back to article Anger grows over the death of Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz's death has sent shockwaves through the internet community, but among the mourning and tributes there's a growing undercurrent of anger that an enormously gifted young man may have been hounded to his death. Aaron Swartz Swartz speaking against SOPA/PIPA last year Swartz, who helped write the RSS standard at …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Turing

    Swartz

    if only we could get rid of the psychopaths and control freaks in authority, what a world we could build.

    1. koolholio
      Thumb Up

      Whilst I whole heartedly agree with that, it would need some sort of 'structure'... maybe built around a little bit of common sense?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

      In Turing's case, he was a brilliant man that served his country, made massive advances in computing, yet was punished for what was then illegal homosexual activities. I fully support the idea of a posthumous pardon for Turing and think he should be awarded for his work. I'm sorry, but Swartz does not compare, if only because he was not persecuted for his sexual activities (if anything he seems to have been bi-confused). Even his work on RSS was based on that of others, particularly Apple and Netscape, IIRC, and in no way compare to Turing's achievements. Schwartz gets brownie points with the LOIC fodder for claiming to have killed SOPA - big deal. Again, not his work alone. This drive to venerate him and at the same time "punish those responsible" for his committing suicide is missing the glaringly obvious - Swartz had been depressed for a long time and had talked of suicide long, long before the JSTOR incident.

      I have known people that have been extremely depressed to the point of suicide, and it does not have to be something major that eventually triggers the act. A very old friend that had lived with depression for over twenty years one day went upstairs and hung himself, having accidentally broken a family heirloom. For him it was the last straw of guilt, having beaten himelf up for years thinking what a burden he had become to his family, that finally broke the camel's back. Aaron Swartz could have gone to trial, won, and still hung himself afterwards. His family will want to blame someone, it is only natural to do so as if you can't blame an outsider then the guilt will eat at you, but at some point they're going to have to face the fact that Aaron Swartz killed Aaron Swartz because Aaron Swartz decided he did not want to go on living.

      Let the down votes roll in, those without experience of friends or family going through depression or suicide will shriek as they are told to.

      1. Naughtyhorse
        Facepalm

        Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

        i got about 2 sentences in before looking at the by line

        All Realy Stupid Ejaculations Have One Logical Explaination....

        matt bryant said it

        final thought

        what have _you_ ever accomplished, and who will miss you when you are gone?

        0 for 2

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          And there's the cheerleader of the LOIC fodder!

          "i got about 2 sentences in before looking at the by line...." I'm impressed you managed that much alone, you are a shining example of what remedial reading can achieve.

          "......All Realy Stupid Ejaculations Have One Logical Explaination...." And what great and eloquent arguments you bring - not! I'm betting it's not even your original work.

          "......matt bryant said it......" And you have failed in this opportunity to state some counter thought or provide any insight, but that would appear to be beyond you. Usual fail!

          "....final thought...." I would suggest you and thought are such rare coincidentals that even one original thought would be too much for you.

          ".....what have _you_ ever accomplished....." You'll never know, but it's probably going to really wind you up to say I don't think I'll be ending my days by hanging myself.

          "......and who will miss you when you are gone?" Well, seeing as I shall be past caring why should I worry? I already have years of "positive feedback" from friends, family and colleagues. But I'm not the self-centered type that wants dozens of people crying at my graveside, I'd rather they were happily getting on with their lives.

          Enjoy!

        2. Zolko
          Pint

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          @ Naughtyhorse : "I got about 2 sentences in before looking at the by line ... Matt Bryant"

          yup. Interesting how predictable some writers are. It's the same with Tim Worstal or Lewis Page articles (although Lewis Page's are at least funny)

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Zolko Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

            ".....Interesting how predictable some writers are...." Also laughable how predictable some of the frothing posts are in response.

          2. JimC

            Re: how predictable some writers are

            I'd submit that most opinionated writers are reasonably predictable. In the unlikely event that anyone thinks what I have to say is interesting enough to monitor my opinions they'd be able to predict that I am pro creators rights and individual responsibility, cynical about my employers, and exasperated by unthinking acceptance of the spirit of the age. Oh, and very musch against big advertising in general and G*****e in particular.

            Couldn't it be argued that the only type of writer who is truly unpredictable is the Troll who has no interest in the rights and wrongs of anything, but is only intent on provoking a reaction from the folk they exasperate? Even then though most trolls seem to have particular favourite target subjects... I suppose its hardly suprising they lack the imagination to be able to troll from utterly different points of view in order to target very different victims.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Naughtyhorse

          "what have _you_ ever accomplished"

          He seems to have accomplished enough to understand that contributing to the development of RSS in no way compares either in difficulty or importance to decrypting German military codes in World War II; and that's an understanding, by the way, which seems to be far beyond -you-.

          1. SYNTAX__ERROR
            Mushroom

            Matt Bryant

            Today you deserve commendations for thoroughly removing any respect I had for your opinions and contributions to this site.

            You are a horrible, self-important, opinionated and bigoted individual.

            I hope that one day you should find yourself in need of the support of others, and maybe you will see the error of your ways.

            1. asdf Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Matt Bryant

              >one day you should find yourself in need of the support of others

              Based on what an unapologetic HP shill he is, that time might be coming sooner than he realizes.

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Matt Bryant

              ".....any respect I had for your opinions...." Get in line, there are a dozen frothing freetards already not adding anything to the thread ahead of you.

              ".....You are a horrible...." Hmmm, debateable. "..... self-important...." Well, you could argue that one man's self-importance is another man's self-confidence, but that would require the ability to reason, and frothing insults appears to be your limits. ".... opinionated....." Do you mean as in opinions that disagree with your own but you cannot formulate a suitable counter-argument? Exactly which one of us is the "loser" if it is you that can only bandy insults? "..... and bigoted individual....." Exactly how is it bigoted to simply state Aaron Swartz's own opinion that he did not want to be classified "gay"? Are you calling Swartz a bigot too? Careful, the Anons will be DDoSing you any minute if you criticise One of The Martyrs!

              ".....I hope that one day you should find yourself in need of the support of others...." Ah, how twee, he's cursing me like some wannabe Gypsy Rose! I won't do the same as it's unlikely you'll ever wander far enough from your keyboard to discover the real World.

            3. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Andrew Moore

        Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

        Still, suicide is an incredibly selfish act that leaves a lot of family and friends utterly bereft.

        1. Steven Raith
          Stop

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          Andrew Moore - having been there, and come close enough on a couple of occasions, in hindsight, yes it is a selfish act. Took a full blown nervous breakdown, and two years of psychotherapy and having some good friends who were prepared to stick with me through some truly horrific times (hint - depressed and suicidal people are not generally sociable beyond a surface level) to get me clear of that state of mind and realise that.

          I don't feel guilty about it - my head was a complete mess through stress, anxiety, and various other contributing factors in my life history that made me conclude that I was the biggest see-you-next-tuesday (phonetecise it yourself, I'd rather not risk this post getting moderated out due to swearing) walking on the earth, and that I deserved to die, and everyone would be better off without me. I don't see why I should feign guilt or shame because I was messed up in the head. Not much I could do about it at the time. Might as well say someone should feel guilty because they got cancer from doing, according to the tabloid press, anything. Stuff that.

          Back to the depression itself and suicide specifically, unless you have been to that point, it's impossible to describe the utter, gut wrenching, mind numbing pain, fear, guilt and self-hatred that leads to that. It is about as close to a genuine living hell as an average person could get to. Even worse, quite often it can be wholly irrational. The closest I can describe is imagining yourself holding on the inside rim of a volcano, trying to scrabble up as the lava rises to meet you and you're being burned by the heat, and never being able to get a handhold. Get the concept of that sort of raw, rabid panic, the inevitability of it, that nothing you can do can stop what's about to happen.

          I'm still generally depressed, and have major low points a couple of times a year (and I'm not talking about feeling a bit down in the dumps - I'm talking about days where I literally dread leaving the house, or even getting out of bed) but not as bad as I used to be. If you've never been to the stage where suicide genuinely seems like the only way out, I'll swear on my mothers grave that I genuinely hope you (the collective you, rather than you specifically) never do.

          Steven R

          PS: If you have been affected by the contents of this post (sounds like an after school special, eh?) then dip into some psychology books - start with the soft-core 'dealing with anxiety/depression' types, and then move up to more scholarly stuff. Learning how your own brain works is A: fascinating and B: very useful in terms of devising coping strategies, recognising mental loops and culdesacs leading to circular paths of doom and how to break out of them, etc. I still refer back to them these days, very helpful stuff.

          And if you are definitely feeling proper shitty, go see your GP. Sounds like a copout, but at least if you do something untoward, there's a record of it somewhere, and you're more likely to get some kind of treatment. NHS Psychology wards are surprisingly good, and no, they don't section you on sight, and if they do, it's almost certainly for a good reason. Because think about it, if you're so rubbish, why would they want you hanging around? (that's a little joke to my depressive cohorts, ho ho :-) )

          PPS: Ironically, I work in customer service and am generally seen a terribly jovial chap. Fifteen years of depression makes you an amazing actor....

          1. Nanki Poo
            Thumb Up

            Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

            @Steven Raith

            You wrote my post for me. Thanks. And with you there.

            @Matt Bryant

            I think you have obviously encountered a particular type of suicidal person. They actually have different triggers, different reasons, different troughs.

            You have the 'permanently depressed' the swings and those who can go most of their lives then suddenly start suffering. They're all very different and often have different origins. From your last rsponse I feel surprised at you declaration of experience, no offence.

            And incidentally, does it make it right if the authorities heavy-handed him when he apparently had a history of suicidal tendencies? In my book that would make it a lot worse . . .

            nK

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: @ Hanki Poo Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

              ".....does it make it right if the authorities heavy-handed him....." The law needs to be applied to all. For all the authorities knew, he could have been faking, you need to get to the stage of actual legal proceedings and court before you can produce evidence of mitigating circumstances such as psychiatric records. Swartz seems to have taken the exit before that could happen. What is alarming is that his family and friends do not seem to have caught on to the self-destructive nature of his actions and the possible cry for help therein. With hindsight (admitedly always 20-20), it is not hard to realise that Swartz was looking for a confrontation over the JSTOR affair. The awful possibility is those around him didn't see the signs but instead patted him on the back and said "Great idea, that's one for the poor/freetards/revolution!", rather than saying "Dude, what's driving you to do this?"

            2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

              Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

              They decided to have a heavy hand becasue he was threatening the system.

              Remember Sony rooting ppls computers? It seems you han hack 100.000s of computers and get a fine, but hack a university and get 50 years... suspicious...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Steven Raith

            Brilliant post! I also found http://anxietynomore.co.uk helpful when i was going through my own episodes...

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

            @ Stephen Raith

            For me it came courtesy of the missus... then took career, financial security (obviously), "future", swathe of friends (It's surprising how much outstandingly embarrassing & alienating self-destructive shit you can get under your belt along with the mundane mechanically dangerous self-destructive shit), etc. The usual stuff probably.

            Also, my particular "the utter, gut wrenching, mind numbing pain, fear, guilt and self-hatred" would have said hopelessness in place of fear. The fear came later for me... I had to begin to care again to find that.

            Other than those two little differences though, quite. Word perfect. I suspect it's always slightly different yet always basically the same. Those who've never experienced it don't seem to have much understanding. Reasonably enough.

            Thank you for your post.

          4. EyeCU

            Re: Steven Raith

            Thank you. Sometimes just hearing someone else saying exactly what you think/feel is enough to keep you going.

          5. Steven Raith

            Holy shit

            72 upvotes at the last count - that helps offset the RAGE I got after misinterpreting the locked bootloader affair a few months ago, eh?

            I'm guessing other than getting general agreement from people, I appear to have, for want of a better phrase, touched a few people. Good stuff. I was (genuinely) expecting a more negative response, or possibly even to be moderated out given how blunt and personal I was about it all.

            Mental illness - painful, vicious, fascinating stuff.

            Cheers all. That's made my day.

            Steven R

            PS: I've seen a couple of people elsewhere mention that Swartz 'chose' to commit suicide.

            Trust me, it's not a choice - it's a last resort.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Holy shit

              You are not alone

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Holy shit

              "...... I've seen a couple of people elsewhere mention that Swartz 'chose' to commit suicide. Trust me, it's not a choice - it's a last resort." Whilst it may be a last resort, Aaron Swartz still chose to take that last resort. He put the noose round his own neck and hung himself. it is far from reality to state that the prosecutor "murdered" Swartz, which is what the more frothing ranters have claimed here and on other forums on the Web.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Meh

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          "Still, suicide is an incredibly selfish act that leaves a lot of family and friends utterly bereft."

          That's certainly one point of view.

          But let me suggest that for those who do it is is a) A form of communication b) The last move they can make.

          They feel that their is no effective way to express themselves even to those closest to them. For some even having a twin sibling is not a close enough person to know or trust to confide in.

          For others they feel their life has not not worked out (no that has nothing to do with objective reality) and they cannot see a way forward, only a way out.

          BTW for those of you thinking "I'm too tough/smart/successful/rich" to ever feel this way perhaps you should also add lucky. Some people have never had a bad patch and it's under those kinds of stress they find out if they will stay afloat or go under. That's when Mr "I'm the master of the universe, everyone loves me" gets found in their million dollar apartment having added some aircon to their skull.

          So please tell me that you can't understand this behavior and they're all selfish cowards with no balls and you'd never do such a thing.

          But tell me it when it's 3am in your place and you've been fired from your job, you long term partner has walked out on you, the cops are closing in with a maximum jail term measured in centuries and the person you feel closest to you in the whole world just died.

          I'd suggest your understanding may have improved somewhat although you'll wish it hadn't.

        4. squigbobble
          Meh

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          In case Ste Raith's treatise was too long for you to digest, here's the short version: Suicidal people think they're doing everyone a favour by eliminating themselves from the world so that they're not inflicting their selves/habits/needs/whatever on those around them. From their perspective, it's a generous act.

          It's a mental illness, y'know, people tend to think differently when they have one. Clinical depression causes people to be hyperintrospective so they're stuck in a loop thinking about is how shitty they are, this is why they appear selfish 'cos they tend to go on about I/me/myself a lot. Abnormally prevalent use of I/me/myself is a clinical symptom of depression.

          For anyone that hasn't been there I found a fairly accessible, if horribly cheesy example of what the inside of your head can sound like when you're depressed; skip to 1:15 in this vid- http://youtu.be/zTmChp7fBkw

          That sort of shit goes off when you're tired, stressed, your concentration wanders, somet' bad happens and at other random times. Whacking your head with a sword would stop it and be tempting, too.

          1. The First Dave Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

            @squigbobble

            From experience, suicidal tendancies are entirely selfish, those afflicted believe that it is the only way out, the only way for them to end whatever personal pain they are in. Generous may apply to those considering euthanasia, but that is entirely different.

            1. squigbobble
              Meh

              Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

              That can be true too, I generalised too much. Everyone's experience of mental illness is framed by their own mindset and whatever else is floating around in there so people will arrive at different rationalisations for the same impulse. I thought that, on the whole, people would be happier that I wasn't around to annoy them and clutter their lives but, in time, I decided that it would be more fitting to go on living with my suffering in order to punish myself for existing. That's mentalist* logic for you.

              Eventually I worked out that, as a thinking disease, thinking about being depressed and depressing shit in general made it worse. Waffling about this is fucking depressing :|

              *Not the high-concept cop drama

              This might be off-topic but at least it's not an argument about pistol calibres.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          Steven Raith said it all. Though I would have sworn a lot more at you in general.

          Having been there and done that (though only attempted)

          America, land of the free... My ar$e.

        6. supermoore
          Stop

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          Just for those who come on this site and know me, this ^^^ isn't me by the way.

        7. sisk Silver badge

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          Still, suicide is an incredibly selfish act that leaves a lot of family and friends utterly bereft.

          Suicide is a symptom of the disease that is severe depression. Many suicidal people honestly believe that their family and friends will be better off without them and so think that they are doing the world a favor by offing themselves. There's nothing selfish about that mindset. It's merely misguided.

          And yes, I'm well aware that there are many people who don't consider depression a disease. Having been far too up close to the end result of the refusal to think of depression as a disease for comfort I have to disagree with those people.

      3. seraphim
        Facepalm

        Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

        Turing: A brilliant man, facing unjust punishments from a ludicrous law, took his own life.

        Swartz: A brilliant man, facing unjust punishments from a ludicrous law, took his own life.

        Yes, utterly ridiculous to compare the two cases, isn't it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          I'm not convinced intellect is necessarily applicable or relevant here but something else is... and the disturbing similarity of the cases, together with the *universal* nature of this new threat are perhaps more apparent without it:

          Turing: A man, facing unjust punishments from a ludicrous law criminalizing a private, victimless act, took his own life.

          Swartz: A man, facing unjust punishments from a ludicrous law criminalizing a private, victimless act, took his own life.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          "Swartz: A brilliant man, facing unjust punishments from a ludicrous law, took his own life."

          If his "brilliance" consisted of writing the RSS spec, that's pretty trivial. But some people have rather low standards of birilliance.

          1. ishaqx

            Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

            "If his "brilliance" consisted of writing the RSS spec, that's pretty trivial. But some people have rather low standards of birilliance."

            It's not that he wrote the spec, but more at the age he wrote it. Besides, his activism and pursuits for noble causes - in particular - at such a young age lend more to his brilliance than co-authoring the RSS specs.

            1. Turtle

              Not a single "noble cause"

              "his activism and pursuits for noble causes"

              He supported no noble causes. As far as I can tell, all his "causes" played into the hands of Big Tech, and their need to avoid paying for content. Cf the picture of him and the Google shill Lessig from the Google-funded Berkman Center; his involvement with the Google-funded Creative Commons which has worked out new licenses which make it easier for tech and other companies to use people's work without having to pay for it; his involvement with the Google-organized and Google-financed campaign against SOPA and PIPA; and his general involvement with the "freedom of information" movement: if information is free, then the people who create or discover that information better enjoy working "for free" because the only income that free information is going to generate is going to be generated by Google ads on a webpage somewhere.

              Nor do I classify "Reddit" as a "noble cause". I classify it as a "cesspool". You know, "Violentacrez" and all that...

              Now if you know of Swartz' support of actual "noble causes" that offset his support and activism in campaigns organized by Big Tech and which only benefit the extremely narrow group of extremely wealthy people who own those companies to the detriment and harm of the huge numbers of individuals that create the "information" that Swartz and Big Tech think ought to be "free" then please feel "free" to enumerate those noble causes.

              Because to me, he looks like a tool of Big Tech. And judging by some of the comments on this (and other threads) and highly inflated eulogies elsewhere, he is about to become an even bigger tool of Big Tech.

              1. JimC

                Re: Not a single "noble cause"

                Oh no, I wouldn't accuse Lessig of being a shill, merely a useful idiot. A sort of George Bernard Shaw of intellectual property. If one is naive enough one may be funded by the bad guys and still retain one's innocence.

        3. ja

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          Turing did (arguably) save civilization from Hitler.

      4. croc

        Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

        Sometimes you do tend to come off as a complete ass. This is one of those times. You should have just stayed in bed this morning, done us all a favor. Speaking of favors...

        Where's my middle finger icon when it is needed?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Comparing Turing to Swartz? Complete FAIL!

          "Sometimes you do tend to come off as a complete ass....." We're all entitled to an opinion. If you actually added to the debate then I might even be able to formulate an opinion of you higher than a disparaging "pffft". Of course, it is highly probable you're just another of those that had never even heard of Aaron Swartz before today but are happilly signing his greatness now. If you want a favour, try joining in the debate.

    3. Johan Bastiaansen
      Devil

      A solution

      Name and shame the bastards and their minions. If that doesn't help, eliminated physically.

      We outnumber them, if a few decent men take down a rat each, they'll soon be hiding in the sewers where they belong.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good God...

      The audacity of the man! Who did he think he was: Attempting to bulk download copies of scientific papers he was entitled to download, without first obtaining the correct docket from The Ministry of Information. Miniluv must despatch The Thought Police immediately to round up his friends, family and passing acquaintances. They could well have been contaminated with his dangerous doublethink. They must be all be sent extraordinarily rendered to room 101 Gitmo immediately for essential correction. This subversion must not be tolerated. We are at war with paedophilia Eurasia terrorism Eastasia copyright infringement piracy. We have always been at war with copyright infringement terrorism Eastasia paedophilia Eurasia piracy.

      On a slightly less sarcastic note... I can't help thinking that sticking something along the lines of "sleep 5" into his loop could have saved him a lot of hassle.

      Oh and FUCKWITTED hack: At the prices JSTOR was charging for the research papers, technically Swartz stole millions of dollars-worth of goods, although had he downloaded each one individually no laws would have been broken. JSTOR itself declined to press charges, indeed it opened its archives up for free on Wednesday in an unrelated move.

      STOP! Before you get too engrossed in your self-righteous defaming of the dead: Swartz allegedly stole millions of dollars-worth of goods, although had he downloaded each one individually no laws would have been broken. JSTOR itself declined to press charges, indeed it opened its archives up for free on Wednesday in an unrelated move.

      He:

      1. Hadn't stolen anything

      2. Had been charged with thoughtcrimes but not (yet) convicted.

      I realise that with the involvement of Miniluv, Point 2 becomes a mere formality (and point 1 becomes irrelevant) but nevertheless, perhaps it's a formality you might consider observing in respect of the dead?

      You are not a lawyer. Stick some "allegedly"s and "accused of"s into your newspeak or you could suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of Miniluv. You wouldn't want that, would you. I hope the family sue you

      Other than those two trivial doublethinks, keep up the excellent newspeak. I'm sure Big Brother has great plans for you.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Good God...

        ".....Hadn't stolen anything...." Technically, I can "borrow" the e-books in my local library ten at a time. If I help myself to as many e-books as I like, and use means to circumvent the systems designed to limit the number of e-books I take out, they will eventually call the Police as they do class it as theft. If I should computerise those means and introduce a computer into the library's network to do so, against their access rules that I have agreed to by taking out a library card, then I am also in breach of the comupter laws of this country or the US's. Simple, every day example.

        Going by the evidence publically available for comment, Swartz broke the rules of his access to JSTOR, then added illicit computer equipment to the system and used another login as well as his own, and they can apply a monetary worth to what he downloaded. So legally he was pretty much toast by his own admission. What he did may not constitute "stealing" to the freetards, but then the law is not set by freetards, in this case it was set by the US government, and what he did was "illegal". Until the freetards opinion becomes the mainstream, and it probably never will, those laws will not change. Therefore, by definition, he stole, get over it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good God...

          >What he did may not constitute "stealing" to the freetards, but then the law is not set by freetards, in this case it was set by the US government, and what he did was "illegal".

          No. The legality or otherwise of what he did was never tested in a court of law. So the ALLEGATIONS against him do not constitute stealing in ANY sense: legal, moral or logical. It is your Daily Mail condemnation that is unfounded.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Good God...

            ".....The legality or otherwise of what he did was never tested in a court of law....." The fact that it had gone to trail suggests there was a very clear case of it being judged illegal activity. Mr Swartz may haven chosen to avoid that possibility as he saw it as inevitable. I'll tell you what - you collect the evidenec as publically available (or just outlined in the article), then you construct a legal defence against teh charges as listed. Sorry, but posting "It wasn't illegal because I say it wasn't illegal because I want to be able to download as many grumble flicks and Morrisey tracks as I like without paying SO THERE!" is not going to cut it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Good God...

              ".....The legality or otherwise of what he did was never tested in a court of law....." The fact that it had gone to trail suggests there was a very clear case of it being judged illegal activity. Mr Swartz may haven chosen to avoid that possibility as he saw it as inevitable. I'll tell you what - you collect the evidenec as publically available (or just outlined in the article), then you construct a legal defence against teh charges as listed. Sorry, but posting "It wasn't illegal because I say it wasn't illegal because I want to be able to download as many grumble flicks and Morrisey tracks as I like without paying SO THERE!" is not going to cut it.

              I'm afraid you're missing the point. He was innocent because he was innocent. That's innocent in law - not by decree of any commentard. An allegation does not confer guilt. Not on this side of Orwell's Oceania anyway. In the civilised world, an accusation must be proven. Guilt must be found. The concept is known as habeas-corpus and is quite well known. You may have heard of it. It protects YOU from inconveniences like "summary justice" and lynching... such as you appear to be advocating, posthumously, for Mr Swartz.

              Perhaps you should stop for a breather and a coffee. You're coming across as an exceptionally stupid raving psychopath today.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Re: Good God...

                ".....He was innocent because he was innocent ....The concept is known as habeas-corpus and is quite well known....." Sorry, but that bit of semantics is pointless apologism. The evidence is available for public scrutiny, as is legal argument of his actions. For you to claim Swarz cannot be considered a thief is like saying Adam Lanza can't be considered a child murderer simply because he blew his own brains out before he could be arrested and tried. Please do try and argue by the same merit that Lanza was innocent, if only so I can laugh at the knee-jerk posters spinning like tops at the idea whilst wanting it to apply to Swarz!

                "....such as you appear to be advocating, posthumously, for Mr Swartz...." Nothing of the kind. I originally objected to the fawning comparison with Alan Turing. I never called for a lynching of Swarz, only that his (alleged) crimes not be swept under the carpet because he has suddenly become the Great Martyr of the Anonyputzs. I also pointed out Swartz's own denial of being labelled "gay". I would have been happier if he hadn't commited suicide, and even happy with due process if he'd been tried and acquitted (even though I would personally disagree with his actions). But the lynching bit is just a product of your frothing imagination.

                ".....Perhaps you should stop for a breather and a coffee. You're coming across as an exceptionally stupid raving psychopath today." I would suggest it is you that is ranting and frothing at imaginary lynchings and the like, and would benefit from a long breather, less you assault everyone that doesn't mindlessly shriek at the same volume as you do.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Good God...

                "An allegation does not confer guilt. Not on this side of Orwell's Oceania anyway. In the civilised world, an accusation must be proven."

                That'd be tabloid UK then, where an accusation can be printed in a newspaper, and the usual 'no smoke without fire' mob decide that the person in question is guilty.

              3. JimC

                Re: Habeas Corpus

                Err, that's not what habeas corpus actually means, and you rather miss the point of the essentially unrelated concept of presumption of innocence, which is the assumption that someone is treated as if they may be found innocent until such time they are proved guilty.

                I am guilty in moral terms as soon as I commit the crime. However the legal system is not allowed to treat me as a convicted criminal until they have actually convicted me. Its merely a device for ensuring a more equitable legal system.

                A study of history shows the problems that arise if prisoners are not considered innocent before trial...

        2. fajensen Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Good God...

          Therefore, by definition, he stole, get over it.

          By my definition you are a cunt and you will not get over it.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Why does this debate remind me of a Monty Python sketch?

            I came here for an argument, this is just plain contradiction

            No, it isn't!

            Yes, it is!

            No, it isn't!

            Yes, it is!

            Whether you consider him guilty or not, the point is the man took his own life under a situation that anybody would find very stressful.

            That is a tragedy.

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: fajensen Re: Good God...

            "....By my definition you are a cunt and you will not get over it." The lack of supporting argument or counter simply means your definition and opinion carry as much intellectual weight as the average fart. Besides, I'm rather partial to the odd cunt, even if you are not. As the saying goes, most men leave one at birth and spends the rest of their lives trying to get there hands on another one!

            Maybe you should change your frame of refernce and instead try for something much more unappealing? Like implying I might be as limited in outlook and general mental ability as yourself, for example. Now, not only would that be grossly insulting, it also comes with your own postings as empirical evidence of exactly how dire an insult that would be!

            Oh, I think I just got over it! Ah well, maybe you can have another go after naptime. You could even try working in some comment on the actual subject of the thread, if it's not too much of a strain for you.

        3. C-N
          Mushroom

          Re: Good God...

          Why can't people get it through their heads. Theft by definition requires that someone is wrongfully deprived of their property. Making copies of things that supposedly belong to other people, and then giving them away may be a crime, but it is not theft.

          Schwartz seemed to think that academic work belongs in the public domain; most especially, academic work that was financed by the public. I completely agree.

          From what I have read regarding the case against Schwartz, and my meager layperson's understanding of the law, the USDOJ has violated the 8th Amendment by charging him so excessively.

          1. Turtle

            @C-N

            "Theft by definition requires that someone is wrongfully deprived of their property."

            So I must assume that you've never heard of "data theft", or "theft of services".

            And as far as what "theft" is "by definition", then whose definition are you talking about? The one definition out of all possible definitions that most appeals to you?

            "Schwartz (sic) seemed to think that academic work belongs in the public domain; most especially, academic work that was financed by the public. I completely agree."

            1) As you seem to realize, not all of it was publicly funded, and how anyone other than the people who financed the research and, secondarily, the people who did the research, lost the right to decide what is to be done with the research that was the product of their investment of time, effort, money, and labor, I'd like to know. And more specifically, how did the right to decide what to do with that research devolve on Swartz and you?

            2) You might completely agree with Swartz about academic work belonging in the public domain but if you think that that interests anyone but you, or if you think that that is enough to absolve Swartz of legal responsibility for his actions, then you do not really understand how the world works.

            3) Here's an explanation of JSTOR by commenter Ian Johnston, on page three of this comments thread and which I am going to cite here because you seem like the kind of person would would not bother to find it and read it if I merely gave the url::

            Both the article and the comments show a profound ignorance about JSTOR. It is not a publisher; it is a non-profit group run by a consortium of universities to make research papers available at minimal cost to the academic community - which effectively means to anyone with a university affiliation. That's not a cheap thing to do. As well as the storage and bandwidth costs, there is subscribing to current journals and negotiating access agreements with the publishers (who often are rapacious, I agree), and also the costs of scanning in older printed papers which would otherwise be extremely difficult to access for anyone not at an institution which subscribed at the time.

            To access JSTOR, institutions pay a significant but relatively small annual fee. In return there are terms and conditions of service, one of which says, in effect "though shalt not download the entire archive and then make it available for free". Had Swartz succeeded he would have undermined the basis for JSTOR and made access to research papers, both now and in the future, considerably more difficult and more expensive. His beliefs may have been passionate and sincere, but they were also misdirected and stupid. (Note that Ian Johnston later disavowed the use of the word "stupid" in this post, but in my opinion, it is far too weak a descriptor in the first place.)

    5. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      f__king baby boomers in charge

      Go on cheer for your home team the Democrats, the Republicans, both sides pull the same shit only with a slight different bend. The common denominator is almost all of them are from America's worst generation the Baby Boomers. Still based on Paul Ryan being one of the first big names from the next generation things are going to get worse before they get better.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      control freaks

      The article forgot that Swartz was openly critical of Obama, for example, he was openly critical of Obama's "kill list".

      Obama is using the DOJ as a tool of tyranny. All the Left can do is shamefully look the other way and ignore Obama's actions with a little wordplay - Obama's not doing it's, uh, the U.S. Government! Yeah, that looks better in print!

      Aaron Swarz is dead, Kiriakoy is sitting in jail, Manning is in solitary and Assange is being extradited. Why is Obama being given a free pass to use his DOJ however he wants? Swartz criticized Obama constantly on that fact.

      Obama has declared war on pot, poker, occupy, whistleblowers and juvenile hackers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: control freaks

        Hear Hear. The only sensible word in this comment section.

        He was being hounded by the government, probably for his actions against SOPA/PIPA.

        Who knows, maybe he was even 'suicided'...

    7. ja

      Not psychopaths

      They are sociopaths. That makes their authority more dangerous.

  2. stanimir
    Unhappy

    R.I.P.

    No words will erase the injustice he has suffered or the goodness he has created, nor the beliefs he has striven for.

  3. Doozer
    Black Helicopters

    RIP

    This is such a great loss to the industry and community.

    1. Lars

      Re: RIP

      Yes, and I wish I could better express my thoughts in the English language.

      Long ago a very nice and brilliant lady (my grandmother) expressed her opinion on sin. Sin is not a catalogue of things. It is simply anything you do against your better understanding. I love that definition. It is foolproof and logical. I am a sinner no doubt, sometimes. Swartz knew it too by hiding his laptop, no doubt.

      But his suicide was not caused by that, but by the incredible "legal" system hitting him, threatening him with 30 years and 1M$ plus legal fees. There is something madly wrong in the USA when there is absolutely no correlation between the "sin" and the sentence you are faced with. And because Swartz was both young and bright it made it still harder for him to cope with it. The real sinner is the "legal" system in the USA.

      He was "psychologically" murdered by that system.

  4. kode
    Big Brother

    I wonder if Anonymous will feel the need to somehow punish those responsible in the US government.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: kode

      "I wonder if Anonymous will feel the need to somehow punish those responsible in the US government." Don't worry, governments all over the World will be ordering their TV channels to show more cartoons this weekend to distract them.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      re:I wonder if Anonymous will feel the need to somehow punish those responsible

      Since mit.edu just dissapeared I think somebody already did

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re:I wonder if Anonymous will feel the need to somehow punish those responsible

        I don't see why MIT should be punished. It looks patently obvious to me that they'd moved to protect him. While US gov could still have made a technical argument that what he did may have been illegal under the law. I imagine it'd suddenly have been pretty difficult to prove damages or present a case for serve punishment when the actions for which he was being prosecuted had since become PERFECTLY LEGAL.

        (IANAL)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re:I wonder if Anonymous will feel the need to somehow punish those responsible

          "I don't see why MIT should be punished."

          MIT is not being "punished". Their website has been vandalized. That people can think that vandalizing a website is meaningful in anyway is very puzzling.

  5. Anne-Lise Pasch

    Politician's logic

    This was a good article right until the final line; "That he ended up hanging from the ceiling in a Brooklyn apartment at the age of 26 is a damming indictment of the system as it stands, and proof of the need for change."

    It won't earn me any friends, but the tenuous linkage is just that: tenuous. It falls into the same camp as pushing through UK legislation to monitor all internet usage because, you know, terrorism.

    If individuals have harassed an individual to death through abuse of power, then by all means, take action against those individuals. I'll gladly stand on the soapbox beside you and deplore. I just don't see a systemic breakdown of command and control here; I hate people bandying hackneyed cliche and sensationalised rhetoric over something as senselessly tragic as this. You could've just ended the article one sentence earlier.

    1. mliblover

      Re: Politician's logic

      Do we really know this was suicide? He clearly had some powerful enemies.

      In any case this is a great loss to us all. Lets hope his contribution is not silenced by his passing.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Politician's logic

        so even more like alan

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Politician's logic

          "so even more like alan"

          Wow! You are on a first-name basis with Alan Turing!!!!111!

    2. Jolyon Smith
      Mushroom

      Re: Politician's logic

      Agreed, although for me the article hit a wall when they invoked Turing.

      A young man driven to a desperate act as a result of the consequences of his political actions for which there have to be consequences even if you agree with his politics is one thing.

      A man hounded to his death for his sexual preferences *DESPITE* what he did for his country is quite another.

      1. Joseph Lord

        Re: Politician's logic

        A man punished for a crime and punished according to the law commits suicide.

        Another man who did something that probably amounts to a crime (not convicted and fairly minor anyway based on my view of the indictment that I read) commits suicide under threat of massive criminal penalties (35 years) having already spent all his money on legal bills and where the victim didn't want to press charges.

        Stated as above the parallel doesn't seem ridiculous to me and the prosecutions handling of the case should be looked at. MIT has announced that they will look into how they handled the issue and decisions that they made.

        I'm not saying that this person's contributions match Turing's but they certainly exceed mine so far and he was only 26. I'm also not saying that what he was accused of was OK and should be legal but the idea that charges worth 35 years were appropriate even as a means to pressure a guilty plea to some lesser charge seems ridiculous to me.

        1. Joseph Lord

          Re: Politician's logic

          I need to add to my post above that I believe homosexuality and homosexual acts should be legal and it is a stain (one of many) on my nation's history that they were ever criminal. I hope no one read into my comment any belief that there was anything remotely acceptable about it. I only believe that this case may not be much better and that comparisons need not be inappropriate.

          1. Nanki Poo
            Boffin

            Re: Politician's logic

            Freedom is the new Homosexuality maybe? The 'Last Taboo'

            nK

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: Politician's logic

              "Freedom is the new Homosexuality...." Hoooboy, isn't about time some people went and actually READ about Swartz before trying to turn him into some form of gay martyr? Swartz expressly said he did not want to be "classified" as gay as he did not want his actions to be commandeered by the Gay community for their political benefit. Start here: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/notgay

              The problem with far too many of the "internet community" rushing to eulogise Swarz is they haven't a clue about him, he's just the latest trend-du-jour, and will be forgotten in a few weeks just like Chen Guangcheng, Hu Jia, and anyone else not getting mentioned weekly on Oprah.

              1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

                @Matt Bryant

                BTW

                How's the volunteering for the Samaritans going?

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Thumb Down

                  Re: @Matt Bryant

                  ".....How's the volunteering for the Samaritans going?" I would have thought you would have guessed by now that I am probably not the best choice of someone to be answering the phones when the suicidal call. Like many (male) techies, I have a bad habit of brusquely assuming everything is simply a problem that, if examined properly, will produce a correct and workable solution. My experiences of seeing depression in others, in particular in someone that seemed to have achived a perfectly happy and successful life, makes me think that is not the best approach.

                  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                    Happy

                    Re: @Matt Bryant

                    " I would have thought you would have guessed by now that I am probably not the best choice of someone to be answering the phones when the suicidal call. Like many (male) techies, I have a bad habit of brusquely assuming everything is simply a problem that, if examined properly, will produce a correct and workable solution."

                    Indeed. Your sense of humor is very nearly as well developed as your empathy.

                    Would it help to think of it as "fault finding for humans"? Except the faults can be difficult to detect and actively hide.

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      Happy

                      Re: John Smith 19 Re: @Matt Bryant

                      "......Would it help to think of it as "fault finding for humans"? Except the faults can be difficult to detect and actively hide." Probably not such a good idea. As a techie, I also dress up laziness as "the most efficient course of action", which means when a system problem gets too complex I'm liable to reach for the backups and do a re-install. I don't think that option works too well on humans!

                      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                        Happy

                        Re: John Smith 19 @Matt Bryant

                        "I don't think that option works too well on humans!"

                        Well your powers of observation are certainly better developed than your empathy.

                        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                          Coat

                          Re: John Smith 19 @Matt Bryant

                          ".......Well your powers of observation are certainly better developed than your empathy." Surely the best understanding would come from someone that was making a judgement based on both empathy and observation, rather than just the former? Hint - you missed this post were I stated it was a tragedy that anyone should be depressed enough to commit suicide (http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/14/anonymous_protest_swartz_death/#c_1693482):

                          ".....Aaron Swartz was a very clever guy, and his death was tragic just as the suicide of any person suffering from depression is tragic......"

                          So, there you go, observant and empathic. My work here is done....

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @Matt Bryant

                  Should be pretty good for them, cut down their phone bills immensely!

                  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                    Meh

                    Re: @Matt Bryant

                    "Should be pretty good for them, cut down their phone bills immensely!"

                    You do know people dial in to them, right?

                    And BTW that's a very old joke.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    @AC 14.25

                    "Should be pretty good for them, cut down their phone bills immensely!"

                    Unless the UK is vastly different from the US, then it's the potential suicide that calls the suicide hotline, and since the toll for a phone call is paid by the caller and not the party being called, I don't see how a reduced volume of calls would effect their phone bills.

                    Of course it is possible that I don't know how things like this work in the UK. Although, frankly, it's far more likely that the AC who posted that is just stupid.

  6. keithpeter
    Windows

    Can someone explain?

    * Ezra Pound made some ill judged and slightly barmy propaganda broadcasts from Musolini's Italy during the 2nd world war. He was kept in an open air cage for 10+ years until finally being admitted to a mental hospital. On this side of the pond we had Wodehouse, all sorted, and honoured in 1975.

    * The strange case of "Bell South Standard Practice 660-225-104SV Control Office Administration of Enhanced 911 Services for Special Services and Major Account Centers dated March 1988", a document that you could request and pay for a paper copy of. See Bruce Sterling, Hacker Crackdown.

    * McKinnon ('nuff said)

    and now this.

    Why the idiotic ferocity to marginal acts? Why the inflated and largely imaginary costs/monetary damage? Why the madly inflated sentences?

    I say this as one who missed witnessing a double murder by about half an hour last Friday (Birmingham UK).

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Can someone explain?

      > idiotic ferocity to marginal acts

      Because that's how state justifies its existence? You can go after the little man easily, it amuses the proles, makes the guys in uniform feel badass and the guys in robes feel useful, and the theater pleases their well-manicured, white-cat-stroking handlers. But big fish are big fish. You don't go after big fish.

      Real problems are never solved, they just ....

      Hey, Obama just appointed Jack Lew to be Treasury Secretary! Well, whaddya know, talk about putting the fox into the henhouse.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Can someone explain?

      > He was kept in an open air cage for 10+ years

      Apparently just for a short time, but then got the full Manning treatment. He was then accused of high treason, which is bemusing considering that a well-known american crook, liar and accomlished political entrepreneur who had ceded the eastern half of Europe to Stalin under cover of secret understandings and had recently kicked the golden bucket was himself a great admirer of Mussolini.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can someone explain?

      Why the ferocity to marginal acts? Because we ALL have the ability to do this. And that ability can be provided to anyone as a point-and-click tool.

      Try providing the ability to scale a barbed-wire fence without injury. It takes A Long Time. Or getting into a position where you can commit fraud massive enough to take down a bank- again, it takes A Long Time.

      The ferocity to marginal acts is because we all have the ability to effect these marginal acts, without significant cost to ourselves and with sufficient distance that our consciences can remain essentially clear- it's very difficult to guilt-trip someone for something they feel is Right and took very little effort to do. So they respond harshly to make you question pushing that button. Just that little second's worth of doubt they give you that what you are doing is Right is enough for them to start guilt-tripping most of us.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can someone explain?

      "Why the inflated and largely imaginary costs/monetary damage? Why the madly inflated sentences?".

      Yes, why are they prepared to live with that in the USA, or well.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Can someone explain?

        He released the published results of 1000s of government funded researchers to the general public

        imagine what would happen if the ordinary man in the street started learning about evolution and the universe being older than 4000 years and things being made of atoms. Why - they might write to their congressman !

    5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Can someone explain?

      " Ezra Pound...." And therein lies one of the great failures of the sheeple that listen to others simply because they are famous luvvies rather than thinking "what the fudge qualifications or knowledge does that person have to actually make them qualified to comment?" I'm sure you laughed at those that calmly accepted Jenny McCarthy's unqualified blathering on about autism being caused by the MMR vaccine, yet I bet you wouldn't have accepted Ezra Pound giving advice on brain surgery. In the legal sense, Ezra Pound made his speeches after the declaration of war, and therefore was a traitor. It does not detract from his literary achievements, but by the same token his literary achievements do not exonerate him from his crimes.

    6. Heathroi
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Can someone explain?

      because prosecutors earn their bread by sticking people away for as long as possible and more the better and if the defendant has annoyed the great and the good in someway, all the better for the ambitious young lawyer.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Strange guy

    He was a smart guy. I look at what he accomplished before he reached 19 and weep at my failure to match up.

    Message to anyone facing problems like this: call the Samaritans. Really.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes me wonder...

    This case is too big for mere LOIC, methinks.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Makes me wonder...

      But not too big for Barrett Light 50.

      Oops, I will probably fall afoul some anti-terror law.

      Joke alert, joke alert!! Okay! It was all a joke!

      1. corestore

        Re: Makes me wonder...

        Damn, I just sold a Barrett M82A1... not joking, dead serious.

        1. 404 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Makes me wonder...

          Dude...........

  9. koolholio
    Holmes

    I cant say this particular feeling is different

    Theres one too many in the IT world, and elsewhere trying to get their leg over just to keep up with the jones' next door.

    Americans on the other hand, this is not intended to offend, but can (yes CAN) tend to be a little OTT or overly dramatic as if its a religious calling.

    What I believe is needed is more compassion within industry (notice industry and not commercial!), less 'one sided or unfair competition' and to put it simply, more morals and acceptance that every man has his vice, and that this is what selfish acts (particularly by government departments) can effectively lead to.

    I wonder if they trust the right people to know what they're looking for in certain areas.... Since tradgedies such as this can result from what I call the 'leg humper' syndrome, particularly since nobody is perfect.

  10. corestore

    Karma's a bitch. Sleep well, Carmen Ortiz and Steve Heymann; sleep lightly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh, I can assure you she sleeps quite comfortably. She will have slept utmost well last night. After all, you don't get to be an effective US prosecutor by worrying over the occasional suicide of someone you're trying to thoroughly shaft for your own gain.

  11. John Deeb
    Boffin

    A suicide is a terrible event and always tricky to attribute but not unlikely the pressure was mounting. I feel sorry for his family and friends.

    But I'm not sure I understood the story completely. Aaron hacked into the MIT network by stuffing a laptop in a local closet, sneaking in ever so often to resupply the batteries and drives to download millions of items owned technically by publishers who restricted open access to MIT LAN (and elsewhere) only. Evasive maneuvers were performed by changing IP and MAC addresses on occasion by Aaron.

    Then he was being accused of computer intrusion, fraud, and data theft. Which technically it was. He believed these materials should be not restricted at all or not to the sole benefit of publishers and he's free to believe so.

    While I do agree with academic journals and articles needing to be more freely available, I also know it always was a very complex situation when it comes to the costs of running these journals and editing them to certain standards. Publishers always have been riding the fine line to providing them free to academics without giving them away to the whole world. Complex licensing schemes are in place throughout the educational world, meaning that many academics and students have free access through their library or department already. At least they should have.

    It's always the same: one challenges the system and then it comes down on you with full force. I know of so many cases of a similar nature happening to less famous and inspiring people. But I have to say: he *did* hack (mildly) the MIT network and he *did* illegally download a lot of currently overpriced articles. In my opinion this was not the way to force the issue, it was playing with fire and when seeing someone get burned as a result people should perhaps think twice before submitting to all kinds of righteous anger.

    And what about Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Jeramiah Perkins,dare I say...Bradley Manning, the difference is only where *you* believe some type information should be and how available it needs to be?

    1. That Awful Puppy
      Thumb Down

      Oh, come off it

      >While I do agree with academic journals and articles needing to be more freely available, I also know it always was a very complex situation when it comes to the costs of running these journals and editing them to certain standards.

      They don't, really. If you fancy a bit of reading, here's a very good blog post with links to other very good blog posts on this topic.

      >Publishers always have been riding the fine line to providing them free to academics without giving them away to the whole world. Complex licensing schemes are in place throughout the educational world, meaning that many academics and students have free access through their library or department already. At least they should have.

      The access is only free to the academics and the students. The libraries, on the other hand, pay through the nose, and are pressured to buy access huge bundles of journals they don't really want. All in all, the academic publishing industry is truly a nasty piece of work.

      1. That Awful Puppy
        FAIL

        Re: Oh, come off it

        Forgot the link, of course.

        http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2012/04/11/a_new_journal_with_bonus_elsevierbashing.php

    2. corestore

      My righteous anger is reserved for the evil (sensu stricto) prosecutors who seemed determined to make an example of this guy, piling charge upon charge until the likely sentence was starting to push his life expectancy, in a case where the 'victim' *didn't feel it merited criminal prosecution at all*.

      It was clearly personal; the prosecutors can therefore hardly be surprised when they face personal consequences in the fallout from this.

      1. Dredd
        Stop

        You said it and F*** Plea Bargains

        "It was clearly personal; the prosecutors can therefore hardly be surprised when they face personal consequences in the fallout from this."

        I never normally wish harm upon a person, but for Carmen and Steve, I wish them the worst. How about internet vigilantes such as Anonymous probe their lives and pasts with a microscope and turn over every dubious and illegal act they've done? Seems only fair to me.

        Grudges aside, this is once again American criminal justice trying to secure a conviction through a plea bargaining. Over 90% of US criminal cases are settled as plea bargains, the system works like this:

        1) Identify a first-time offence suspect or someone who is otherwise impressionable.

        2) Invent extra charges, pile on the counts and push for the maximum sentence possible for each count. At this point the accused is facing jail terms running into decades.

        3) Suddenly offer the defendant an easier way out: just plead guilty and have their sentence reduced to perhaps 2 years. Even an innocent defendant would seriously consider this option because the alternative is so horrific.

        4) The defendant pleads guilty. Prosecution pat themselves on the back for the fact that they've "caught another criminal" while saving the courts some time. The person goes to jail for a tolerable period of time and forever more carries the label of "guilty".

        I have no doubt that plea bargaining distorts the criminal justice system and pressures the innocent into pleading guilty. I think that whenever you see such large numbers of charges and lengthy potential jail terms it is because the prosecution are setting up the ideal conditions for a successful plea bargain. See the recent Chris Tappin case for another example. I honestly think plea bargaining should be outlawed because it is a form of coercion thus undermines a fundamental principle of law: objective judgement.

        RIP Aaron. Having read the blog post from your defence lawyer, I can see how a defence case based on technical grounds (such as what constitutes "wire fraud") could carry a lot of weight here. The lack of computing knowledge by the prosecution seems breathtaking and it's a wonder they are allowed to prosecute on computing offences at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You said it and F*** Plea Bargains

          I agree with your explanation of how the us legal system works, except you left out the most important link in the chain. The Judge is supposed to serve the function of looking at the charges and throwing out the ones that are clearly not supported by evidence. But he is elected and sometimes have further political ambition so he does not want to be viewed as soft and more often than not neglect this function.

          US from the rest of the works just never get this elected judge bit.

          The whole system is fucked. This is truly a police state.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: You said it and F*** Plea Bargains

            "But he is elected and sometimes have further political ambition so he does not want to be viewed as soft and more often than not neglect this function."

            Federal judges are not elected. They are appointed for life and are close to impossible to remove. What's "fucked" here is your lack of understanding of the country in which you claim to live.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: You said it and F*** Plea Bargains

              As the poster I responded to did, I was commenting generally on the US Judicial System not on Federal Courts.

              The US Justice System is divided into Federal and State Courts. Federal Judges preside over Federal Courts only. The vast majority of Americans PERSECUTED by this overreaching system are not PERSECUTED by federal courts but are instead screwed in the state courts by their Elected Judges and District attorneys.

              All you have to do is listen to their Campaign Pitches and you realize that Justice is not their first priority.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: You said it and F*** Plea Bargains

                "As the poster I responded to did, I was commenting generally on the US Judicial System not on Federal Courts."

                Since this was a FEDERAL case being overseen by FEDERAL prosecutors, who are APPOINTED and not elected, and since this would have been in front of a FEDERAL judge, APPOINTED FOR LIFE and can't be removed, just what the fuck does any other elected official in the whole country or the whole fucking world have to do with the matter?

                Do try to stick to the fucking topic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You said it and F*** Plea Bargains

          @Dredd

          Not a system to defend in my opinion either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @John Deeb

      "I feel sorry for his family and friends."

      Don't bother. It's their fault for not getting him the help he needed. But do note that no one is going to take the proper lesson from this: Depression needs to be treated.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: @John Deeb

        AC: Depression often looks nothing like depression from the outside. In fact it can look completely the opposite. Real depression, the serious stuff (not the "oh my boyfriend dumped me and I got a C on my test I'm so depressed!!!" sort) often looks more like exhaustion, cynicism or even a strange sort of joy. When you're depressed you think you've finally discovered the truth about the world.

        Blaming the family is not remotely constructive. They probably didn't even know.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @John Deeb

          When you're depressed you think you've finally discovered the truth about the world.

          When one is depressed, there are periods of energy, but, where one truly does not give a toss - the behaviour looks courageous and assertive from the outside.

        2. Turtle

          @Graham Dawson Re: @John Deeb

          "Depression often looks nothing like depression from the outside. In fact it can look completely the opposite. Blaming the family is not remotely constructive. They probably didn't even know."

          Then neither did the prosecutors and therefore blaming *them* is also "not remotely constructive". So you could have made your observation much earlier in this thread, as a response to any one or more of many statements. Sadly you didn't.

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: @Graham Dawson @John Deeb

            That logic doesn't even remotely follow. Blaming the judicial system for being the causative agent of his depression is constructive in that it identifies the most likely source of his illness. His parents and his family were not acting in ways that could trigger depression; they were passive participants at best, and unaware of his mental state. The judges and the judicial system were active participants in the events and did not need to be aware of his mental state in order to cause it.

            That's the difference.

            That's why the judicial system can be asked to shoulder responsibility for the outcome.

            1. Turtle

              Re: @Graham Dawson @John Deeb

              "That logic doesn't even remotely follow. Blaming the judicial system for being the causative agent of his depression is constructive in that it identifies the most likely source of his illness. His parents and his family were not acting in ways that could trigger depression; they were passive participants at best, and unaware of his mental state. The judges and the judicial system were active participants in the events and did not need to be aware of his mental state in order to cause it."

              Sorry but that's pure bullshit. As others have stated, he suffered from depression and made threats of suicide well before he got caught up in the legal ramifications of his own actions.

              And it is certainly not the case that the the possibility of the onset of depression, or the actual onset of depression, should shield and free a person from having to answer for their actions in a court of law. Anyone who can not answer or can not be expected to be answerable for their actions needs to be isolated from society for both their own good and the good of society. Anyone not in actual custodial psychiatric care should be and needs to be held responsible and answerable for their actions.

              As a sidenote: you have NO idea what the "causative agent of his depression" was. How do you know that it wasn't genetic? How do you know that it wasn't due to a poor diet? How do you know that it wasn't due to brain trauma? Or a botched delivery when he was born? Or a brain insult while in utero? Or that he grew up in a psychologically-harmful environment? Maybe he was abused or sexually abused as a child? How do YOU know how his family was acting towards him, or if it could have caused this episode? Maybe his family was angry with him for having gotten into this much trouble with the law for essentially trivial and idiotic reasons and juvenile actions? Maybe he had been depressed because he was fixated on some individual who did not reciprocate his feelings, or who rejected him? That you are going to determine what "the causative agent of his depression" was shows that you have a well-developed ability for projecting your ideology onto reality in the most ideologically-satisfying way - in spite of having no facts to support it.

              Well, in short, your apologetics need some work.

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Graham Dawson Re: @Graham Dawson @John Deeb

              ".... Blaming the judicial system for being the causative agent of his depression is constructive in that it identifies the most likely source of his illness....." You seem to know nothing about depression and next to nothing about Aaron Swartz. His wasn't charged with anything to do with JSTOR until 2011 (he wasn't even charged for the PACER affair in 2009), yet openly spoke about his depression and suicidal thoughts in 2007:

              "....I was miserable. I couldn't stand San Francisco. I couldn't stand office life. I couldn't stand Wired. I took a long Christmas vacation. I got sick. I thought of suicide....." (https://aaronsw.jottit.com/howtoget)

              It seems your hatred of The Man is driving you to turn Aaron Swartz into some mythical martyr without actually knowing anything about him. Do you spend a lot of time jumping onto bandwagons, perchance?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great shame

    Stories like Aaron's should be taught in schools and held up as an example of 1 person can make a difference.

    RIP Amigo!

    1. Turtle

      Re: Great shame

      "Stories like Aaron's should be taught in schools and held up as an example of 1 person can make a difference."

      The difference he made, is that he's dead at 26. Do you want all kids to be taught that they too can end up dead by suicide at 26 if they don't get their depression treated? Although, you know, that's not too bad an idea of what kind of examples to hold up to kids. Yet I have a feeling that that's not what you had in mind.

      And frankly, it might be better if that lesson was exemplified by someone who did something with greater societal meaning than contributing to the RSS spec, and who wasn't thereafter primarily a Google tool, advocating the right of huge and obscenely wealthy corporations to expropriate the labor of huge numbers of creative and intellectual workers.

      Couldn't we find, let's say, someone who was in the Peace Corps, who went to some grotesquely underdeveloped area and helped the impoverished people who live there to dig wells and so obtain clean water, but who, after coming home, became depressed and committed suicide?

      That would be a much, much better story, don't you think?

  13. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    I think I'll pull out my "Enemy of the State" DVD and give it a watch this evening.

    It's a shame Swartz didn't have Edward Lyle to help him arrange a little payback.

  14. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    My sympathy to his family and friends

    I'd never heard of him but it turns out he was my hero.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      "I'd never heard of him but it turns out he was my hero."

      Think of how comforting he finds that!

  15. Mikel
    Pirate

    Fair tribute

    Free the data. All of it.

    1. Ian Johnston
      FAIL

      Re: Fair tribute

      Your bank account details, date of birth and mother's maiden name, please.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You didn't mention Obama

    Swartz was a big critic of Obama's kill list and other issues.

    http://www.infowars.com/obamas-kill-list-critic-found-dead-in-new-york-city/

    Obama is a good old style Chicago politician. You cross me and I crush you. A lot of his opponents have the money or political clout to protect themselves but Swartz did not. This was clearly a warning to other critics of Obama.

    AC for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You didn't mention Obama

      I fear your not far off the mark.

      Obama does not like to be criticised and has zero problems publicly threatening the US Supreme Court or skirting around how the Benghazi attack was clearly a terrorist attack. Word games and clear attempts to mislead the public by using a 5 show marketing campaign by his UN lackey on how it was a "spontaneous attack" due to some obscure video no one ever heard of before that day. It should have been an official presidential announcement regarding the attack, but Obama has control over the media and uses it to his full advantage. The media and Hollywood delusional actors swoon to Obama's every word. Obama takes care of his cult followers by sliding in tax credits for Hollywood like providing tax credits for the first 15 million in costs for making a movie.

      This US President loves going on TV shows and loves playing the Hollywood star. He just fails miserably at doing the job he applied for and was elected to do.

  17. Chet Mannly

    Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

    "With bail set at $100,000 and a court sentence due, the pressure on Swartz must have been intense."

    ...because he flagrantly and repeatedly broke the law.

    No one wishes anyone to commit suicide, but in this case he was facing charges for breaking the law, and from the tone of the article its a pretty open and shut case. That isn't prosecutorial overreach - its plain old enforcing the law.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

      He broke the law by publishing the results of taxpayer funded research - written, edited and peer-reviewed by taxpayer paid researchers to the taxpayer.

      1. Ian Johnston

        Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

        Not all research is taxpayer funded.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

          No, not the research, but the publishers sell many journals to universities.

          Costs aside, this has been an issue in scientific circles for while- there are so many journals that only the largest institutions can hope to subscribe to all the journals in one specific field, let alone most journals in most fields. In the last few years, neurologists are beginning to understand that the balance of gut bacteria can affect the behaviour of a patient, so would benefit from having access to journals outside their immediate ken.

          Asimov wrote a short story in the 1950s about the trend of specialisation, called Sucker Bait:

          "Like other short stories by Asimov such as The Dead Past and Profession, the theme of Sucker Bait is the peril of scientific over-specialization... ... Asimov would soon begin to practice what he preached, making himself into a professional generalist by writing popular science books on a number of different fields, as well as The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science, a general overview of science as a whole."

          The protagonist of the story is a man with Asperger's-like characteristics, who acts unilaterally and against protocol to avoid a bad situation for all (another, unrelated, Asimov story had autistic people using robotic avatars to study Mars). His role in the story is similar to what IBM are striving for with Dr Watson.

          1. Ian Johnston
            Thumb Up

            Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

            If only there was some non-profit organisation run my universities to make a large range of journals available electronically. Of course it would cost a bit to run, but it would be worth it to make research easier.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Utterly wrong.

      He was accused of those things.

      He had not broken the law, as the case had not gone to trial.

      - And quite possibly never would, as the alleged victim didn't want to press charges anyway.

      Or would you be happy for us to post that you are a criminal if you are ever accused of anything?

      The only reason that post isn't prejudicial or libellous is because the guy is dead.

      1. cortland

        Re: Utterly wrong.

        It is not uncommon that a victim may not want a trial pursued, but since the victim is not often the one pressing charges, he cannot drop them.

        IMO and IANAL. EAA (Enough Abbreviations Already)

        1. Jediben
          Holmes

          Re: Utterly wrong.

          Oh hadn't you heard? Ever since a few kids claimed a dead guy fiddled with them in the 70s, everyone dead is guilty by default now...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

      Which law did he break? Downloading those documents one at a time was completely legal. All he did was automate the process, which is also completely legal. He didn't even share them with others though that, too, would have been completely legal.

      1. John Deeb
        Boffin

        Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

        If he was a MIT student or perhaps even staying on site as visitor it might have been (don't know the exact licensing terms). Download all you can while you are there. But since the prosecution wanted to make a case the *intent* was there to publicize them *and* the hidden laptop was avoiding detection by the local network administrator, the case is becoming quickly more complex, in legal terms at least. In my view Swartz should have done his activism together with some MIT students and in the course of one year at most he might have easily gotten everything out without risk of detection or interference. He seemed to have preferred to lone hacker route instead. But I can understand he might have thought the crime was relatively small and certainly the charges should have been dropped in a world populated with human beings.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @John Deeb

          "But I can understand he might have thought the crime was relatively small and certainly the charges should have been dropped in a world populated with human beings."

          Well it's populated with human beings but also with quite a few freetard parasites too. So what would happen in a world populated only by human beings is not terribly relevant.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't break the law and you wont be pressured surely?

      You really are naieve.

      This man did not kill or put anyone's life at risk. He returned the data and the key organization dropped their charges, yet Obama's DOJ choose to pursue this man.

      Take a look at cases where the DOJ and Obama choose to ignore US Laws. They pick and choose who to deport for illegally entering the US. They choose willfully ignore US Law to provide 90 notices to government contractors of possible layoffs in January. Obama's EPA withheld upcoming tougher EPA rules until after the election. There are mountains of example of the US President and his DOJ ignoring existing US laws and going after people who try to enforce US Laws or speak against bigger government. This president would love to toss out the US Constitution and become a king. He would then be free to continue his systematic destruction of the nation.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    RIP Aaron

    “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

    ― Chief Seattle

    1. Wombling_Free
      Thumb Up

      Re: RIP Aaron

      Now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time; almost before the current web, actually.

      Fitting words & sentiment.

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    Be afraid, be very afraid

    That's the lesson they want YOU to learn. The technology is against them, and information is going to become increasingly mobile, but they still have delusions of keeping their fingers in ALL of the dikes. Privacy is becoming an illusion, and no one can buy it any more. Perhaps the most extreme recent case was actually Mitt Romney and the 47% video, which may well have negated a billion dollars in advertising.

    That's not to say it's going to be an easy ride. Don't forget that the House of Representatives (in America, lads), was just captured by the neo-GOP in spite of receiving a minority of the actual votes. The combination of aggressive gerrymandering and the higher effectiveness of the money in smaller districts resulted in the non-representative House, which is amusing insofar as the neo-GOP says they are the only true believers in the vision of the Founding Fathers. Oh wait. The FF wanted the House to be the part of the government that would be MOST responsive to the collective will of the voters.

    For now, you may be on the winning side of history, but if you reveal things they don't like, you're a target. Truth is NOT the issue.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anger grows over the death of Aaron Swartz

    What anger would that be then? I never heard of the dude before and I'm pretty sure most people haven't.... people kill themselves everday, I don't see many people who comment here about how sad it is becoming angry or giving a sh!t about them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anger grows over the death of Aaron Swartz

      This is, however cold, the truth.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What anger would that be then?

      "What anger would that be then? I never heard of the dude before and I'm pretty sure most people haven't.... people kill themselves everday, I don't see many people who comment here about how sad it is becoming angry or giving a sh!t about them."

      Because this suicide is politically useful and makes for good publicity for the freetard/fascist agenda.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and co-founded Creative Commons"

    Interesting.

  23. Parax

    "Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep." @timberners_lee

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Dunno who downvoted Parax, but in a story about the reaction to an event, reposting the reaction of a well known internet figure is relevant, regardless of whether you agree or not with Tim Berners Lee.

      Shooting the messenger?

      1. Keep Refrigerated
        Facepalm

        Odd

        Noticed you didn't upvote either?!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Odd

          But voting is not compulsory.

          I think its important to know that Aaron was respected by very high profile individuals for his work and efforts. It's good to see Tim's comment here.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Good to see

    the American Justice System still doing all it can to extract its pound of flesh despite the case clearly being settled by the complainant...

  25. Ian Johnston
    Thumb Down

    Misconceptions

    Those who knew him say the JSTOR case wasn't about theft but about fair use of information. The academics who wrote the papers on JSTOR weren't paid, nor were the editors and peer-reviewers. Yet researchers trying to use this data had to pay a publisher for the rights to it, and none of the funds made it to the information's creators.

    Both the article and the comments show a profound ignorance about JSTOR. It is not a publisher; it is a non-profit group run by a consortium of universities to make research papers available at minimal cost to the academic community - which effectively means to anyone with a university affiliation. That's not a cheap thing to do. As well as the storage and bandwidth costs, there is subscribing to current journals and negotiating access agreements with the publishers (who often are rapacious, I agree), and also the costs of scanning in older printed papers which would otherwise be extremely difficult to access for anyone not at an institution which subscribed at the time.

    To access JSTOR, institutions pay a significant but relatively small annual fee. In return there are terms and conditions of service, one of which says, in effect "though shalt not download the entire archive and then make it available for free". Had Swartz succeeded he would have undermined the basis for JSTOR and made access to research papers, both now and in the future, considerably more difficult and more expensive. His beliefs may have been passionate and sincere, but they were also misdirected and stupid.

    "Data should be free" is a lovely idea, but "People who create data should be able to eat" is a lovely idea as well. Authors are not paid for papers, but papers published in proper, reputable peer reviewed journals is now researchers get grants and other funding.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Misconceptions

      I was poised to upvote you until the last word of the penultimate paragraph. Describing someone who disagrees with you as "stupid" doesn't improve the debate.

      1. Ian Johnston

        Re: Misconceptions

        Well, technically it was his beliefs I described as stupid. Maybe not the best word, though. I'd change it to "ill-considered" if editing was possible.

    2. John Deeb
      Boffin

      Re: Misconceptions

      Ian, right on. There are new models in the making around Open Access Publishing which in combination with falling prices of storage and bandwidth, less classical "journal" structures and lack of print costs might be the next generation thing. If only Swartz had any idea of all the experiments going on and debates around the future of academic publishing to achieve exactly what he desired: open and easy access to anyone desiring to read these things. One important thing here and you already mentioned the link between publishing and grants, is the reach of a publication. How easy is some needed information being found, how many references and quotes are made, how to track these and so on. Just putting things "out there" on the web does nothing for the process and nobody is really served by it. And this doesn't mean major improvements are needed just that Swartz his actions wouldn't have helped the community as much as he might have thought. And that's perhaps the saddest part of the story.

      1. John Deeb
        Boffin

        Re: Misconceptions

        errata:

        ...doesn't mean that major improvements are not needed... (a bad sentence punished itself)

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Misconceptions

      JSTOR is a sop to the universities by the publishers to keep the status-quo

      Academics argue that since the tax payer funds the research and their salaries, the journals charge them for publishing (hey Springer why am I paying for color plates in an online journal? Are colored pixels more expensive?) and they edit and peer-review the papers for free - then access to the papers should be free.

      JSTOR is a consortium of publishers saying to universities - OK we will let you have access for free as long as you all pay to join the club.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The whole JSTOR thing is about Team America trying to police something that isn't theirs. I believe that this was the tipping point, and the loss is a world loss.

    FBI, CIA, American Justice - bunch of tossers

    1. Ian Johnston
      Thumb Down

      Try breaking into a UK university, hacking into their network with a concealed computer and then downloading stuff to which they subscribe and see what happens when you're caught.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        It's better when you don't get caught, tbh.

        1. ukgnome

          I suggest you read this

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jan/13/aaron-swartz-family-mit-government?INTCMP=SRCH

          "The organisation Demand Progress, which Swartz helped to found, had compared the activities of which he was accused to "trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library"

          1. Ian Johnston
            Thumb Down

            And organisation he founded is perhaps not in the best position to act as critical friend. What he did at MIT was more like hiding in the library overnight, scanning books in wholesale and then putting them on the net for download. Or setting up an automatic scraper to make the entire Guardian website available sans advertising.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              >Or setting up an automatic scraper to make the entire Guardian website available sans advertising

              A better example would be scrapping Hansard to make the discussion in parliament free to the voters

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    ".....Identify a first-time offence suspect or someone who is otherwise impressionable...." Which is where your great theory on victimhood falls over - even "impressionable" first-timers have legal advice from their lawyers, it's what they are there for. What you failed to include was it is usually impressionable sheeple that get talked into stupid acts like LOIC attacks without considering the consequesnces, and then crap themselves when they lawyer says "well, you're fucked, best take the plea bargain and pray the judge takes it into account".

  28. mistergrantham

    But...

    he'll miss out on 40~50 years of food & beer!

    What a shame.

  29. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Ian Johnston

      Re: MIT are a disgrace

      Why? How do you think universities should react when people break in physically, hack into their networks and then abuse services for which the university has paid?

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: MIT are a disgrace

      >MIT should hang their heads in SHAME.

      Really, Weren't they amongst they first academic institutions to release all their course notes to all for free on the web?

  30. Wombling_Free
    Pint

    Many changes need to be brought on.

    "Still, suicide is an incredibly selfish act that leaves a lot of family and friends utterly bereft."

    Well, maybe. For some it's a form of defiance. For others, release; you really haven't experienced pain until you've tried severe chronic depression. I strongly suggest NOT trying it , by the way. It's amusing to have preachers try to scare you with stories of hell - physical pain? That'd be a relief, at least you can point to where it hurts.

    As for bringing on many changes - maybe this suicide will. It would be nice if it did.

    I fear things will get a lot, LOT worse before it gets better. Big Gov views the Internet as Pandora's Box, and most probably wish DARPA had kept it top top secret.

    I'd like an icon with a seedling on it, but will resort to that other symbol of life finding a way - beer.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Many changes need to be brought on.

      >"Still, suicide is an incredibly selfish act that leaves a lot of family and friends utterly bereft."

      The thing about depression is that alters the way the world appears to you (such as not realising the esteem and affection people hold you in), preventing you from fully appreciating the consequences of your actions. That said, if believing what you have written will cause someone to hesitate before any drastic action, so be it.

  31. Psyx
    Thumb Up

    Fine article, Reg.

  32. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

    That includes your life.

    Something to think about.

    1. Piro

      Re: You don't know what you've got till it's gone.

      That's the great thing about death, you don't know what you've got, you're not able to know what you had, or could have had, or any of those things.

      After death, anything you ever did doesn't matter. Jimmy Savile is at peace just as much as the nun who runs an orphanage.

  33. mark 63 Silver badge

    Aaron returned the data

    Aaron returned the data

    what?

    had he deleted their copy?

    why is the word "copy" never used in these cases, it might make it easier for idoits to understand

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @mark 63 Re: Aaron returned the data

      "why is the word "copy" never used in these cases, it might make it easier for idoits to understand"

      Very nicely put.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do we really know it was suicide?

    It may seem like an idea of fiction and a movie plot, but how do we really know this man committed suicide?

    With the US's current government and multiple examples of cover up. Example: The public are still waiting on the Benghazi report, but then we already know the reality of what the powers that be wanted it to appear as. The current US president first ran on being the most transparent administration, but has been the complete opposite and he was even so arrogant to publicly threaten the counties Supreme Court regarding the unconstitutional forcing all to purchase insurance coverage. I'd be willing to bet someone gets a handsome commission check from the US insurance industry for this new law. There were better solutions that would not have required 1,000 pages that include hidden taxes, but that would have been too easy. Why does the US always have to make things more difficult then it needs to be? Probably because most of their citizens choose not to face reality/challenges of being self-responsible/self-reliant. If you every want to better understand the American president, watch the movie Obamas America: 2016. It's very helpful in better understanding this president's upbringing and who were major influences in his young life.

    Anyway, It's a huge loss we all have experienced with this young mans death.

    Best wishes to his family and freinds,

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: How do we really know it was suicide?

      "....but how do we really know this man committed suicide?...." If you're going to start a conspiracy and don't want it to be shot down at first pass, I would suggest you pick a theorem where you can at least show motive.

      "....With the US's current government and multiple examples of cover up....." Que? The Obambi administration doesn't seem to have a motive to "fake-suicide" Swartz. After all, the authorities wanted to hammer him both as an example to others and probably so he'd grass up a lot of his alleged Anon-linked buddies. By that argument, you could say the only ones with a motive to bump him off are the Anons, and I can't see them leaving their keyboards and actually completing such a physical task, to be honest. It's not like they could just go and download a script to make Swartz hang himself. I suggest you change your tinfoil supplier.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: How do we really know it was suicide?

      Because if it wasn't - somebody would have left a CIA branded jacket at the scene, they would have parked half-a-dozen Ford Escalades with backed out windows and flashing lights outside while they did it.

      And the agents would now all be on Oprah plugging their book of the operation and signing-up the movie rights

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't it a suicide that triggered the Arab Spring?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Wasn't it a suicide that triggered the Arab Spring?"

      "Wasn't it a suicide that triggered the Arab Spring?"

      Well you don't know, and no one else cares.

      Try googling it. And when the first Google link is to Wikipedia, know that's that as good a place an any to start.... for someone like you.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe he just found out he had a miss-spelled German surname ;)

    OK just flame me now. ahhhh fayyy--eeeerrrrrrrr

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sometimes I try to do things

    Sometimes I try to do things but it just doesn't work out the way I want it to, and I get real frustrated and then like I try hard to do it, and I like, take my time but it just doesn't work out the way I want it to. It's like, I concentrate on it real hard, but it just doesn't work out. And everything I do and everything I try, it never turns out. It's like, I need time to figure these things out, but there's always someone there going “hey mike, you know we've been noticing you've been having a lot of problems lately, you know? You need to maybe get away. And like, maybe you should talk about it, you'll feel a lot better.” And I'm all like “oh, nah, it's ok, you know. I'll figure it out. Just leave me alone, I'll figure it out, you know? I'm just working on it by myself.” And they go “well, you know, if you wanna talk about it, I'll be here, you know? And you'll probably feel a lot better if you talk about it. So why don't you talk about it?” I go “no, I don't want to! I'm ok. I'll figure it out myself!” But they just keep bugging me, they just keep bugging me, and it builds up inside.

    I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything, but then again I was thinking about nothing. And then my mom came in, and I didn't even know she was there. She called my name and I didn't hear her and then she started screaming “Mike, Mike!” And I go “what? What's the matter?” She goes “what's the matter with you?” I go “there's nothing wrong, mom.” Shes all “don't tell me that! You're on drugs!” I go “no mom, I'm not on drugs. I'm ok, I'm just thinking, you know? Why don't you get me a Pepsi?” She goes “No! You're on drugs!” I go “mom, I'm ok. I'm just thinking.” She goes “No! You're not thinking, you're on drugs! Normal people don't be acting that way!” I go “mom, just get me a Pepsi! Please, all I want is a Pepsi!” And she wouldn't give it to me! All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me! Just a Pepsi!

  38. arrbee
    Meh

    I thought this was standard practice for how the law works in the US ?

    i.e. the prosecution threaten the accused until they agree to some kind of guilty plea.

  39. tom dial Silver badge

    Many changes need to be brought on.

    Aaron Swartz's death, whether prompted by the prospect of a lengthy prison term and subsequent poverty, or by his own private demons, is a loss for us all.

    A great deal of the research done in the U. S. is funded either partly or fully by the U. S. Government. It very probably would be a major contribution to "Progress of Science and useful Arts" if:

    1) all research publication and other copyright eligible material paid for in part or whole by the government were required to be made freely available to all of the taxpayers who contributed;

    2) all patents issued based on such research funded in part or whole by the government were required to be assigned to the government and licensed at no charge to any citizen;

    I propose that the above be enacted as the Aaron Swartz Patent and Copyright Act. The U. S. Constitution allows the Congress to provide for patents and copyrights It does not say how it must do so, or even that it must do so at all.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Many changes need to be brought on.

      "..... all research publication and other copyright eligible material paid for in part or whole by the government were required to be made freely available to all of the taxpayers who contributed...." Part of the reason it is restricted is to stop research paid for by US taxpayers being sent abroad without the US taxpayers receiving any benefit.

      ".....all patents issued based on such research funded in part or whole by the government were required to be assigned to the government and licensed at no charge to any citizen...." This would massively disincentivise private industry from forming co-operative projects with the government. It's also more likely to drive those individual inventors to work with private companies so that they can patent their work and receive a return.

      1. tom dial Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Many changes need to be brought on.

        Compromise certainly would be possible.

        1. As far as I know, the articles cited inf Mr. Swartz's indictment were unrestricted as to where they could be sent or downloaded from. The only requirement was that someone pay (again) for the access. That said, the major part of the intent could be met while allowing classified research to remain unpublished or restricted, as it largely is at present.

        2. It is doubtful that inventive people would stop inventing. At present, those working in the private sector are mostly, I believe, under contractual requirement to assign their patents to their employer; this does not stop them from inventing. If the taxpayers provide a share of the money that pays an inventor's salary or wage, they should be as entitled to share in any resulting patents or copyrights as the employer of record. As things now stand, the result is private gain from public expenditures - but not necessarily to the inventor, who may receive only a lump sum bonus.

        There is at-least-somewhat-respectable economic research suggesting that patents may not be of great benefit to society as a whole.

  40. Acme Fixer

    Re: Alan Turing

    In this article there was a statement made about Turing that I believe is incomplete, incorrect, or both. If you have any interest in Turing i suggest you read his bio or Wikipedia or some other more factual source.

    Other than that, I thought the article was good, and I agree with the other principles it discussed.

  41. tom dial Silver badge

    Re: Re: Many changes need to be brought on.

    Further clarification of point 2: A good deal of the joint public/private collaboration is either pure contract work or government efforts to spur development in a certain direction (Solyndra, for example) and would not be undertaken at all but for government participation, often solicited by the promoters. In such cases I see no harm in requiring that all resulting IP be assigned to the government, as agent for the citizens. To use Solyndra as an example, the projected net cost to the government is a $500 million. It seems unlikely that the activity that bought in a field of relatively rapidly growing technology did not result in some patents. Those who buy the carcass at the end of the bankruptcy have less right to them, in my view, than those whose money was spent to get them issued.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's sad...

    ...that people with potential seem to think they can do whatever suits them without any consequences. It should be noted that Swartz was known to suffer from depression and he chose to take his own life. Blaming other people for Swartz's death and numerous inappropriate decisions is foolish and ignorant. He like everyone eles is responsible for their own actions. His death was of his own doing and that is unfortunate but not unusual for those who suffer from depression.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of the control freaks responsible?

    Looking at the article on Wired, http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/01/aaron-swartz/, it seems like Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Heymann in Boston was one of, if not the main players in this.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Aaron Swartz interview from 2001

    Aaron Swartz interview from 2001

    'In a 2001 interview with public radio station WBEZ .. Aaron Swartz .. told the host, Lew Koch, what he imagined the future of the internet would look like. "It's harder to predict the short-term future than the long-term future", he warned, but he suggested that the "semantic web" was just over the horizon. It was to be a "two-way web", he said, "where users of the web can really write their own webpages".'

  45. Mr Common Sense
    Flame

    "Try breaking into a UK university, hacking into their network with a concealed computer and then downloading stuff to which they subscribe and see what happens when you're caught."

    That would be the sort of UK universities that get whopping loads of taxpayers money, where in Scotland all tuition fees are paid for by the public?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Mr Common Sense

      ".......That would be the sort of UK universities that get whopping loads of taxpayers money, where in Scotland all tuition fees are paid for by the public?" I think you'd find that both sides of the border they'd be calling the cops pretty quickly.

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