Feeds

back to article Judge orders redacted Aaron Swartz prosecution docs to be revealed

A US judge has ordered that documents from the criminal hacking case against internet activist Aaron Swartz should be unsealed, after they've been redacted by MIT and JSTOR. Swartz took his own life in January just ahead of the trial over the theft of academic articles from online reference library JSTOR using a computer at the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

It's something.

This stinks (what they did to Aaron) on its face. Anything or anybody that lifts rocks is likely to show what monsters his tormentors were.

I am torn about redacting names, especially of the people who had and excersized power to harm Aaron. They are sure as hell morally culpable for my money. Anyone with a lick of moral decency would know the charges were improper and excessive. However, I am very reluctant to say that the state should go against principle to reveal more than is strictly proper.

We *do* have some idea of the name of the person ultimately responsible for the ferocity of the legal assault on Aaron . Anyone who can reasonably do so should lodge a complaint against that person. Someone whose judgment is that severely flawed does not belong in that kind of position of power.

7
4
PT

Re: It's something.

While the assault in this particular case can probably be attributed to one person, unfortunately this kind of prosecutorial overreach is ubiquitous throughout the US "justice" system. Persons with such flawed judgement not only belong, but advance rapidly in their careers, by carrying out exactly this kind of ferocious assault - providing it results in the patsy taking the plea.

6
1
Silver badge
Meh

Re: It's something.

Uncomfortable is it is, I can understand the need to protect witnesses.

However

If redacting the names also means redacting the information then the whole exercise in openess is futile. One other point is that it would not be necessary to redact information corresponding to those who have already been outed in the press.

It's always easy to make the rules when you are in charge.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: It's something.

Protecting "Witnesses"?? What witnesses?

This is solely about blocking out the names of anyone who thought they could fuck up someone's life for political gain, and is now terrified of the political loss if their names are released.

Cretins, the lot of them.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

<tinfoil>

My only concern is; Have a bunch of "your" people make threats that result in those involved having their names redacted "for their safety".

</tinfoil>

Re Aaron Swartz: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/13/03/life-inside-the-aaron-swartz-investigation/273654/

2
0
Black Helicopters

re: <tinfoil>

Hey, is there room under that hat for two?

I read 'http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/13/03/life-inside-the-aaron-swartz-investigation/273654/'...

'A week before the Secret Service came to the door, my car was rear-ended by a school bus. The car itself was totaled,...'

Hmm, coincidence...?

0
1
Anonymous Coward

The real villains

are the legislators who continue to further the separation of law and justice.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

The only time a witnesses name should be redacted is a rape case, for obvious reasons.

If you have nothing to hide, then hide nothing.

0
5

How naive...

and how ironic that you posted as AC.

8
0
Bronze badge
Holmes

"Theft"?

Aaron Swartz was legally entitled to those documents, so in what sense could this be described as "theft"?

1
1
Bronze badge

Redact not!

From the article it appears that MIT and JStor want names redacted so their owners can be free of the consequences of their statements and actions. I don't see any justice in this: those statements and actions led, perhaps without intending to do so, to terrible consequences. Let the names out, and let the public censure and shunning begin. If protection is necessary it should fall on the Federal government that kept the Swartz prosecution going beyond all reason.

6
1

Clear as mud

The "transparency" buzz word is heard plenty these days. What is transparent, is the lack of it.

1
1

Re: Clear as mud

Agreed. One thing that's clear to me though, is that who ever is receiving or printing theses documents had better be well stocked in toner cartridges.

1
1

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Re: What goes around...

"Manning up for his crimes"?

People have had lesser sentences for rape or murder than he was being threatened with!

3
1
Silver badge
Meh

Re: What goes around...

Silly comment from you about the chickens way out, I'm assuming you are trolling to feed your immature self importance. Still you are obviously not a 'chicken ' are you? Hiding behind your @AC. Still there are morons in all walks of life that we have to put up with.

Many people suffer from depression brought on by internal and external factors. When a coping system breaks down it can have significant implications as it did here.

2
1
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: What goes around...should be applied to you personally and professionally dipwad!

Coward, It is exactly people like you that are the problem with American Society in general. Are you sure you are not Matt B? You sure sound and write like him. You are indeed clueless and especially ignorant.

Obviously, you must be of such mettle that you do not suffer any health issues.

Given all the recent evidence of prosecutorial overreach in other recent cases, the IRS singling out a particular anti-conservative viewpoint in granting tax exempt status etc etc then it is all the more imortant that we as a people reject the idea that the DOJ can use it's powers against a citizen in what amounts to a case of free speech versus freedom of access to publicly funded information.

To use ones psychological infirmities against a defendant is the same as the KGB did under Stalin and the SS did under Hitler. It was not fair play then and could not be considered to be fair play today, especially in a US Court.

Perhaps you should know that the IRS will have direct access to your health records under Obama Care and will now be able to use the diagnosis of a mental issue against you in court in the same way that it was against Aaron Swartz.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Many people suffer from depression

Don't give me that line of crap. The prosecutor wasn't responsible for his depression. If it effected his ability to answer the charges, he should have disclosed that to his defense attorney and his defense attorney should have been responsible for taking the proper legal actions.

I've been depressed (including suicidal thoughts) and hospitalized for it, so don't give me any of that 'you have no idea what he was going through' bullshit either. I manned up and got through it. Because he's dead he's getting the sympathy vote, not reasoned thinking.

0
4
Bronze badge
Devil

Re: Many people suffer from depression

No, the Chief Prostituter was responsible for delivering actual justice, not a vendetta (DOJ already had mud on their face for a case they lost against Swartz for a nearly identical issue).

In the US we have a principle that is supposed guide the hand of justice saying that the punishment must fit the crime. In this case there was gross miscarraige of justice for sure.

When JSTOR ultimately declined to prosecute and backed out, DOJ SHOULD have dropped all the charges because constitutionally speaking if there is no accuser, there is no longer a crime. Swartz had legal authorized access to all the files at JSTOR and to MIT, the only "hacking" he did was write a script that allowed them all to be downloaded consecutively. If he had done them one at a time there could have been no case. Really, how could that have been considered criminal if it were not for prosecutorial overreach?

Not everyone is as iron assed as you are and certainly no one can truly speak for the dead. Considering that the DOJ made use of his well known depression (that disclosure is part of the records) to put undue influence on him (because they can) and he and his parents were almost bankrupt from the defense costs, there may have been greater pressure on him than any normal person could have tolerated. This was not "the chicken way out", as depression supersedes the ability to think rationally.

The fact the the Chief Prostituter was also running for elected office and she was looking for a "win" obviously made "winning at any and all costs" a requirement.

I hope God gives her "Karmic Retribution" like no one in history.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Many people suffer from depression

@Dan Paul

Good for you.

I also read the article at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/13/03/life-inside-the-aaron-swartz-investigation/273654/

Overreach is an understatement.

If I were in the correct jurisdiction, I would look into convening a grand jury to investigate whether or not to prosecute the responsible parties.

Regardless of what professionals do, they have a 'duty of care'. The power they wield does not come without responsibility.

The prosecutors knew that Aaron was particularly vulnerable. However, even if they did not know, they still bear responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

There is a principle of law that I know as the 'thin skull principle': "This rule holds one liable for all consequences resulting from his or her tortious (usually negligent) activities leading to an injury to another person, even if the victim suffers an unusually high level of damage (e.g. due to a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition). The term implies that if a person had a skull as delicate as that of the shell of an egg, and a tortfeasor who was unaware of the condition injured that person's head, causing the skull unexpectedly to break, the defendant would be held liable for all damages resulting from the wrongful contact, even if the tortfeasor did not intend to cause such a severe injury."

Aaron Swartz died pursuant to improper use of prosecutorial discretion. There may be some immunity that comes with being a prosecutor or with exercising some other public duty. However, it is not and cannot be without limit. I am very much of the opinion that this particular group of government employees stepped way, way, way over the line. There is an excellent argument for their culpability.

I was born in the 1950s and so have a sense of entitilement to basic rights such as habeus corpus, due process, etc. Sometime, while my generation was not looking, following generations seem to have been convinced that the rights of the state necessarily trump their own. They do not. The state *has* no rights. It has duties and the power to carry them out, *only* at *our* discretion. It is our servant, not our master.

We all of us have a duty to speak up when things go so horribly wrong as they have here. “When truth is replaced by silence,the silence is a lie.” ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

George Orwell wrote about where we are going more than sixty years ago. He was a tiny bit off on the 'when', but chillingly accurate on the 'what' and maybe even the 'why':

"Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."

"The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything."

"There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science."

"There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."

"We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable."

-- Nineteen-Eighty-Four, George Orwell

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: I hope God gives her "Karmic Retribution" like no one in history.

I feel that bitch deserves the same recognition by history as Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels; along with numerous other swine.

0
0

"Although the public has expressed a strong interest in the investigation and prosecution of Mr Swartz, that fact does not bestow upon his estate the right to disclose criminal discovery materials…"

The kid is *dead*.

If I had been close to him, if I had anything to do with his estate, 'disclose and be damned' would be the order of the day.

6
1
Bronze badge

'disclose and be damned' ?

'disclose and be threatened with disproportionate punishment', surely?

1
1
Silver badge
FAIL

Any country who sentences someone to life, no parole, for stealing a slice of pizza ...

or a pair or $2.50 socks is nuts at best, given the daily cost of jail.

The US has the highest world population, per capita, of incarceration, too.

And the very self-same country declares itself to be the leading defender of human rights ad protector of the poor.

Utter crap.

2
1
This topic is closed for new posts.