Tag Archives: Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz and MIT: The inside story

“The mysterious visitor called himself Gary Host at first, then Grace Host, which he shortened for his made-up e-mail address to “ghost,” a joke apparently, perhaps signaling mischievousness — or menace. The intruder was lurking somewhere on the MIT campus, downloading academic journal articles by the hundreds of thousands. The interloper was eventually traced to a laptop under a box in a basement wiring closet. He was Aaron Swartz, a brilliant young programmer and political activist. The cascade of events that followed would culminate in tragedy: a Secret Service investigation, a federal prosecution, and ultimately Swartz’s suicide. But in the fall of 2010, Swartz was still a stranger in the shadows, and the university faced a hard question: How big a threat was the “ghost” downloader? And a harder one: What should be done about him?” (via The Boston Globe)

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New Aaron Swartz Documentary Continues His Crusade for Digital Freedom

“If there’s one takeaway from the documentary The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last week, it’s the overwhelming sense of what could have been. Prior to his death a year ago this month, Aaron Swartz was facing federal hacking charges, but he was also a strong voice in political activism online. He cofounded Demand Progress. He helped stop SOPA. He warned people about government spying. And, as the film demonstrates, he was a young man with an uncanny ability to explain fantastically complex technological and political topics in layman’s terms — one of the best-equipped people to explain why the very laws used to indict him were so outdated.” (via Wired.com)

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Aaron Swartz to Be Honored by Library Association

“The Internet activist Aaron Swartz will be awarded the American Library Association’s James Madison Award on Friday as part of the group’s Freedom of Information Day event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Mr. Swartz, who committed suicide in January in the midst of a federal prosecution for document theft, will be honored for his efforts to promote open access to research and government information, according to the group’s president, Maureen Sullivan.”

via NYTimes.com

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The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings

“Years before the JSTOR scraping project that led to Aaron Swartz’s indictment on federal hacking charges—and perhaps to his suicide—the open-data activist scraped documents from PACER, the federal judiciary’s paywalled website for public access to court records. (The acronym PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records, which may sound like it’s straight out of 1988 because it is.) Swartz got 2.7 million documents before the courts detected his downloads and blocked access. The case was referred to the FBI, which investigated Swartz’s actions but declined to prosecute him. A key figure in Swartz’s PACER effort was Steve Schultze, now a researcher at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. Schultze recruited Swartz to the PACER fight and wrote the Perl script Swartz modified and then used to scrape the site.”

via Ars Technica

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