Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz

Follow up to previous postings on Aaron Swartz, via the Boston Globe - More than a year after Swartz killed himself rather than face prosecution, questions about MIT’s handling of the hacking case persist, By Marcella Bombardieri.

“..MIT is a cradle of world-class scientific research with unpublished data and unpatented inventions on its network, and its leaders felt vulnerable to the rising tide of high-tech espionage…MIT’s efforts to track down Swartz, while under intense pressure from JSTOR, the not-for-profit that ran the journal database, eventually would lead to felony computer crimes charges that might have brought years in . Swartz, 26, was under indictment when he committed suicide in January 2013. Critics, both on campus and around the world, have accused MIT of abandoning its values celebrating inventive risk-taking by helping to doom a young man whose project — likely an act of civil disobedience to make information freely available — didn’t in the end cause serious harm. MIT has insisted it maintained an appropriate, even compassionate, neutrality toward a determined hacker who stole 4.8 million articles and eluded numerous efforts to stop him before the college sought help from police. But MIT’s brand of neutrality proved one with notable limits, according to a Globe review of more than 7,000 pages of discovery documents — many of them e-mails — from Swartz’s court case. In the wake of his death, both MIT and JSTOR posted online documents that they had turned over to authorities, a trove that drew little if any notice at the time. The Globe also obtained a number of e-mails related to the case not available publicly…”

Leave a reply