. attorney's aggressive pursuit of a stiff sentence. The Court filing (PDF) suggests that the U.S. attorney's office is still up for jerking Aaron around a little posthumously, seeking what his lawyers termed overbroad redactions, including names and titles that are already publicly known. Swartz's family also seeks the return of his seized property (PDF). Last week, Swartz's girlfriend accused MIT of dragging its feet on investigating his suicide. Meanwhile, Slate's Justin Peters asks if the Justice Department learned anything from the Aaron Swartz case, noting that Matthew Keys, who faces 25 years in prison for crimes that include aiding-and-abetting the display of humorously false content, could replace Swartz as the poster boy for prosecutorial overreach."
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Aaron Swartz's Estate Seeks Release of Documents

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just like Aaron would have. The suicide means there were other, deeper problems.

    • Because it wasn't over-reach by the government? Hid suicide does not mean the government wasn't over zealous.
    • by moeinvt (851793)

      What "plea deal" was the government offering to Aaron Swartz? It's my understanding that they would not accept anything less than a lengthy prison term.

  • Political attack (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:37AM (#43212243) Homepage Journal

    As I said in the previous story [slashdot.org] about CISPA, the relationship between you and your government is not what you were brought up to believe it is.

    Aaron Swartz wasn't attacked because of that nonsense copyright infringement charge, he was attacked because he was very instrumental in the fight against SOPA.

    Bradley Manning was not attacked just because of the leaks of some documents, governments leak selective documents all the time. He was attacked because he showed part of the true face, part of the true cost to the military invasion - the US government is involved in destroying individuals, freedoms of individuals around the world.

    These people are political dissidents in USA, the system is set to destroy them because they attacked the system.

    • Re:Political attack (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:56AM (#43212355) Homepage

      That's also why the authorities don't really mind when decorated war veterans are killed by police at political protests (as happened in Oakland a couple of years ago). They tend to be cheering when cops beat and pepper-spray and arrest people who's sole crime is standing on a sidewalk holding a sign.

      You should also mention Julian Assange, who has never stepped foot in the United States and has never been subject to its laws. The reason that Assange isn't going to Sweden to face the "sex-by-surprise" charges is that he could not get a guarantee that the Swedes would not immediately turn him over to the US, and he also couldn't get a guarantee from the US that he would receive anything remotely similar to a fair trial.

      And I should mention that roman_mir and I have very different political leanings. But we can both agree that this kind of thing is wrong and illegal.

      • So exactly why is re-extradition an issue? After all the US could just go after extradition from Britain.

        Not only that but the European Convention on Extradition places rather strict limits on what it permitted on re-extradition to 3rd parties.

        Article 15 â" Re-extradition to a third state

        Except as provided for in Article 14, paragraph 1.b, the requesting Party shall not, without the consent of the requested Party, surrender to another Party or to a third State a person surrendered to the requesting Par

      • Re:Political attack (Score:4, Informative)

        by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:10AM (#43212859) Journal

        You should also mention Julian Assange, who has never stepped foot in the United States and has never been subject to its laws.

        FWIW, he was on the Colbert Report (filmed in NYC) in 2010.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        You should also mention Julian Assange, who has never stepped foot in the United States and has never been subject to its laws. The reason that Assange isn't going to Sweden to face the "sex-by-surprise" charges is that he could not get a guarantee that the Swedes would not immediately turn him over to the US, and he also couldn't get a guarantee from the US that he would receive anything remotely similar to a fair trial.

        What trial? Assange hasn't even been indicted or charged in the US.

        But indeed: in princ

        • by anagama (611277)

          Nor was Al Alwaki, accused of exercising his free speech rights in ways the Feds didn't like. Or his son, accused of being his son. They're dead at the hands of the Feds.

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            What does any of that have to do with Swartz?

        • by greenbird (859670)

          you can in fact violate the laws of a country you have never set foot in. Many countries have such laws, not just the US.

          Yeah. About that, Kim Dotcom [wikipedia.org] would like a word with you.

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        You should also mention Julian Assange, who has never stepped foot in the United States and has never been subject to its laws. The reason that Assange isn't going to Sweden to face the "sex-by-surprise" charges is that he could not get a guarantee that the Swedes would not immediately turn him over to the US, and he also couldn't get a guarantee from the US that he would receive anything remotely similar to a fair trial.

        That's certainly his claim. Maybe he even believes it. But if he does, hiding out in the UK was a pretty odd strategy. It's not like the UK has some history of refusing to extradite suspects on request by the US; he's no safer there than in Sweden.

        Of course Sweden doesn't want to promise they won't extradite him to the US. He's asking for an unconditional, perpetual guarantee that he won't be extradited. There's no way they're going to make that kind of guarantee, because the US could request extradition so

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          But if he does, hiding out in the UK was a pretty odd strategy.

          He's not hiding out in the UK, he's hiding out in the sovereign territory of Ecuador, namely their embassy. The reason that he's still there is that the UK has made it clear that if he tries to leave the embassy and go to Ecuador they will violate whatever diplomatic rights Ecuador's embassy vehicles have in order to capture Assange.

          So you're right, hiding in the UK was a bad strategy.

          • by blueg3 (192743)

            But if he does, hiding out in the UK was a pretty odd strategy.

            He's not hiding out in the UK, he's hiding out in the sovereign territory of Ecuador, namely their embassy. The reason that he's still there is that the UK has made it clear that if he tries to leave the embassy and go to Ecuador they will violate whatever diplomatic rights Ecuador's embassy vehicles have in order to capture Assange.

            So you're right, hiding in the UK was a bad strategy.

            I said "was" for a reason. He was remaining in the UK, without hiding in an embassy, and trying to avoid extradition to Sweden. His claim was that he didn't want Sweden to turn around and extradite him to the US. That's a very strange claim, since the UK will extradite him to the US just as readily as Sweden.

            Now it's a different situation, as the UK courts decided that would extradite him to Sweden anyway, so he's hiding out in an embassy. That would have been a very reasonable strategy from the beginning i

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by onyxruby (118189)

      Put down the crack pipe, Manning and Swartz couldn't be more different.

      Manning wanted to embarrass the United States and he made that very clear in his statement in his court martial. He didn't care about bystanders, international relationships or innocents that could be hurt in his wide spread dump of well over 100,000 documents. Swartz wanted to free information that was otherwise publicly available, had no bystanders to worry about, wasn't going to hurt international relationships and wasn't trying to em

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by roman_mir (125474)

        Put down the crack pipe

        - never.

        Manning wanted to embarrass the United States and he made that very clear in his statement in his court martial.

        - wrong, either you are misinformed or lying on purpose.

        full transcript [guardian.co.uk]

        excerpts:

        Up to this point,during the deployment, I had issues I struggled with and difficulty at work. Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn't harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.

        ...

        The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that should become public. I once read a and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.

        I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption.

        ...

        I did not see anything in the 15-6 report or its annexes that gave away sensitive information. Rather, the investigation and its conclusions were and what those involved should have done, and how to avoid an event like this from occurring again.

        ...

        The only place that you could possibly be referring to would be this part:

        I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States, however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations.
        In many ways these cables are a catalogue of cliques and gossip. I believed exposing this information might make some within the Department of State and other government entities unhappy. On 22 March 2010, I began downloading a copy of the SIPDIS cables using the program Wget, described above.

        Yes, releasing very honest opinions behind the backs might be embarrassing to some organisations, you are however implying that it was his motive, which is false or a lie. It was not his motive, his motive was to ensure that the public knew what was done in its name:

        The more I read, the more I was fascinated with the way that we dealt with other nations and organizations. I also began to think the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn't seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world.

        ...

        It detailed corruption within the cabinet of al-Maliki's government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people. After discovering this discrepancy between the Federal Police's report and the interpreter's transcript, I forwarded this discovery to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn't need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote "drop it" unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote "anti-Iraqi literature" unquote.

        I couldn't believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it.

      • by moeinvt (851793)

        "If you want to see real government destruction of dissidents that I invite you to look at country's like Venezuela, Tibet, Russia, Iran or North Korea."

        That's the standard by which we should judge the behavior of the USA government? As long as they are better than those other countries, it's OK to engage in crackdowns on peaceful political dissidents?

      • If you think political dissidents in this country are routinely destroyed than you are as naive as can be.

        Perhaps you should read up on U.S. history. We have a long history of doing just that. Look as far back as Reconstruction, the civil rights movements in the 1960s, and other figures such as Malcolm X. I think our government has learned from these and are far more subtle now, though.

        Governments have been corrupt for thousands of years, as long as we have had governments. Many other governments in this wo

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      Aaron Swartz wasn't attacked because of that nonsense copyright infringement charge,

      Swartz wasn't charged with copyright infringement, he was charged with computer tampering, and he fulfilled the criteria.

      These people are political dissidents in USA, the system is set to destroy them because they attacked the system.

      Swartz pretty clearly broke a number of laws, and it was proper to charge him when this became known to the prosecutor. It would have been corrupt if he hadn't been charged because of his politi

      • by anagama (611277)

        I'm pretty liberal, voted for Jill Stein and all that. I would love to see a constitutional amendment that authorizes unilateral secession by the states because the Federal government is corrupt beyond repair and evil beyond reckoning. Yeah -- some states in the South would go Christian Taliban or whatever. Let 'em. They just suck up my tax dollars anyway.

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          There's nothing wrong with the original construct of the United States: a group of largely independent states with free trade, limited inter-state enforcement of laws, and free movement of people. The enumerated powers in the Constitution are a reasonable framework for that. If the US broke up, the different parts would simply want to re-form a free trade area similar to what the Constitution originally envisioned. Instead of going through the pain of secession and building a free trade pact, it would make

      • by sjames (1099) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @01:14PM (#43215571) Homepage

        I most certainly can and do blame the prosecutor. Are you claiming the law put a gun to his head and removed all prosecutorial discretion? It is the prosecutor's responsibility to show such discretion at all times in service of justice.

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          Are you claiming the law put a gun to his head and removed all prosecutorial discretion?

          What should that "discretion" have consisted of according to you? She was already aiming for only six months in prison. What possible justification would she have had to aim for even less or not charge him at all? Swartz physically broke into a wired network on private property, with the intent to commit massive copyright violations. That's a serious offense, and she already proposed a light punishment compared to what o

          • by sjames (1099)

            Considering that the 'victim' wanted to just drop the whole thing, that's exactly what she should have done.

            That just leaves MITs complaint of trespassing which would be a matter for the state to pursue or not. Given that no damage was done or intended to MIT, that would come out to time served.

            Meanwhile, you're ignoring that it would be a confession to a felony (and so he would be a convicted felon), the trial would bankrupt him, and she would 'recommend' 6 months but the judge would still be free to say "

            • by stenvar (2789879)

              Considering that the 'victim' wanted to just drop the whole thing, that's exactly what she should have done.

              Victims don't get to decide whether criminal charges are dropped. There are multiple victims involved here, including MIT, JSTOR, US and European publishers, and the public. Prosecutors represent all of them, and their job isn't just to punish the individual, but also to make clear what kind of behavior the public does not tolerate (and that is defined by Congress through laws).

              Meanwhile, you're ignor

  • Keys quite literally gave away the keys to the store, pun intended. He did this to cause problems with a specific website of his former employer this is criminal activity end of story.
    • by emj (15659)

      What would happen if I did the same thing with my keys to my office building, would I spend even a day in prison? People get so blind to this, it doesn't matter if we are talking about 10 years or 30, even days in prison is too much for this. How did we get to talking about years?

      • by jittles (1613415)

        What would happen if I did the same thing with my keys to my office building, would I spend even a day in prison? People get so blind to this, it doesn't matter if we are talking about 10 years or 30, even days in prison is too much for this. How did we get to talking about years?

        It is not the same thing at all. Providing access to a physical location is not the same as providing access to the server infrastructure for a corporation. You don't know what keys he gave away, do you? Other than the fact that the LA TImes website was defaced, he may have given away far greater access than either he or the hacker knew. And if you gave away the keys of your office building so that your friend could rob the corporate safe of $250,000 then I am willing to bet that they would quite happil

    • by sjames (1099)

      Actually, it sounds a lot more like a job for a civil suit.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If it were, then it would be responsible for any suicide for someone with an impending prosecution.

    Justice is not responsible for Swartz illegally downloading millions of documents in the JSTOR case, nor for his similar behavior two years prior in the PACER case. His reaction in the former case is still posted: [aaronsw.com]

    Wanted by the FBI

    I got my FBI file today. (Request yours!) As I hoped, it’s truly delightful.

    • The downloads were not illegal. Nice one jackass. He exceeded the limit of article he could download. Exceeding the limit was not illegal.
  • by mdw2 (122737) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @08:06AM (#43212425)

    Sadly the only lesson that the DOJ seems to want to teach anyone is "don't fuck with the rich"

  • Uh, the last time documents related to this case were released didn't turn out so good.
  • Swartz committed suicide because he had depression. If it wasn't this, something else would have triggered it. If people had known he was suicidal, the correct response would have been to commit him and place him under suicide watch, not to drop charges; suicidal people are still adults.

    And except for grandiose press releases, he actually faced a few months in prison, if he had been found guilty at all. Granted, the circus of a large public trial is something to be unhappy about, but Swartz was an Internet

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And except for grandiose press releases, he actually faced a few months in prison, if he had been found guilty at all. Granted, the circus of a large public trial is something to be unhappy about, but Swartz was an Internet activist who had deliberately broken laws, not some bystander who accidentally got sucked into the justice system.

      Let's see, he copied documents that he actually had legal access to and the original prosecutor was going to,

      According to attorney Harvey Silverglate, lawyers familiar with the case told him the Middlesex County District Attorney had planned to resolve Swartz’s trespassing case with a “stern warning” and “continuance without a finding.”[67][68] As he explained to CNET’s Declan McCullagh

      Your right that does sound pretty spot on, what was I thinking.... oh wait,

      “Tragedy intervened,” Silverglate wrote in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, “when [United States Attorney Carmen] Ortiz’s office took over the case to send a message.’”

      cough,

      “[I]f convicted on these charges,” said Ortiz, “Swartz faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million.”

      Math must not be your strong suite, either that or 420 months = a few..., (i.e. Also know as ~1.3 Aaron-Swartz lifetimes) And apparently, one million dollars!, isn't even worth mentioning except perhaps to Dr Evil (and me). Admittedly, he probably would not have gotten the max penalty if he was found guilty at trial, b

  • Defund DOJ until Eric Holder resigns for both Fast & Furious and Aaron Swartz incident. This lawless administration only understands money & force, because that is how they do things.

  • She was going after him tooth and nail because it would look good on her if she won. The so-called "victim" wasn't pressing charges.

    Read "The Hacker Crackdown" In there they charged a bunch of kids with "Hacking" to obtain "Secret" information that could destroy the nation's telecommunications grid. After coercing several into a plea deal to plead guilty and take 18months to testify against the remaining defendant who faced something like 30Years, it became known that AT&T actually SOLD the "Stolen"

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