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Crime The Courts United States Your Rights Online

Anonymous Warhead Targets US Sentencing Commission 252

theodp writes "Late Friday, Violet Blue reports, the U.S. Sentencing Commission website was hacked and government files distributed by Anonymous in 'Operation Last Resort.' The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts, and on the defaced website Anonymous cited the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz as 'a line that has been crossed.' Calling the launch of its new campaign a "warhead," Anonymous vowed, 'This time there will be change, or there will be chaos.'" Adds reader emil: "Anonymous has not specified exactly what files they have obtained. The various files were named after Supreme Court judges. At a regular interval commencing today, Anonymous will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents."
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Anonymous Warhead Targets US Sentencing Commission

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:08PM (#42703531)

    What I understood is that the redacted versions will be sent out piecemeal to news outlets, while the full reveal will happen later "if demands are not met."

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:5, Informative)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:50PM (#42704197) Homepage

    Watch the video or read the text ... It is very easy to comprehend. Enact reforms that "respectable" people suggest. Anonymous does not expect nor wish to be part of the negotiations,

    However, in order for there to be a peaceful resolution to this crisis, certain things need to happen. There must be reform of outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment. There must be reform of mandatory minimum sentencing. There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea. The inalienable right to a presumption of innocence and the recourse to trial and possibility of exoneration must be returned to its sacred status, and not gambled away by pre-trial bargaining in the face of overwhelming sentences, unaffordable justice and disfavourable odds. Laws must be upheld unselectively, and not used as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power.

    For good reason the statue of lady justice is blindfolded. No more should her innocence be besmirked, her scales tipped, nor her swordhand guided. Furthermore there must be a solemn commitment to freedom of the internet, this last great common space of humanity, and to the common ownership of information to further the common good.

    We make this statement do not expect to be negotiated with; we do not desire to be negotiated with. We understand that due to the actions we take we exclude ourselves from the system within which solutions are found. There are others who serve that purpose, people far more respectable than us, people whose voices emerge from the light, and not the shadows. These voices are already making clear the reforms that have been necessary for some time, and are outright required now.

    It is these people that the justice system, the government, and law enforcement must engage with. Their voices are already ringing strong with a chorus of determined resolution. We demand only that this chorus is not ignored. We demand the government does not make the mistake of hoping that time will dampen its ringing, that they can ride out this wave of determination, that business as usual can continue after a sufficient period of lip-service and back-patting.

    Not this time. This time there will be change, or there will be chaos ...

  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @10:10PM (#42704943) Journal

    States? States have nothing to do with this. Believe it or not, states are not some all powerful entity bravely feuding with the federal government over peculiar institutions.

    The US Sentencing Commission was intended to standardize federal prison sentences, so that persons who committed similar federal crimes ended serving similar sentences, regardless of which district judge or parole board they appeared before.

    Stith, Kate and Koh, Steve Y., "The Politics of Sentencing Reform: The Legislative History of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines" (1993). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 1273. []

    it's fair in that it's consistent, but it's unfair in that it may not be wise. Like most Bureacracies, it's a triumph of mediocrity over the capriciousness of individual persons.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:4, Informative)

    by cwebster ( 100824 ) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @01:21AM (#42705603)

    He didn't steal anyones work, at best he deprived publishers of profit, which is debatable since not many people who don't already have free access to journals actually want to read those articles.

    The journal publishing industry is a huge racket. Editors, assistant editors, peer reviewers, etc are all unpaid volunteer positions. Authors are unpaid and in many cases have to pay money to submit an article (some flat fee, some per page, some extra for color). The guys who get paid are the guys who take your LaTeX submission document and change the style file to the 'journal format' style from the 'journal draft' style and put in the page numbers, doi info, etc. That guy and the executives who run the publishing house. In return for essentially 95% volunteer work to get an article to print they charge exorbitant fees to libraries and universities to get the journals (and some like Elsevier wont even offer you a subscription to the 1 journal you want unless you buy the package that includes 19 others that you don't want).

    On top of that, the vast majority of published research out there is paid for by public funds, that you as a taxpayer are helping pay for. If the public pays for it, the public should have access to it. You shouldnt have to pay for the research and then pay to see the results. Sure, there is a real cost associated with printing and distributing publications and with storage and bandwidth for articles available online. The price charges is not inline with those costs though.

  • Re:Let's kowtow! (Score:4, Informative)

    by anagama ( 611277 ) <> on Sunday January 27, 2013 @03:36AM (#42706035) Homepage

    Except that's not how plea deals work. You don't sign off on the agreement and then get 6 mos. It's not that kind of contract. The judge can ignore the prosecutor's suggestion totally. Note the use of the word "blithey" in the following explanation.

    Some have blithely said Aaron should just have taken a deal. This is callous. There was great practical risk to Aaron from pleading to any felony. .... More particularly, the court is not constrained to sentence as the government suggests. Rather, the probation department drafts an advisory sentencing report recommending a sentence based on the guidelines. The judge tends to rely heavily on that "neutral" report in sentencing. If Aaron pleaded to a misdemeanor, his potential sentence would be capped at one year, regardless of his guidelines calculation. However, if he plead guilty to a felony, he could have been sentenced to as many as 5 years, despite the government's agreement not to argue for more. Each additional conviction would increase the cap by 5 years, though the guidelines calculation would remain the same. No wonder he didn't want to plead to 13 felonies. Also, Aaron would have had to swear under oath that he committed a crime, something he did not actually believe. []

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson