HACKTIVISTS for Anonymous have released the documents for which the late internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz could have faced prison.
Swartz faced up to 35 years or more in prison for downloading the JSTOR academic papers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) servers before he reportedly committed suicide last weekend.
His passing created a wave of anguish, sympathy and support that spread over the internet. The web has been filled with tributes and calls for change, a petition asks that US anti-computer crime laws be relaxed, and now the documents at the centre of his persecution have been released.
The leak comes via a Twitter account called Tylersec and a Pastebin post. The post is addressed to attorney Carmen Ortiz, Stephen Heymann and some people at MIT.
"HIS NAME IS Aaron Swartz. He is twenty-six years old, and you wanted to divide us so that we will turn on each other rather than stand up for our rights. The people you are after are the people that society depends on: we write songs, we create art, we build, we invent, we feel love and laugh, we will defend our freedom to our last breath. Do not fuck with us," it says.
"The First leak from the Anonymous Tyler Network: 33 GB of the JSTOR files that Aaron Swartz died to bring to the world."
JSTOR has already tried to distance itself from what has happened, and tried to limit its role in the prosecution of Swartz. MIT has become something of a target for activists after it seemed to admit that it did not know how involved it had been.
MIT president Rafael Reif told his colleagues in an email that he was saddened by the news and wanted to understand exactly what role MIT had played.
"I want to express very clearly that I and all of us at MIT are extremely saddened by the death of this promising young man who touched the lives of so many. It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy," he wrote.
"I have asked Professor Hal Abelson to lead a thorough analysis of MIT's involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present. I have asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took. I will share the report with the MIT community when I receive it." µ
Or so says the rumour mill ...
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