The prosecution of open access activist Aaron Swartz for downloading articles from a database of academic journals is part of a campaign by the US government to place increasing restrictions and controls on internet activity.
Aaron Swartz, a researcher at Harvard, was indicted by federal authorities on July 19 for allegedly using a Massachusetts Institute of Technology networking closet to access JSTOR and download 4.8 million articles. Swartz has pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released on $100,000 bond.
After apprehension, JSTOR sought to immediately recover the documents. After receiving the hard drives containing the documents along with a promise from Swartz that they had not and would not be shared, JSTOR decided not to press charges.
The Department of Justice however, has decided to pursue criminal charges against Swartz, charging him with computer fraud, wire fraud, and unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer. If convicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison.Does that make sense to you?
It sure doesn't to me. A person goes to a place where you can download information and he downloads information and it's a crime because of how much he downloaded?
How does that make sense?
Reeves Wiedeman of The New Yorker explains:
It makes no sense and it's just another sign of how a change in the White House didn't mean a change at all.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):