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DOJ, MIT, JSTOR Seek Anonymity In Swartz Case 236

Posted by Soulskill
from the nothing-to-see-here-move-along dept.
theodp writes "Responding to an earlier request by the estate of Aaron Swartz to disclose the names of those involved in the events leading to Aaron's suicide, counsel for MIT snippily told the Court, "The Swartz Estate was not a party to the criminal case, and therefore it is unclear how it has standing, or any legally cognizable interest, to petition for the modification of the Protective Order concerning others' documents." In motions filed on slow-news-day Good Friday (MIT's on spring break), the DOJ, MIT, and JSTOR all insisted on anonymity for those involved in the Swartz case, arguing that redacting of names was a must, citing threats posed by Anonymous and LulzSec, a badly-photoshopped postcard sent to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann and another sent to his Harvard Prof father, cake frosting, a gun hoax, and e-mail sent to MIT. From the DOJ filing: 'I also informed him [Swartz estate lawyer] that whatever additional public benefit might exist by disclosing certain names was, in this case, outweighed by the risk to those individuals of becoming targets of threats, harassment and abuse.' From the MIT filing: 'The publication of MIT's documents in unredacted form could lead to further, more targeted, and more dangerous threats and attacks...The death of Mr. Swartz has created a very volatile atmosphere.' From the JSTOR filing: 'The supercharged nature of the public debate about this case, including hacking incidents, gun hoaxes and threatening messages, gives JSTOR and its employees legitimate concern for their safety and privacy.'"
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DOJ, MIT, JSTOR Seek Anonymity In Swartz Case

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  • Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:12PM (#43319631) Journal
    Only we are allowed to name names and ruin lives.
    • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:35PM (#43319751)

      Exactly.

      They are quick to name persons of interest, slow to retract any such announcements, but now want to hide behind the Judges robes for over prosecuting a nothing case. The corruption of this DOJ exceeds anything under Bush.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No kidding, when I read:

          "outweighed by the risk to those individuals of becoming targets of threats, harassment and abuse"

      My first though was double standards much? They must be afraid of getting the same treatment they gave Swartz?

    • Are you justifying threats?

  • Cowards. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:18PM (#43319661)

    If they're innocent they have nothing to fear, right?

    • Re:Cowards. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @08:32PM (#43321475)

      False. Vigilante justice rarely if ever determines if a person is innocent before coming down with full force.

      You can test this for yourself. Have your friends report you for kiddy porn in a completely unfounded way and watch hilarity ensue as you're put through months of shit. If you're lucky enough they'll put you straight on the sex offender list and inform your neighbourhood and THEN investigate your case.

      • Re:Cowards. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday March 31, 2013 @06:53AM (#43323303)

        False. Vigilante justice rarely if ever determines if a person is innocent before coming down with full force.

        You can test this for yourself. Have your friends report you for kiddy porn in a completely unfounded way and watch hilarity ensue as you're put through months of shit. If you're lucky enough they'll put you straight on the sex offender list and inform your neighbourhood and THEN investigate your case.

        The hilarious thing is, the example you quote isn't vigilante justice - it's what passes for official justice. It's not a case of vigilante justice being wrong, and due process being right - it's a case of due process being indistinguishable from knee-jerk crowd-mentality mob justice.

  • Fuck em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:19PM (#43319663)

    Lets have every name, every detail, all of it. Beaurocrats like to hide behind their organisations, which enables every manner of abuse. Haul these insects out into the light, overturn the rocks. A man is dead, there must be accountability. They need to learn that they are personally responsible for their own decisions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:21PM (#43319669)

    We have a right to know who decided to do that. It's our money being shot out of their legal gun.

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbrander (73222) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:25PM (#43319687) Homepage

    "...become targets of threats, harassment and abuse..."

    God God, is somebody dragging them into police stations, questioning them for hours, threatening them with 30 years in jail?

    Because those actions would be threats, harassment, and abuse indeed.

    • Ah, but that's not nearly as bad as some 14 year old calling their daughter, asking her to bare her breasts, and saying that over 9000 dicks will be going in her pooper.
  • by benjfowler (239527) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:28PM (#43319693)

    I say, put their names out there for all to see, and let Anonymous make a bonfire out of their pathetic lives.

    It'll serve as a warning to others who believe it's right to unfairly destroy other peoples lives.

    "Destroy peoples' lives; and have your life destroyed in turn." It would be a powerful message in poetic justice.

    • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:51PM (#43319857)

      Sure, why don't we just abandon our laws and due process and solve every problem by lynch mobs.

      • by Urkki (668283)

        Sure, why don't we just abandon our laws and due process and solve every problem by lynch mobs.

        There are some, who believe this has already happened, except it's autocratic instead of democratic mob doing the lynchings.

        Anyway, your "let's solve everything by lynch mobs" is kinda bad argument. "If being obese is so bad, then let's starve everyone to death!"

        And to be clear about it, I don't approve any kind of lynch mobs. People should be held accountable, tried and acquitted or punished, by due process. If this does not work in some country, mere lynch mob isn't going to solve anything.

        • by Hentes (2461350)

          Mobs are uncontrollable. Once they start to rage, you won't be able to constrain them to a select few cases.

      • Lynch mobs are about as much "due process" as plea-bargains are. "Hey, let's threaten you with 35 years in jail, so you'll be willing to forfeit your right to a trial and go to jail without one!"

        • by Hentes (2461350)

          And we already know who did that. Anonymity would only protect the victims of Swartz from getting caught in the crossfire.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Uberbah (647458)

            Anonymity would only protect the victims of Swartz

            You're using that term, "victims", but it doesn't mean whatever it it is you think it means.

      • by anagama (611277)

        Wouldn't it be nice if the Feds supported due process? I mean, isn't that they're primary purpose as defenders of the Constitution? The Feds are the biggest threat to due process of any organization on the planet.

      • This is slashdot, the solution to EVERY problem must involve a mob.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2013 @04:01PM (#43319905)

      I say, put their names out there for all to see, and let Anonymous make a bonfire out of their pathetic lives.

      The very fact that this kind of idiotic thinking is out there justifies the request for anonymity.

    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      I say, put their names out there for all to see, and let Anonymous make a bonfire out of their pathetic lives.

      I'd say that the fact that these particular individuals are being protected from answering for their actions by these corrupt private and public entities puts all of the individuals in those organizations, private and public, from top to bottom, into the target pool by their own choice in protecting these individuals. The others in those organizations not directly involved are also guilty of passively accepting such injustices by staying silent and continuing to work in and with those corrupt organizations.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:31PM (#43319721) Journal

    The moment you give government anonymity, it turns around and gives you tyranny, because it is no longer accountable.

  • by skywire (469351) * on Saturday March 30, 2013 @03:56PM (#43319883)

    This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
    John 3:19

  • I am not religious, but i do remember something from the bible: Who pulls a knife, from a knife dies.
    No pun intended.
  • It was a "very volatile atmosphere" before Shwartz killed himself. These people were destroying a life in order to justify their egos, further their careers, avoid suffering through cognitive dissonance, and avoid treating a person as anything other than a thing. Everyone here should come forward and face the music, not to mention lose their jobs. False secrecy like this will only bait the hacktivists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Um no. Most of these people had nothing to do with the decisions made by the DOJ in the processing of this case.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @05:10PM (#43320397) Homepage

    Every last MIT student should stop and protest the school. It should shut down until the people who helped to create the situation are called onto the carpet. It is my understanding that MIT wanted to stop things but were unable to stop things. But they did make a rash choice of calling in the authorities. They could have handled it differently. Some people have grown completely insensitive to the prospect of ruining the lives of others with police involvement. I blame entertainment/media saturation for turning the entire population into people as in touch with the depth of reality as "The Cable Guy."

    Life is longer than 30 minutes with commercial breaks. Ruining a life is a life ruined. But with our reduced attention span, our consciences have been reduced as well.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Every last MIT student should stop and protest the school.
      ...
      I blame entertainment/media saturation for turning the entire population into people as in touch with the depth of reality as "The Cable Guy."

      Tel me again: how long the MIT students will be working to repay the student loans? Maybe this is another explanation the US student protest movements died with the '70-ies?

      • by erroneus (253617)

        If MIT students stopped for a week or even a day, the school would immediately pay attention to what is going on. Without stidents, the school shuts down and becomes worthles. It's a message to be sent, not quitting school. The school needs to know that how it treats people is important. More care and thought into how they manage situations such s these is important.

        After all, the "soul searching" they said they would do? Have they produced any findings? Any resolutions? Any statements to the public?

    • But they did make a rash choice of calling in the authorities. They could have handled it differently. Some people have grown completely insensitive to the prospect of ruining the lives of others with police involvement.

      I don't buy that. If police involvement ruins lives, then it is entirely and directly the screwed up so-called justice process that is to blame. Calling in the authorities is what you're supposed to do when there's a crime. Your supposed to put your faith in due process and the judicial system; that's not the problem. The problem is that that faith is entirely misplaced.

      Not informing authorities doesn't fix the root of the problem; it just shifts the burden of dealing with it onto private individuals with f

  • A brilliant light extinguished itself when faced with the very credible possibility of several decades in prison.

    In order to avoid repeating this kind of tragedy, it would be beneficial for society to know all of the details of the case, understand the thinking of the individuals involved, and examine their actions, so we can fully understand why the tragedy occurred, and work to avoid it in the future.

    It's very simple really. Our society should be encouraging its Aaron Swartzes, not hounding them to death.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      It's very simple really. Our society should be encouraging its Aaron Swartzes, not hounding them to death. This benefits all of us.

      Here's something even simpler: be one yourself (instead of just waiting for others to do it for your benefit - yes, your magnanimous "all of us" didn't escape me). This will bring a step closer the transition between should and is.

  • Fuck You, you cowardly pack of assholes.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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