Though it’s not the posthumous complete reprieve from the crimes he’d been accused of that his followers, friends, and family had wished for, Aaron Swartz’s court case has been dismissed due to his death. The man known as Aaron Swartz was found to have ended his own life just this past week, his legacy of pushing for freedom of information appearing very much to be living on in his wake. The announcement this week from the US District Court stops the case that accused Swartz of involvement in the theft of digital documents from JSTOR, a journal archive, a case where he faced decades in prison time if found guilty.
Though JSTOR declined to prosecute and “urged the government to drop the case” according to CNN, Swartz was going to be tried for “wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer.”
Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist and a senior policy analyst at the ACLU, summed up the situation as follows:
“These are the kinds of things you’d assume the government would use in a serious hacking case — identity theft, millions of credit card numbers stolen, hacking into protected government databases or corporate networks. Aaron was accused of downloading too many articles from a website that anyone connected to the MIT network could log into.”
I personally would like to see charges brought against the self-serving monsters who pushed this case. That would send a major message to any prosecutor even thinking about overreaching on cases like this.