eldavojohn writes "Federal court documents aren't free to the public, they cost $0.08/page through a system called PACER. During a period when the US Government Printing Office was trying out free access at a number of courthouses around the US, a 22-year-old programmer named Aaron Swartz installed a small PERL script at the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals library in Chicago — a script that uploaded a public document every three seconds to Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service. Swartz then donated over 19 million documents to public.resource.org. That's when the FBI took interest in the programmer responsible for this effort and ran his name through government databases. How did he discover this? His FOIA was approved, of course, and he received the FBI's partially redacted report on himself. The public.resource.org database was later merged with that of the RECAP Firefox extension, which we discussed a couple of months back." Update: 10/06 18:22 GMT by KD: Timothy Lee pointed out that the summary as originally posted garbled the Swartz / RECAP connection. Improved now.
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