Print 17 comment(s) - last by inperfectdarkn.. on Jan 30 at 2:43 PM

Aaron Swartz  (Source:
The letter includes questions about Swartz' involvement with ending SOPA

Two members from a congressional committee have sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) wanting answers in regards to the charges against Aaron Swartz.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, wrote a letter to the DOJ asking what exactly pushed the department to prosecute Swartz in such an intense manner.

The letter, written January 28, asked the following seven questions since this is no longer a criminal case:
  1. What factors influenced the decision to prosecute Mr. Swartz for the crimes alleged in the indictment, including the decisions regarding what crimes to charge and the filing of the superseding indictment?
  2. Was Mr. Swartz's opposition to SOPA or his association with any advocacy groups among the factors considered?
  3. What specific plea offers were made to Mr. Swartz, and what factors influenced the decisions by prosecutors regarding plea offers made to Mr. Swartz?
  4. How did the criminal charges, penalties sought, and plea offers in this case compare to those of other cases that have been prosecuted or considered for prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?
  5. Did the federal investigation of Mr. Swartz reveal evidence that he had committed other hacking violations?
  6. What factors influenced the Department's decisions regarding sentencing proposals?
  7. Why was a superseding indictment necessary?
“It appears that prosecutors increased the felony counts by providing specific dates for each action, turning each marked date into its own felony charge, and significantly increasing Mr. Swartz’s maximum criminal exposure to up to 50 years imprisonment and $1 million in fines,” said the letter.

Swartz, an internet activist and co-creator of Reddit and the RSS standard, was in hot water after he accessed JSTOR database with a personal laptop in 2011. Using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) data network, Swartz downloaded over 4 million academic journals and planned to make them available to the public for free.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz decided to slam Swartz with 13 felony charges that could have sent him to jail for up to 50 years. He also would have had a $1 million fine for his actions.

However, Swartz was offered a couple of different plea deals, such as a 7-8 month prison sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to all 13 felony counts, and a six-month prison sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Swartz turned down all of the plea deals, since he didn't want any felony charges on his record and didn't want to spend any time in prison.

With the weight of the government on his shoulders, Swartz committed suicide on January 11, 2013.

Source: The Next Web

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Just B.S.
By Beenthere on 1/29/2013 6:02:07 PM , Rating: -1
The House Committe crap is just a ruse for unscrupulous politicians to dupe the public into thinking they actually care that Swartz was a jackarse and took his life. The talking heads just want to get re-elected.

The fact is that Swartz made bad choices including his decision to kill himself. It's not the DOJ or anyone else's fault that Swartz hacked, was caught and was being prosecuted. This is what happens when you make bad choices in life. Instead of worshipping a moron, the assclowns should get a grip on reality and understand that if you can't do the time then don't do the crime.

Piracy and hacking are all a big game to many ignorant yoof until they get caught and prosecuted. The the "system" is unfair and the laws should be changed to indulge those who have no respect for law and order. My hope is that those people all kill themselves or rot in prison. If you can't live by the laws of society then I'm perfectly fine with you checking out. Have a nice life.

RE: Just B.S.
By Philippine Mango on 1/29/2013 6:55:33 PM , Rating: 3
he didn't 'hack' anything, he merely accessed, no 'hacking' involved. The definition of 'hacking' and 'wire fraud' has been used so broadly and widely that nearly everything you do on the computer could be construed as that. It's absolutely ridiculous!

RE: Just B.S.
By inperfectdarkness on 1/30/2013 2:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
Wait....I thought Obama was all "pro-hacking" now...

RE: Just B.S.
By ritualm on 1/29/2013 7:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
illegible rant

Do you honestly believe any of the diatribe you just wrote?

What bad choices did Swartz make? He elected to take his own life because the alternative - a criminal record for what is a relatively minor offense, especially compared to the bigger white-collar crime that affected thousands - is intolerable for anyone with a smidgen of common sense. You don't have any of it.

What really happened is the government decided to give Swartz hell just because, after it's long decided that he didn't do anything wrong at all.

You should really stop posting on DT.

RE: Just B.S.
By tng on 1/30/2013 8:56:51 AM , Rating: 2
What bad choices did Swartz make?
I know that I will get voted down for this, but here it is... Swartz made a whole string of bad choices, ending with his decision to commit suicide.

No matter what I think of the DOJ's behavior here (they went way to far), he had to have known what he was doing and that there could be consequences involved.

Hopefully this will serve as a platform to do some reform on what is considered "hacking" and the penalties will be reformed for the how the real world operates.

RE: Just B.S.
By mbungle87 on 1/30/13, Rating: 0
RE: Just B.S.
By guffwd13 on 1/30/2013 10:43:44 AM , Rating: 1
If you can't live by the laws of society then I'm perfectly fine with you checking out.

By that logic, the founding fore fathers of this country should've killed themselves instead of leading a revolution. Not equating hackers to them - though Washington et al were just people until they did something important and succeeded - but pointing out that it is up to the people to keep the government in check by whatever means.

Russia became a democracy. The people got so excited by the idea and the fact they were making money, they ignored the government quietly passing law after law to become the same government it was before the fall of Communism. Thus they have the same oppressive government they had before. OneState, Big brother... whatever you want to call it, hacking is the only weapon the people still have against governments with large militaries. You think semi-automatic rifles are going to do anything?

Not condoning all forms of hacking, but don't be so quick to pass judgement over others who in principal are necessary for survival.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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