Prosecutor in Aaron Swartz 'hacking' case comes under fire | Politics and Law
A politically ambitious Justice Department official who oversaw the criminal case against Aaron Swartz has come under fire for alleged prosecutorial abuses that led the 26-year-old online activist to take his own life . Carmen Ortiz, 57, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts who was selected by President Obama, compared the online activist -- accused of downloading a large number of academic papers -- to a common criminal in a 2011 press release. "Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar," Ortiz said at the time. Last fall, her office slapped Swartz with 10 additional charges that carried a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison. "He was killed by the government," Swartz's father, Robert, said at his son's funeral in Highland Park, Ill., today, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times. Last Wednesday, less than three months before the criminal trial was set to begin, Ortiz's office formally rejected a deal that would have kept Swartz out of prison. Rep.
He has spent over a year in FCI Seagoville federal prison and at one time faced over a hundred more as he awaited trial on an assortment of seventeen charges filed in three indictments that include sharing an HTTP link to information publicly released during the 2012 Stratfor email leak, and several counts of conspiring to publicize restricted information about an FBI agent. Between September 2013 and April 2014 he was held under an agreed gag order prohibiting him from discussing his case with the media. Early life and education He attended the private Episcopal School of Dallas for high school but dropped out after his sophomore year. That summer, in 1998, he interned at the Met, an alternative weekly, and spent his would-be junior year unschooling in Tanzania with his father, who was trying to start a hardwood-harvesting business. While there Brown completed high school online through Texas Tech, earning college credit. Journalism Arrest and trial
The Internet’s Own Boy: Film on Aaron Swartz Captures Late Activist’s Struggle for Online Freedom
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Park City TV in Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest festival for independent cinema in the United States. This is our fifth year covering some of the films here, and the people and topics they explore. Today, we spend the hour with the people involved in an incredible documentary that just had its world premiere here yesterday. AARON SWARTZ: I mean, I, you know, feel very strongly that it’s not enough to just live in the world as it is, to just kind of take what you’re given and, you know, follow the things that adults told you to do and that your parents told you to do and that society tells you to do. AMY GOODMAN: That was Aaron Swartz in his early twenties. In 2010, Aaron Swartz became a fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Now, despite promises of reform, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act used to charge Swartz remains unchanged. REP. SEN. [break] ROBERT SWARTZ: Yeah.
Remember Aaron Swartz
After Aaron: how an antiquated law enables the government's war on hackers, activists, and you
18inShare Jump To Close Photo Credit: Daniel J. One day back in the early 1970s, two young computer miscreants named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak exploited a hole in AT&T’s phone system to prank call the Pope. In July of 2011, Aaron Swartz was federally indicted for acts that in retrospect seem far more innocuous than those of Jobs and Wozniak. As security researcher and expert witness Alex Stamos explains, what Swartz did wasn't "hacking" — not even under the loosest interpretations. The CFAA may have been written with malicious computer break-ins in mind, but in reality it’s used to target an incredibly broad range of activities completely divorced from “hacking,” and Aaron Swartz is only the most recent example. The hook in Swartz's case had to do with something we should all be familiar with: Terms of Service. Video Review AT&T had known about the loophole, but ignored it. Again, none of this was “hacking” — anyone with an iPad serial number and enough smarts could have pulled it off.
How to Become Virtually Immortal
It’s not enough that Internet companies have entered every corner of human existence—now, some are starting to cater to non-existence. In recent years, Google and Facebook have created systems to deal with death, such as suspending inactive accounts and allowing people to bequeath their data to a surviving friend or relative. The newest entry in the e-death industry is a small start-up called Eterni.me, which is taking end-of-life services to Asimovian extremes. Never has the cryonics movement, with its promise of reviving frozen bodies in the future, seemed so old-school. The company plans to store data from Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, photos, video, location information, and even Google Glass and Fitbit devices. The service’s defining feature is a 3-D digital avatar, designed to look and sound like you, whose job will be to emulate your personality and dish out bits of information to friends and family taken from a database of stored information. Illustration by Dadu Shin.
MIT Moves to Intervene in Release of Aaron Swartz's Secret Service File | Threat Level
Lawyers representing MIT are filing a motion to intervene in my FOIA lawsuit over thousands of pages of Secret Service documents about the late activist and coder Aaron Swartz. I am the plaintiff in this lawsuit. In February, the Secret Service denied in full my request for any files it held on Swartz, citing a FOIA exemption that covers sensitive law enforcement records that are part of an ongoing proceeding. Other requestors reported receiving the same response. When the agency ignored my administrative appeal, I enlisted David Sobel, a top DC-based FOIA litigator, and we filed suit. Two weeks ago U.S. Based upon an off-the-record conference call with the parties’ counsel and counsel for non-party Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”), the Court understands that MIT intends to file a motion to intervene later today, which will include a request for relief relating to the Government’s production of certain documents to Plaintiff. I’ll post MIT’s motion here once it’s filed.
Internet Activist's Prosecutor Linked To Another Hacker's Death
Murder in virtual reality should be illegal | Aeon Ideas
You start by picking up the knife, or reaching for the neck of a broken-off bottle. Then comes the lunge and wrestle, the physical strain as your victim fights back, the desire to overpower him. You feel the density of his body against yours, the warmth of his blood. Now the victim is looking up at you, making eye contact in his final moments. Science-fiction writers have fantasised about virtual reality (VR) for decades. But this new form of entertainment is dangerous. Get Aeon straight to your inbox This is not the argument of a killjoy. So I understand the appeal of VR, and its potential to make a story all the more real for the viewer. The effects of all this gore are not clear-cut. The problem of what entertainment does to us isn’t new. Humans are embodied beings, which means that the way we think, feel, perceive and behave is bound up with the fact that we exist as part of and within our bodies. It’s a small step from here to truly inhabiting the body of another person in VR.
Strongbox and Aaron Swartz
Aaron Swartz was not yet a legend when, almost two years ago, I asked him to build an open-source, anonymous in-box. His achievements were real and varied, but the events that would come to define him to the public were still in his future: his federal criminal indictment; his leadership organizing against the censorious Stop Online Piracy Act; his suicide in a Brooklyn apartment. I knew him as a programmer and an activist, a member of a fairly small tribe with the skills to turn ideas into code—another word for action—and the sensibility to understand instantly what I was looking for: a slightly safer way for journalists and their anonymous sources to communicate. There’s a growing technology gap: phone records, e-mail, computer forensics, and outright hacking are valuable weapons for anyone looking to identify a journalist’s source.