Wednesday, January 16, 2013

America Continues Eating Its Young

From Aaron Swartz' funeral:
In 2011, Swartz was arrested in Boston, charged with 13 felonies, including computer fraud, accused of stealing more than 4 million articles from a computer archive at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Swartz’s indictment said he stole the documents from JSTOR, a subscription service used by MIT that offers digitized copies of articles from academic journals. Prosecutors said he intended to distribute the articles on file-sharing websites.

He was found Friday after he had hanged himself in his New York apartment. He faced 35 years in prison on the charges. He had pleaded not guilty and faced trial in April.

“He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles,” his father said at the funeral.

His activism and what friends claimed his crucifixion at the hands of cruel prosecutors and a heartless MIT bureaucracy have heightened debates about access to academic and other expensive documents online, and about how existing laws make no distinction between malicious and ideological hackers.
"Basic principles" are made to be betrayed, as far as we can determine.

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