I just read the latest update on the Aaron Swartz case, and it turns my stomach. Here’s the summary from boingboing:
Wired reports that Federal prosectors have added nine additional felony counts against coder, freedom of information activist, and early Reddit employee (or Reddit co-founder, depending on who you ask) Aaron Swartz. Last year, he was charged with breaking hacking laws “by downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database via an open connection at MIT.” Pay attention to this case. The outcome could set precedents that increase legal hazards for security researchers, activists, and online journalists who operate with perfectly good and lawful intentions.
Honestly, I can’t understand where the desire comes from to make an example of him, because that’s exactly what this is: crossing the line from what would be appropriate prosecution of a civil case to a persecution involving multiple felony counts. Why? To get headlines? Sour grapes after failing to apprehend Julian Assange (which no doubt was rather expensive and time-consuming for the government)? Eric Holder is either asleep at the wheel or determined to get out the wrong message.