prosecuting greedy Wall Street fat cats responsible for the financial crisis rather than ideologically overzealous hackers like Aaron Swartz

January 23, 2013

(Aaron Swartz beat prosecutors by increasing political support for open access. – Slate Magazine) …it is both ironic and apt that Swartz’s defenders argue that the government should be prosecuting greedy Wall Street fat cats responsible for the financial crisis rather than ideologically overzealous hackers like Swartz. Ironic because the same populist outrage against dimly understood behavior motivates the call for prosecutions of hackers and the call for prosecution of bankers. Apt because the argument shows how much prosecutorial discretion both influences social policy and is in turn subject to political pressure.

As Orin Kerr has pointed out, this is a generic complaint about our criminal justice system. Lawmakers pass extremely broad and vaguely worded statutes that criminalize vast swaths of behavior then leave it to prosecutors to decide who to target and who to spare. The major constraint on prosecutors is limited resources, so they threaten defendants with draconian punishments to coerce them into plea bargains. Judges and juries remain backstops against the worst injustices, but because trials themselves are ruinously expensive and can end in long prison terms, defendants often forgo the protections they offer.

example:

vague laws against “disorderly conduct” and “loitering” and “breach of the public peace,” which enable police to arrest whoever they want.(MORE)


Of course the Nanny State has a response to Aaron Swartz

January 23, 2013

(Swartz suicide won’t change computer crime policy, says prosecutor • The Register) The aggressive prosecution of computer crimes won’t be changed in light of the suicide of internet activist Aaron Swartz, a spokeswoman for Boston US Attorney Carmen Ortiz has said.
“Absolutely not,” Ortiz told the Boston Herald. “We thought the case was reasonably handled and we would not have done things differently. We’re going to continue doing the work of the office and of following our mission.”

Swartz is the second suicide linked to Boston computer crime investigations. Jonathan James, who gained notoriety in January 2000 as a teenager who cracked Department of Defense and NASA systems, shot himself in the head in 2008 after being named as a suspect in Ortiz’s biggest computer crime case, the TJX hacking scam. Over 94 million accounts at retailer TJX were compromised in an attack that was at that time the most extensive yet seen, and James was named as a conspirator. While he denied involvement in the crime, James said he had no confidence in the legal system and shot himself before the case came to court

it never occured to Bloomberg News that the overprotective nature of our lives was what led to this guys death?

(Swartz Suicide Propels Facebook Search for Danger Signs – Bloomberg) Swartz’s death follows a pattern of high-profile suicides within the industry. In 2008, Jonathan James, a hacker who was the first juvenile incarcerated for cybercrime in the U.S., died at age 24. In 2009, Dan Haubert, a co-founder of TicketStumbler, died when he was 25. Gene Kan, the founder of InfraSearch, died in 2002, at age 26. In 2011, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, a co-founder of the social media site Diaspora, died by suicide at age 22.

Facebook Inc. (FB) is helping to open a window into the minds of those who die by suicide.
The social media site is providing researchers at the suicide prevention group SAVE.org a glimpse of how those who take their own lives behave in the days leading up to their deaths, as outlined in their Facebook postings. Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Save and a national leader in the counseling field, expects the information will one day help friends, family and social media sites better identify warning signs in the words and actions that lead up to suicide. It will be a year before they have the data gathered, he said.

Facebook isn’t alone in its efforts. Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG) also have put systems in place over the last few years that direct at-risk users to counseling help, or allow others to report concerns to the company.
Twitter itself isn’t conducting research on suicide prevention, said spokesman Jim Prosser in an e-mail. However, an outside researcher or group could conduct a study using Twitter data, he said.
Google’s search engine, meanwhile, has been designed to bring up the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for any searches on “suicide” or related terms, said Jay Nancarrow, a spokesman for the Mountain View, California- based company.


How M.I.T. Ensnared a Hacker, Bucking a Freewheeling Culture

January 22, 2013

Afterlife: #AaronSwartz and his @EFF pals @JillianCYork will be looking into a mirror and see their prosecution. If one’s house is built on sand and the ocean blows the sand into the ocean, then does one own the ocean? And should one trespass onto property to blow the sand into the ocean to mimic nature at the expense of a government that thinks it owns the ocean …only to be imprisoned disproportionately is it really different than becoming nature itself by trespassing? Both MIT, JStor, the Gov and Aaron were playing as G-d. no doubt property can not be contained. Can Aaron be contained any more than nature? No, But can Aaron contain himself? Yes, but is the punishment of trespassing worthy of 30 years? MIT, JStor, and the GOV are not living beings, but Aaron was a human being. We all have shortcomings, but the liberty of institutions should never take priority over the liberty of breathing men, even men that wrap themselves in the pretense of liberty and nature. Aaron was trying to control nature, as was his prosecution. It was almost a symbiotic relationship in that both knew no limits to their power.

By NOAM COHENPublished: January 20, 2013
In the early days of 2011, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology learned that it had an intruder. Worse, it believed the intruder had been there before.
Months earlier, the mysterious visitor had used the school’s computer network to begin copying millions of research articles belonging to Jstor, the nonprofit organization that sells subscription access to universities. The visitor was clever — switching identifications to avoid being blocked by M.I.T.’s security system — but eventually the university believed it had shut down the intrusion, then spent weeks reassuring furious officials at Jstor that the downloading had been stopped.
However, on Jan. 3, 2011, according to internal M.I.T. documents obtained by The New York Times, the university was informed that the intruder was back — this time downloading documents very slowly, with a new method of access, so as not to alert the university’s security experts.
“The user was now not using any of the typical methods to access MITnet to avoid all usual methods of being disabled,” concluded Mike Halsall, a senior security analyst at M.I.T., referring to the university’s computer network.
What the university officials did not know at the time was that the intruder was Aaron Swartz, one of the shining lights of the technology world and a leading advocate for open access to information, with a fellowship down the road at Harvard.
Mr. Swartz’s actions presented M.I.T. with a crucial choice: the university could try to plug the weak spot in its network or it could try to catch the hacker, then unknown. The decision — to treat the downloading as a continuing crime to be investigated rather than a security threat that had been stopped — led to a two-day cat-and-mouse game with Mr. Swartz and, ultimately, to charges of computer and wire fraud. Mr. Swartz, 26, who faced a potentially lengthy prison term and whose trial was to begin in April, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Brooklyn apartment on Jan. 11. Mr. Swartz’s supporters called M.I.T.’s decision a striking step for an institution that prides itself on operating an open computer network and open campus — the home of a freewheeling programming culture. M.I.T.’s defenders viewed the intrusion as a computer crime that needed to be taken seriously.
M.I.T. declined to confirm any of these details or comment on its actions during the investigation. The university’s president, L. Rafael Reif, said last week, “It pains me to think that M.I.T. played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.” He appointed a professor, Hal Abelson, to analyze M.I.T.’s conduct in the investigation. To comment now, a spokeswoman for the university said, would be “to get ahead of that analysis.”
Early on Jan. 4, at 8:08 a.m., according to Mr. Halsall’s detailed internal timeline of the events, a security expert was able to locate that new method of access precisely — the wiring in a network closet in the basement of Building 16, a nondescript rectangular structure full of classrooms and labs that, like many buildings on campus, is kept unlocked.
In the closet, Mr. Halsall wrote, there was a netbook, or small portable computer, “hidden under a box,” connected to an external hard drive that was receiving the downloaded documents.
At 9:44 a.m. the M.I.T. police were called in; by 10:30 a.m., the Cambridge police were en route, and by 11 a.m., Michael Pickett, a Secret Service agent and expert on computer crime, was on the scene. On his recommendation, a surveillance camera was installed in the closet and a second laptop was connected to the network switch to track the traffic.
There may have been a reason for the university’s response. According to the timeline, the tech team detected brief activity from China on the netbook — something that occurs all the time but still represents potential trouble.
E-mails among M.I.T. officials that Tuesday in January 2011 highlight the pressures university officials felt over a problem they thought they had solved. Ann J. Wolpert, the director of libraries, wrote to Ellen Finnie Duranceau, the official who was receiving Jstor’s complaints: “Has there ever been a situation similar to this when we brought in campus police? The magnitude, systematic and careful nature of the abuses could be construed as approaching criminal action. Certainly, that’s how Jstor views it.”
Some of Mr. Swartz’s defenders argue that collecting and providing evidence to the government without a warrant may have violated federal and state wiretapping statutes. “This was a pivotal moment,” said Elliot Peters, Mr. Swartz’s lawyer. “They could have decided, we’re going to unplug this computer, take it off the network and tell the police to get a warrant.”
Mr. Peters had persuaded a judge to hear his arguments that the evidence collected from the netbook be excluded from the trial, asserting that Mr. Swartz’s Fourth Amendment protections from unlawful search and seizure had been violated. (All charges against Mr. Swartz were dropped after his death.)
Investigators first caught sight of Mr. Swartz on camera the day it was installed. At 3:26 p.m., the timeline notes, the “suspect is seen on camera entering network closet, noticeably unaware of what had occurred all morning.”
But Mr. Swartz managed to leave before the police could arrive. Also, “on his way out, the suspect shuts off the lights,” the timeline reports, which “will hurt video quality and possibly work against the motion activation of the camera.” A technician quickly turned them back on.
Mr. Swartz certainly knew his way around the M.I.T. campus — as his defense pointed out in court, he had given a guest lecture there, he had many friends on campus, and his father, Bob Swartz, remains as a consultant at the university’s Media Lab. Two days later, the timeline notes that Aaron Swartz “enters network closet while covering his face with bike helmet, presumably thinking video cameras may be in hallway.” More seriously for the M.I.T. investigation, “once inside and with the door closed, he hurriedly removes his netbook, hard drive and network cable and stows them in his backpack.” He was gone within two minutes, too quickly for the police to catch him.
Perhaps suspecting he was being watched, Mr. Swartz moved the computer. But M.I.T.’s tech team believed it had tracked it to the fourth floor of the same Building 16. The university called for “police presence.”
A little after 2 p.m., according to the government, Mr. Swartz was spotted heading down Massachusetts Avenue within a mile of M.I.T. After being questioned by an M.I.T. police officer, he dropped his bike and ran (according to the M.I.T. timeline, he was stopped by an M.I.T. police captain and Mr. Pickett). He was carrying a data storage device with a program on it, the government says, that tied him to the netbook. The arrest shocked friends of Mr. Swartz, as well as M.I.T. alumni. Brewster Kahle, an M.I.T. graduate and founder of the digital library Internet Archive, where Mr. Swartz gave programming assistance, wrote: “When I was at M.I.T., if someone went to hack the system, say by downloading databases to play with them, might be called a hero, get a degree, and start a company. But they called the cops on him. Cops.”
Mr. Swartz turned over his hard drives with 4.8 million documents, and Jstor declined to pursue the case. But Carmen M. Ortiz, the United States attorney in Boston, decided to press on. The government has defended M.I.T.’s decision to “collaborate” with the federal investigation and argued there was no need for a warrant because, as a trespasser on M.I.T.’s campus, Mr. Swartz had no reasonable expectation of privacy for his netbook. And M.I.T.’s officials were rightfully concerned, the government argued, by the threat they faced.
“M.I.T. had to identify the hacker and assist with his apprehension in order to prevent further abuse,” the government argued in court.
Michael Sussmann, a Washington lawyer and a former federal prosecutor of computer crime, said that M.I.T. was the victim and that, without more information, it had to assume any hackers were “the Chinese, even though it’s a 16-year-old with acne.” Once the police were called in, the university could not back away from the investigation. “After there’s a referral, victims don’t have the opportunity to change their mind.” Mr. Swartz’s father, in a telephone interview, described himself as “devastated” by M.I.T.’s conduct during the investigation of his son. “M.I.T. claimed they were neutral — but we don’t believe they acted in a neutral way,” he said, adding, “My belief is they put their institutional concerns first.”
He described attending two meetings with the chancellor of M.I.T., Eric Grimson. Each time there also was a representative of the general counsel’s office. At both meetings, he said, members of M.I.T.’s legal team assured him and the chancellor that the government had compelled M.I.T. to collect and hand over the material. In that first meeting, he recalled, “I said to the chancellor, ‘Why are you destroying my son?’ He said, ‘We are not.’ ”
John Schwartz contributed reporting.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: January 21, 2013
An earlier version of this article misquoted part of statement by a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Referring to a review of M.I.T.’s conduct that was commissioned by the university’s president, she said to comment now on the events surrounding Aaron Swartz’s arrest would be “to get ahead of that analysis,” not “to get ahead of that investigation.” 
A version of this article appeared in print on January 21, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: How M.I.T. Ensnared a Hacker, Bucking a Freewheeling Culture.

Updated: if #AaronSwartz had gotten older he might of realized that his progressive buds @EFF and MIT were hypocrites

January 17, 2013
Aaron Swartz and Jonathan Pollard. So much in common. Not 100% innocent Jews, but their fate was probably flavored with AntiSemitism.
(Hey Jillian C York… Why didn’t you help me with my legal bills?)

(The father of information activist Aaron Swartz blames US prosecutors for his son’s death)Before his days with Apple, recalled Mr. Swartz, Jobs and his business partner Steve Wozniak “used to criminally defraud the phone company” by selling small “blue box” devices that allowed anyone in the country to conduct long-distance calls for free. Gates’ development of Microsoft’s BASIC, Swartz said, was “sketchy” at best. “These are people who are lionized,” he said, and “treated like idols in our culture.”

And so the conspiracies from Russia will be promoted like 911Truth. It is sad that no one offered to pay this guy’s legal bills when he was alive… now everyone will profit off of his death. The same conspiracy theorists that took advantage of a man of logic when he was alive will continue to spin this to their advantage and blame this on a free nation. It is one thing for a grieving father to defend his child. It is another thing for a news outlet like RT to shamefully report this.

(Our Legal System Didn’t Give Aaron Swartz a Chance) In his book Three Felonies a Day, veteran defense attorney Harvey Silverglate warns that “the trend of ambitious prosecutors exploiting vague federal laws and pursuing criminal charges instead of more appropriate civil actions” makes potential criminals of us all.  Redundant indictments for multiple offenses flowing from a single act — and threats of lengthy, life-destroying sentences — enable prosecutors to extort pleas from innocent or not-terribly-guilty defendants. It is often “nearly impossible for normal, rational, self-interested, calculating people to risk going to trial,” Silverglate observes. Moreover, the minority of people willing to take that risk may be deprived of the means to do so by pretrial orders freezing any assets allegedly generated by their alleged offenses.

Noah: People ask me why I took a guilty plea of misdemeanors when I set out to free information. Here is why. I’m alive. Adam Swartz is dead. I get to write this: Adam trusted in the system and his elitist Boston @EFF pals who did nothing. My mother asked me why I never contacted the ACLU. For a good reason I didn’t. These people are parasites. This Adam guy believed in justice and the system. I guess I’m a cynic… but I didn’t have to kill myself……… if this #hacker #AaronSwartz had gotten older he might of realized that his progressive buds @EFF and MIT were hypocrites. He took the fall for other people’s greed. If academia is funded by totalitarian governments and you are busy destroying the property in a free market then it doesn’t matter how much insider code you have. All the scum on twitter’s first year that were touting the open platform of twitter with RSS were the last people to bitch when the social networks turned into walled archetypes. The elite in these programs depend on the system that they rail against. Progressives are a lot like Muslims. They kill their own more than anyone else.

This weekend the internet mourned the loss of one of its folk heroes. Aaron Swartz, a co-creator of RSS and an early employee of popular link-sharing site Reddit, was found dead in his New York apartment on Friday. The post-Reddit era in Aaron’s life was really his coming of age. His stunts were breathtaking. At one point, he singlehandedly liberated 20 percent of US law. PACER, the system that gives Americans access to their own (public domain) case-law, charged a fee for each such access. After activists built RECAP (which allowed its users to put any caselaw they paid for into a free/public repository), Aaron spent a small fortune fetching a titanic amount of data and putting it into the public domain. The feds hated this. They smeared him, the FBI investigated him, and for a while, it looked like he’d be on the pointy end of some bad legal stuff, but he escaped it all, and emerged triumphant.
He also founded a group called DemandProgress, which used his technological savvy, money and passion to leverage victories in huge public policy fights. DemandProgress’s work was one of the decisive factors in last year’s victory over SOPA/PIPA, and that was only the start of his ambition.

Do a google search for ‘Noah David Simon’ and you can see they did to me what they did to Aaron Swartz. The difference with me is I could see my opposition. This guy was too far on the inside to realize that he was in the lion’s den. His crowd was with people who distributed a lot of Palestine propaganda… against free markets. Though Abbas leader of Fatah appears to claim to be Libertarian, Fatah started as a Socialist movement. You can realize that copyright is obsolete without railing against private property. Free markets recognize there are somethings you can not own. It doesn’t mean the government owns it. I’m sure Aaron’s friends feel they are closer to Libertarians, like Abu Mazen… but that just becomes sustaining an unsustainable system. It’s a lie either way. Socialist or Libertarian… it’s breaking the rules. Anarchy always defaults to tyranny.

If he had been found guilty of the charges, Swartz faced up to 35 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines, although it has emerged that negotiations between his lawyers and prosecutors had included a potential plea bargain of six months in prison. Condemnation of prosecutors over the litigation against Swartz continued on Tuesday. A petition to the Obama administration to remove Ortiz from office reached 28,188 signatures, past the crucial 25,000 signatures needed for a White House response. In July 2011, Ortiz said in a statement about the case: “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.” Lawyers for Swartz said that, despite their best efforts, prosecutors had refused to negotiate a plea bargain which did not involve jail time. One also said that MIT refused to agree to a plea bargain in which Swartz did not serve time. Andy Good, Swartz’s initial lawyer, told the Boston Globe that he had warned one prosecutor, Steve Heymann, that his client was a “suicide risk”. Good said: “His reaction was a standard reaction in that office, not unique to Steve. He said: “Fine, we’ll lock him up.” I’m not saying they made Aaron kill himself. Aaron might have done this anyway. I’m saying they were aware of the risk, and they were heedless.” Lawyers for Swartz said they had offered to accept a deferred prosecution or probation, so that if he did it again he would serve time. Marty Weinberg, who took the case over from Good, told the paper he nearly negotiated a plea bargain in which Swartz would not serve any time. He said JSTOR signed off on it, but MIT would not. “There were subsets of the MIT community who were profoundly in support of Aaron,” but that support did not override institutional interests, Weinberg told the Globe. Another of Swartz’s attorneys, Elliot Peters, said on Monday that MIT officials were “very cooperative with prosecutors” during the investigation. “MIT could have handled things differently, rather than inviting law enforcement and turning it into a federal criminal case,” Peters said.

(Anonymous hacks MIT after Aaron Swartz’s suicide | Internet & Media)

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
  • the extreme measures of the prosecution merely reflect Anonymous and groups like EFF

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
  • …actually that’s bullshit. Aaron came off looking like a good guy and guys like Noah David Simon (that is me) were libeled as stalkers of women. If anything Aaron realized that he had nothing to live for and it was probably because of this sicko culture he was a part of that encouraged him. He would not of been an insider unless he was mentally ill

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
  • try attacking feminism for free expression and see how quickly Anonymous will abandon the martyr

  • We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.

that includes violent threats… if not then they should support the Jewish Internet Defense Force

(M.I.T.’s president, L. Rafael Reif, said he had appointed a prominent professor, Hal Abelson, to “lead a thorough analysis of M.I.T.’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present.” He promised to disclose the report, adding, “It pains me to think that M.I.T. played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.” )The last post he wrote on that blog, in November, was a detailed analysis of the final installment of the “Batman” series.

The Joker is actually the hero

…only in the movie Aaron. The rules work only within the given system… He had no faith and was stuck within the constructs of logic. No faith, hence the suicide.

Having warned his readers that he was about to reveal the conclusion of the movies, he ended the post by writing:

Thus Master Wayne is left without solutions. Out of options, it’s no wonder the series ends with his staged suicide.”

But Aaron did not fake his suicide. He must of been disappointed by the third movie.