Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), government prosecutors enjoy wide discretion. Typically, a prosecutor would push for a punishment proportional to the harm done by the crimes alleged. In Swartz’s case, it is clear this did not happen. JSTOR declined to press charges, but the government pursued the case anyway.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Monday January 14, 2013 10:25 am|
|By: DSWright Monday January 14, 2013 6:40 am|
In the wake of Aaron Swartz’s death, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has launched an internal investigation into the role the University played in Swartz’s prosecution.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Sunday January 13, 2013 8:35 am|
There are multiple reactions and statements circulating on the death of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide in New York yesterday. Many of them highlight the sheer injustice he was experiencing, as he was subjected to a vindictive government prosecution for “hacking” into a JSTOR database to free articles for people to read.
The reflections also show how Swartz inspired many through his spirit and passion for acting in ways that would make the world a better place.
|By: DSWright Saturday January 12, 2013 6:00 pm|
In a country full of stupid laws – written by corrupt politicians, refined by maniacal bureaucrats, and enforced by ruthless careerists – few are stupider than the current version of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. On the surface it seems sensible, first passed in 1986 as a basic legal protection against unauthorized access of federal or major corporate computer systems the law has since expanded (with particular help from the PATRIOT Act) into an amorphous blob of contradictions that is only temporally congealed into a semblance of rational jurisprudence to offer a pretext for selective prosecutions. In short, the law has become a favorite club of the state to beat political dissidents with and so it is that in enforcing this asinine law a luminary of the internet has been hounded into an early grave.