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Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:09 PM

Family Of Aaron Swartz: Government Officials Partly To Blame For His Death - MSNBC

Family of Aaron Swartz: Government officials partly to blame for his death
By Isolde Raftery, Staff Writer, NBC News
1/12/13

<snip>

In the 24 hours since Aaron Swartz, a prodigy programmer turned Internet folk hero, hanged himself in his New York apartment, his family and a close friend and mentor have not only expressed devastation – they have been angry.

“Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy,” his family wrote in a statement. “It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”

Swartz, who helped to create RSS at age 14,
was indicted in 2011 on charges alleging he improperly downloaded more than four million articles from JSTOR, an online system for archiving academic journals. Swartz argued for transparency -- JSTOR costs more than $50,000 for an annual university subscription -- but court records show that the federal government believed he had, among other felonies, committed wire fraud and computer fraud and unlawfully obtained information from a protected computer.

JSTOR ultimately backed Swartz. But his family’s statement was unflinchingly critical of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Cambridge, Mass., university where Swartz had allegedly registered a ghost computer to download the records:

Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community's most cherished principles.


Swartz’s family described him as entirely committed to social justice. He helped to defeat an Internet censorship bill and “he used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place.”

Swartz, 26, hanged himself in his New York apartment on Friday, his family confirmed.

Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor who described himself as a mentor and close friend to Swartz, took to Tumblr to express his own raw emotions. He wrote that Swartz's actions may not have been ethical, but the government's response was overly aggressive: http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The “property” Aaron had “stolen,” we were told, was worth “millions of dollars” — with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime. But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.


<snip>

More: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/12/16485181-family-of-aaron-swartz-government-officials-partly-to-blame-for-his-death?lite






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Reply Family Of Aaron Swartz: Government Officials Partly To Blame For His Death - MSNBC (Original post)
WillyT Jan 2013 OP
tblue Jan 2013 #1
WillyT Jan 2013 #2
kag Jan 2013 #4
abelenkpe Jan 2013 #10
starroute Jan 2013 #14
Th1onein Jan 2013 #23
Ninga Jan 2013 #3
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #5
GoCubsGo Jan 2013 #9
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #25
alcibiades_mystery Jan 2013 #13
JVS Jan 2013 #17
truedelphi Jan 2013 #6
malaise Jan 2013 #7
WillyT Jan 2013 #15
malaise Jan 2013 #18
NPolitics1979 Jan 2013 #8
99th_Monkey Jan 2013 #11
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #12
green for victory Jan 2013 #16
WillyT Jan 2013 #19
WillyT Jan 2013 #20
WillyT Jan 2013 #21
WillyT Jan 2013 #22
alittlelark Jan 2013 #24

Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:24 PM

1. Oh my gosh!

I didn't know anything about any of this. Heartbreaking! Our values -- our government's anyway -- are totally effed up. We put people in prison for sharing information while torturers, war profiteers, and corrupt financiers remain free as a bird.

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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:27 PM

2. + 1,000,000,000... What You Said !!!


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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:57 PM

4. Absolutely! Very well said!

How very sad for his family.

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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:06 PM

10. Crazy isn't it?

Could not have said it better

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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:35 PM

14. There's a White House petition you could sign

We petition the obama administration to:

Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-united-states-district-attorney-carmen-ortiz-office-overreach-case-aaron-swartz/RQNrG1Ck

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Response to starroute (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:03 AM

23. Thank you, starroute! I just signed that sucker!

I am SICK of this shit.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:39 PM

3. I watched Chris Hayes this morning tell the story of his friend, Aaron, choke up. America has been

hijacked, extremists of all stripes have gained too much control.

So so sorry and sad for his family who certainly loved, appreciated and were proud of Aaron's history making contributions....

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:06 PM

5. The scholarly articles on JSTOR are available free in university and even some public libraries.

The scholars write them for the most part not for profits but for academic and scholarly reasons.

Why should we have to pay so much to get access to them on the internet?

I have so often read an interesting abstract only to find I cannot read the article without traveling to a library or paying for the privilege of reading it. That is ridiculous. Surely it does not cost that much to upload the articles. They are the internet anyway in any event.

I wonder how much the authors of the articles are paid from the subscriptions to JSTOR and the journals themselves -- not much if anything, I suspect.

Wikipedia performs an enormous public service and does it on donations offering its store of information at no cost to internet users.

What is the story on JSTOR? Why do they make their publications so inaccessible to those of us who would read an article now and then but not often enough to justify a subscription?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:38 PM

9. The authors are paid nothing.

I speak from experience. I am quite happy to allow anyone to read publications with my name on them for free. Hell, I'll even send you copies of the whole lot of them in PDF. That's how it's always been. We used to send and receive reprint requests via post card or letter. The reprints were paid for by the university or by one's grants, as was the postage. I don't know what is the deal with JSTOR, but they are not the only such company. EBESCO and ProQuest are two others who deal in academic publications.

Some state systems will open their university libraries to everyone in the state, but it's via schools, universities, and libraries. They are the only way to get a password.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:32 PM

25. The JSTOR documents on the internet should be freely accessible to everyone.

Apparently you can sign up for an account and access a few documents at a time, but the rules are very strange. I gather (and I could be wrong) that you cannot get the latest editions of articles.

I understand that editing and assembling journals costs money, but it seems to me that the journals generally are sponsored by universities or other organizations. It also seems to me that disseminating the information in the journal should be the primary goal not only of the journals but also of JSTOR.

If Wikipedia can do it, JSTOR can too.

JSTOR has a vast reservoir of information that should be available to the public without cost to the readers. Of all things, it should have public support and be free in my opinion.

We enjoy TED talks. We access those for free on the internet. Why should we have to go to a library to access articles that could be easily made available on the internet?

Why not go to the library? Because most people work during library hours. Also, when we read online we save the environment. When we go to a library and copy an article, we help destroy the environment. Save the trees. Save paper. Put these articles online, please.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:20 PM

13. I have articles on JSTOR

I can assure you that academic authors are not paid a red cent for most peer reviewed journal publications, much less for the aggregators and databases like JSTOR. That said, JSTOR does provide a valuable service for people like me who do research using the articles in their database.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:53 PM

17. Why is it ridiculous that you should travel to a library?

Also, for my public library I can access these by using a library card online.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:08 PM

6. Meanwhile the very criminals that imploded the economy are still

heading the same banks and financial firms (for the most part) that they headed back in 2008.

A shame we have a DOJ that is more interested in people like Schwartz than in people like Jaimie Diman.

And please don't tell me taht these crooks haven't been indicted because there isn't any proof of wrong doing. "Sixty Minutes" took the time to run an expanded segment showing that even when whistle blowers came forward with the needed documents to indict the top executives, DOJ was not interested.

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Response to malaise (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:52 PM

15. Wow... Thank You For That...

This article was amended on 13 January 2013. It originally stated that prosecutors accused Swartz of stealing scientific journals from a computer archive and making them freely available. Swartz in fact never made the articles available to the public.


From your link...


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Response to WillyT (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:54 PM

18. Yes indeed

Real sad

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:30 PM

8. We need to pass a federal constitutional Amendent banning Prosecutors both federal or state from

seeking elected office. We should give Judges the power to dismiss the charges against the defendant who are accused of non violent crimes against big corporations.
We need to have an outside commission that investigates prosecutors for overzealous prosecution based on corporate bribery.

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:11 PM

11. From the Department of Sad, but True

I hope they sue and get millions, for the record.

So greed is the only acceptable motive for doing things anymore?

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:16 PM

12. He knowingly broke the law as an activist AS HE HAD IN THE PAST. In the past he got away with it.

This time he didn't.

As an activist who knowingly breaks the law, he should have known that prosecution and possible jail time are possible.ACTIVISTS DO WHAT THEY DO KNOWING THEY MAY FACE JAIL. That's the part of activism he apparently didn't seem to comprehend. Or maybe he did...

Apparently he suffered suicidal depression for years. It's a sorrow he didn't get the help he needed for that depression and was living in such pain.


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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:53 PM

16. has it been reported yet if he was taking antidepressants?

 

His suicide shouldn't be surprising to anyone if he was taking SSRI drugs because the drugs come with a warning that says

"Antidepressants increased the risk...of suicidal thinking and behavior"



It says it right there. No one should be wondering why there is an increase in military suicides either for this same reason.

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Response to green for victory (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:59 PM

19. ...

Swartz regularly blogged about his own life on the website aaronsw.com. In a post written in January 2007, he discussed the nature of suicide.

"There is a moment, immediately before life becomes no longer worth living, when the world appears to slow down and all its myriad details suddenly become brightly, achingly apparent," he wrote.

His funeral is due to take place on Tuesday in Illinois.


From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jan/13/aaron-swartz-family-mit-government

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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 07:27 PM

20. Evening Kick !!!


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Response to WillyT (Reply #20)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:46 PM

21. Night-Time Kick !!!


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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:51 PM

22. Good For You... NBC Nightly News...

And thank you for putting this story out, and with some sensitivity.


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Response to WillyT (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:11 AM

24. RIP - he was decades ahead of the rest of us...

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