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Aaron Swartz is indicted for computer fraud and abuse

Net activist misused JSTOR database, say coppers
Wed Jul 20 2011, 11:08

US LAW ENFORCEMENT has indicted internet activist and Reddit founder Aaron Swartz for misusing and publishing scientific material from the JSTOR scientific and academic database.

In a statement the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that it indicted Swartz on charges related to computer fraud and abuse stemming from the misuse of the JSTOR database that saw him download a lot of documents, just under two million.

"We have been subpoenaed by the United States Attorney's Office in this case and are fully cooperating," said JSTOR in a statement. "While we cannot comment on this case, we would like to share background information about the incident and about our mission and work with the academic community and the public."

Swartz allegedly was behind a "significant misuse" of the JSTOR database that saw a large amount of content downloaded via the Massachusetts Institute of Technology network and an Acer laptop. This apparently was done in a sophisticated manner designed to avoid detention.

The documents are mostly academic and include book reviews, articles and other academic journals. No personal information was taken and, to be fair, it looks like Swartz was only liberating some information that could have been of interest to many people.

Fittingly then, the internet has come out in support of Swartz, and almost 20,000 people have signed a letter supporting him since the indictment was announced.

JSTOR said it did not bring the downloading to the attention of the DoJ, but as it says above, it is cooperating. Swartz, who hates to see perfectly good infomation languishing behind paywalls, turned himself in, according to reports. µ


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