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The Courts

First Portions of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service File Released 89

Despite attempts by MIT and JSTOR to block the release of files pertaining the Aaron Swartz investigation, the court has ordered the release of documents not referencing MIT or JSTOR. There are approximately 14,500 pages of documents that will be released over the coming six months, after having information that could lead to harm against MIT or JSTOR employees redacted. Wired has the full story, and the author uploaded the first hundred pages of files. The first batch reveals that the Feds had indeed been looking into Swartz since the publication of his 2008 'Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,' several years before being indicted for copying documents from JSTOR.
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First Portions of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service File Released

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  • With that kind of cowardice, you could black out the nearly the entire document just for someone's sensitivies.

    Now if that information is released, that would be telling.

    • by Weezul ( 52464 )

      Agreed. I think people know that Prosecutors Stephen Heymann and Carmen Ortiz are the ones who need to pay for Aaron Swartz death by losing their jobs. Any MIT and JSTOR employees involved should be penalized by people remembering them and obstructing their promotion within those organizations, but tempers have cooled enough that they shouldn't be getting death threats now.

      In any case, these documents will help focus anger back on Heymann and Ortiz. Example :

      Prosecutor Stephen Heymann Compared Aaron Swar []

  • Released? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobSwatter ( 2884921 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @05:27AM (#44550567)
    We already know based upon Snowden that anything that will incriminate the U.S. government will be classified (Blacked out). It's clear on the Swartz case that they are so bent on making the people stupid that they are willing kill the smart ones that want to share knowledge. Not really much more to explore on the subject, other than a choice in country that is a bit more worthy of their word, and rule of law.
    • The assessment that people at MIT and JSTOR would be personally attacked and harassed by internet vigilante is realistic. You can just read the Slashdot articles calling for the hanging of everybody involved.

      But bringing more suffering does not help Aaron. We need to create protections against the psychological, financial and social consequences of prosecutions that go on for years. People lose their jobs, sanity and social status due to being under investigation.

      • If they're not charged with anything, it's usually zero to minimal interference with their activities. If they're charged, they can demand speedy trials. American defendands have that right but rarely exercise it. I've heard an attorney say that they rarely do because it rarely works to their advantage. Many of the delays are actually caused by defendants and their lawyers.
        • No where is "speedy trial" defined as a particular length of time. In practice it works like "as soon as possible" considering all the recognized reasons/loopholes for a delay. Other than gitmo inmates nobody "invokes" their right to a speedy trial anymore than they invoke their right to a Republican form of government.
      • But bringing more suffering does not help Aaron.

        You are of course correct.

        But killing these fuckers and every friend they ever had while torturing their families for 3 generations might prevent it from ever happening again.

        • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

          But killing these fuckers and every friend they ever had while torturing their families for 3 generations might prevent it from ever happening again.


          • You do not think that Federal Prosecutors would unlikely to abuse their powers once they knew that getting found out meant a lynching of themselves by a mob of angry citizens followed by the torture of their parents and children? I do.

            Will not happen though. The stupid fuckers we have can not even vote people out of office.

            • You best get back on your medication before you hurt yourself or others. You have come real close to issuing the kind of threats that people are starting to take seriously.

              • What threat? Coming close is noticing that if actions have consequences it changes things more than if there are no consequences? The fact prosecutors are already almost completely immune from proprietorial conduct makes this type of thing common. When the lawmakers make themselves immune to the law, sooner or later vigilantes will come into the picture. This is not a threat. It is an obvious observation. Without law there is vigilante justice.
                • Seriously dude get back on the meds and power down your reality distortion field a bit. It's bad enough a young man killed himself, someone with admitted psychological issues, but laying the blame on others and threatening them with violence is probably not the best way to vent your anger.

                  • Not threatening. Stating that it would be nice.

                    Also not placing blame for the suicide on them. Only placing blame on them for twisting the legal system to protect big money interests while harming the people the law is supposed to protect.

                    Since prosecutors are immune from prosecution even when they are clearly abusing their power the only type of justice that can ever come their way is via vigilantism. Which I think personally is wrong in most cases as law is supposed to be applied to them. Sadly they hav

  • 14500 pages? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @05:53AM (#44550667)
    What the hell? How much of 14500 pages could have been relevant to the trial?
    Are you guys competing with Stasi?
    • These are scary unethical people developing policy, given that they are driven by corporate interests, well... FUCK THAT!!!
    • by mutube ( 981006 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @06:17AM (#44550727) Homepage

      It was in an 86pt font.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I suspect there will be page after page of

      suspect woke up at 06:55. Alarm played I'm Free by the Who
      suspect entered bathroom at 06:56
      suspect farted
      suspect got dressed Jeans (faded levi's) and white T shirt at 07:04
      suspect descended stairs at 07:05 and yawned
      suspect said good morning to

      etc etc etc

      He must have been a 'very naughty boy' (with homage to Monty Python) to have made the feds take that level of interest in him. It is a pity that in doing do, they took their eyes off of other even badder people in

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The US does not have a justice system. It has a legal system. Wherever you see the term "justice" applied, you can infer it to mean, "Whatever the government wants."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Be careful when you are publishing something entitled "Manifesto" or "Guerilla"
        This people takes this words just as serious as saying bomb in a plane.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What the hell? How much of 14500 pages could have been relevant to the trial?

      Are you guys competing with Stasi?

      Don't underestimate the arousal experienced by many a government bureaucrat as they compile volumes of information about any person of interest. And the malicious behaviour of government employees is rarely punished; in fact, such behaviour is encouraged.

    • Actually I think they are.

      Read the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. [] This is what got the feds' attention on Swartz. Now what in there could possibly have anything to do with state security?

      Why were the feds interested in someone because they said these things? I can only come up with three possibilities, and none of them are good:

      1. They are policing IP issues
      2. They are acting as rent-a-cops to protect the profits of certain corporations, on taxpayer money (this is subtly different than #1)
      3. They simply se

    • It might include copies of some of the documents he illegally copied and it may contain many files that partially duplicate each other.
  • How was Swartz charged with unauthorized access when he had a JSTOR account?

    • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @06:47AM (#44550815)

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act treats both "unauthorized access" and "exceeding authorized access" as essentially equivalent. The second case is where you had an account but used it in unauthorized ways. This has some obvious vagueness and overreach problems. Did the CFAA drafters really mean to criminalize ToS violations, for example?

      Here [pdf] [] is a proposed amendment to the law from law professor Orin Kerr.

      • by Nyder ( 754090 )

        The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act treats both "unauthorized access" and "exceeding authorized access" as essentially equivalent. ...

        Isn't that what the NSA has done to us?

        • by Trepidity ( 597 )

          Possibly, but the FISA statute probably supersedes the CFAA.

          • by Creepy ( 93888 )

            FISA applies to foreign surveillance and signed into law by Carter and was actually put in place because Nixon used federal resources to spy on domestic activities in violation of the Fourth Amendment. So the original intent was to make sure federal resources were only used for international spying. CFAA was put in place to prevent computer crimes such as hacking (the bad kind) and protect ATM transactions. Politicians had very little idea what (peer-to-peer) modems were, much less packet networks when they

      • Did the CFAA drafters really mean to criminalize ToS violations, for example?

        I don't see how that is relevant here. Swartz evaded attempts to remove him from the network and he installed hardware on a physical network on private property. Neither of those is a ToS violation, it's gaining access illegally. The copying itself also wasn't just a ToS violation, it was a criminal copyright violation (but he wasn't even charged with that AFAIK).

        CFAA is far too vague and far too expansive. But Swartz would have ru

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He (allegedly) violated the terms of service by downloading articles in bulk automatically, hammering JSTOR's servers. It was a distinctive enough pattern of misuse that JSTOR asked for it to be stopped and MIT tried to implement local blocks on his access (i.e. some kind of network filtering), which Swartz then circumvented by eventually plugging a laptop directly into the MIT network in a data closet. None of this was settled in court, because it never got to trial, but I think those basic facts of the

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are so many rules, regulations and laws in the USA that one must "break" one of these. Many of these rules, regulations and laws contradict others so that to keep one of these is to break another of these rules, regulations and laws.
      This has, at least, two purposes:
      (1) Every person is made a "law-breaker" and can be persecuted at any time for a wide variety of "crimes".
      (2) Every person, being a "law-breaker", can be fined (Government and/or Business), disciplined (G&B), or imprisoned (G & B

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There's nothing contradictory about the laws in question. It was copyrighted material. JSTOR had it on their site. Access to that material was under specific terms, including not using automated bots to download articles in bulk. He broke those terms. When MIT tried to block his access as they were obliged to do according to JSTOR's license contract, Swartz entered a closet with network gear and plugged a computer directly into the network to circumvent the blocks.

        This is a very simple law: you don't c

        • by pellik ( 193063 )
          Haven't you been paying attention at all here? It was PUBLIC DOMAIN material. He did not violate copyright, he merely exceeded/broke the ToS in downloading all of it instead of tiny bits. He broke a wall between the public and things that belong to the public already.

          Besides, most states have laws ensuring property owners have access to their property. That's why you can't keep the power company off your land when they want to read your meter. Why can't that apply here, too?
        • by Creepy ( 93888 )

          Hmm... I had heard the documents were in the public domain, but MIT charged 10 cents a page to see them. Swartz wanted to make the public domain documents publicly available on the internet and not blocked by MIT's ivy wall and MIT went to find out what could be done to stop it. Someone (not sure who, prosecutors or the United States government) suggested using CFAA, which essentially makes terms of service a binding contract, and making these documents available on the internet violated that contract. They

  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @06:39AM (#44550791)
    is to die.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Um, the whole fucking point is to release the information that could and should cause harm to JSTOR and MIT.

    Oh, it's been redacted. Must be nice to not be one of the peasants like us.


  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @08:20AM (#44551267)

    The first batch reveals that the Feds had indeed been looking into Swartz since the publication of his 2008 'Guerilla Open Access Manifesto,'

    While I appreciate his point of view. He wrote a manifesto specifically desiring to persuade people to break the law, and implying that he had.

    It's impressive and scary that the feds discovered and interpreted this manifesto --- I would of thought it beyond their level of intelligence to be capable of understanding it.

    But it's not surprising or wrong, that he was to be investigated for publishing something so explicitly begging people to break the law and essentially confessing to copyright breaking.

    Expressing such a message is sure to get you extra scrutiny -- that's the way the world works.

    Everything you do after publishing such a document, and anyone anybody can find you've done in the past -- better be on the up-and-up, or you risk arrest.

    And you better be prepared to be found guilty, too; maybe, even if the charges were bogus and contrived by our dark overlords to suppress the throes of rebellion.

  • by runeghost ( 2509522 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:51PM (#44554337)
    Why are these two still employed by the U.S. Government? Ortiz and Hyemann need to pay for their misconduct in this case, preferably by being disbarred for life, and at the least with their careers as U.S. Attorneys. That they are allowed to continue working for the so-called United States Department of Justice is one more indictation of the disfunction and failure of America's legal system.
  • THE OP says that the FBI was looking at Schwartz since 2008 b/c of his manifesto. If you follow the link, it refers you to Wired. The Wired article does not say this. It says they were going to use that 2008 manifesto against him when they prosecuted him.

    If I am mistaken on this, please link me, but I don't think I am.

    It's a big diff. In one case the feds are building a (pathetic) case. In the other one, the feds are starting to track people for exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

    Maybe they do. They have

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