Anonymous overtakes MIT websites in memory of Aaron Swartz

By on January 14, 2013, 1:00 PM

Hackers claiming ties to Anonymous were able to overtake MIT’s website earlier this morning in memory of Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist that committed suicide last Friday in the midst of federal charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The group also called for an overhaul of computer crime laws, claiming the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice.

The message from Anonymous showed up on at least two MIT website written in a bold red-on –black formatting, according to reports. The group goes on to question the punishment regimens of US computer crime laws as well as the justice of pre-trial bargaining.

If you recall, Swartz was facing heavy fines and up to 30 years in jail following his arrest two years ago for allegedly using a laptop stashed away inside an MIT maintenance closet to access an archive of academic journals using a script written in Python. Prosecutors say he downloaded some 4.8 million articles valued in the millions of dollars.

As the story goes, JSTOR (those behind the archive) wasn’t interested in pressing charges but the US government moved ahead with the indictment anyway. Elliot Peters, Swartz’s lawyer, was in the process of negotiating a plea bargain but prosecutors were firm on the idea of Swartz spending time in prison for his actions.

The Internet activist responsible for helping create RSS and one of the early co-founders was found hanged in his apartment in New York on January 11, victim of an apparent suicide.




User Comments: 19

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1 person liked this | Tabbywabby Tabbywabby said:

I cant agree with anon's means. But what is stated on the web page is something that I truly believe in.

psycros psycros said:

I understand that the system is rigged to favor large, monolithic concerns. But Schwartz didn't even <I>try</I> to work within the system. For someone who was supposed to be highly intelligent, maybe even a prodigy, he certainly wasn't very smart about the way he pushed his agenda. Why do these left-wing activists always think their above the law?

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

There's a big difference between 'facing 30 years in prison', being sent to prison (it's prison, btw, jail is where you go when you're too can't post bail and are awaiting trial) for 30 years and actually spending 30 years in prison. Prisons are so full nowadays that states (in an effort to cut costs as well) are releasing people very very early.

Anon is using this situation for their own purposes (Politics 101, never let a good crisis go to waste). They even state there's no way to know what contributed to his suicide, but they are clearly implying that his upcoming indictment had something to do with it. So they call for reform against oppression? Breaking into MIT and stealing documents is against the law, guys, I don't think Aaron was being oppressed for standing up for what he believed in.

And anyway, isnt' taking over MITs site rather oppressive? Ironic, how fast the activiists become the oppressors as soon as they have the power to do so.

Guest said:

Hey, listen up sheep. I completely agree with both of their means- and here's why- because until we start fighting back against this government of capitalist greed, the rich are gonna get richer and the poor poorer. Education will worsen, and our freedom will be slowly choked to death by copyright law. Stop fearing these prosecutors who are only trying to pad their resumes with an action that cost someone their life- and start refusing to put up with this scheming, greedy, capitalist horseshit. Please, I am begging you. I want to still believe humanity has a chance...

Guest said:

Bunch of loser

Guest said:

Right on!

Fight the man!

We got the power!

Tune in turn on and drop out!

uh, wait that was the 60's, sorry...

look where that got everything....

Guest said:

Psycros, don't even apply left or right to this. If you think only leftists believe they are above the law, maybe you should go experience life more. Next time just say extremists (without any other tie-ins) and you might just be taken more serious.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

"Hey, listen up sheep. I completely agree with both of their means- and here's why- because until we start fighting back against this government of capitalist greed, the rich are gonna get richer and the poor poorer. Education will worsen, and our freedom will be slowly choked to death by copyright law. Stop fearing these prosecutors who are only trying to pad their resumes with an action that cost someone their life- and start refusing to put up with this scheming, greedy, capitalist horseshit. Please, I am begging you. I want to still believe humanity has a chance..."

Wait. Don't bring other stuff from the outside to argue for anon's favor. There are certain thing I agree with how anon handles things but for other things, they're handling it wrong. This is one of them.

Guest said:

R.I.P. Aaron Swartz

treetops treetops said:

I understand that the system is rigged to favor large, monolithic concerns. But Schwartz didn't even <I>try</I> to work within the system. For someone who was supposed to be highly intelligent, maybe even a prodigy, he certainly wasn't very smart about the way he pushed his agenda. Why do these left-wing activists always think their above the law?

Very classy generalizing a group of people based on the actions of a few. Dragging politics into this is disgusting. Do you try to turn every news story into a political debate? We get it your obsessed with politics, do us a favor, go to a political forum.

I don't feel sorry for the guy, he was supposedly wicked smart, he knew the risks.

Guest said:

The truth of the matter is that we all have choices and in this case I believe Aaron Swartz made a poor one. He suffered from depression and made a poor choice. We can blame who ever we want but that doesn't really change anything. We might consider celebrating the good choices that Aaron Swartz made and learn from this experience so that we all may make better choices, ones worth celebrating.

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

@every guest who posted above.

Why should we listen to anything you say? You cant even find two mins to register. How do you plan on defending your POV? Guests are like the guys in a mob who throw bottles from the back.

ANON is ANON. Its more then obvious that they themselves have become part of the oppresive regime. They have a political view point and these use whatever tools are at thier disposal to creat internet havok. But thats about it. Thats all they can do. DDoS websites. With an occasional hack on a weak system. Guys the web isnt the world. The world is the world. Reality. This guy knew what he was doing when he stole all those articles. He hot busted and now has to face the music. He took the cowards way out. Now everyone feels bad for him?? Wake up!!! He wasnt stealing because he needed money im sure. He did it to prove he could do it. He got busted, he should have served his time like a good citizen. Taking the cowards way out says more about his character then anything else. Good let ANON stand up for him. That way they lose credibility even more and become even more of a joke for the late night talk shows.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I have no time of day for people or causes who believe themselves or their agenda to be so important as to justify breaking the law to accomplish. The U.S. is a nation of laws, with legal recourse for the redress of grievances. If you can't effect the change that you desire, you either a) aren't trying hard enough or b) have a worthless agenda, about which, nobody cares. If you take to illegal action, you should be punished accordingly. Call me crazy, but I think people should be punished for committing crimes...

cmbjive said:

Hey, listen up sheep. I completely agree with both of their means- and here's why- because until we start fighting back against this government of capitalist greed, the rich are gonna get richer and the poor poorer. Education will worsen, and our freedom will be slowly choked to death by copyright law. Stop fearing these prosecutors who are only trying to pad their resumes with an action that cost someone their life- and start refusing to put up with this scheming, greedy, capitalist horseshit. Please, I am begging you. I want to still believe humanity has a chance...

Because we all know that the capitalist greed is what prevented Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Sergei Brin, Larry Page, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and a horde of other folks from being able to work within the capitalist system and make products that have benefited everyone that has used them.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

. Call me crazy, but I think people should be punished for committing crimes...

Call me crazy, but I think people should be commended for not blindly following the rules, but rather forming thier own opinions and making choices based on common sense and logic ... not a rulebook wrote by self elected free masons two generations ago and controlled by the greed of industry.

Tygerstrike said:

@amstech

Where I can agree that each individual should reach thier own conclusions. I also agree that any individual who breaks the law needs to be punished for the crimes that they have commited. It really doesnt matter WHEN a law was passed. If it is in effect as a law then they willingly breaking the law means that they willingly accept the consiquences of thier actions. The only way a law gets changed is if someone brave enough to step away from thier robin hood-esk actions and activly go out and change the law. Until then every crime of piracy is simply a grown adult trying to act like a rebelious teenager. Nothing gets changed that way.

Phraun said:

I have no time of day for people or causes who believe themselves or their agenda to be so important as to justify breaking the law to accomplish. The U.S. is a nation of laws, with legal recourse for the redress of grievances. If you can't effect the change that you desire, you either a) aren't trying hard enough or b) have a worthless agenda, about which, nobody cares. If you take to illegal action, you should be punished accordingly. Call me crazy, but I think people should be punished for committing crimes...

There's a certain degree of irony in castigating people for breaking laws in pursuit of an agenda, when the United States as a country would not exist had its founders not done exactly that. Not that I would expect critical thinking from a proponent of blind subservience to "the law".

In any case, it's certainly amusing that MIT's web presence was overtaken with such apparent ease. Either the web master of one of the top tech schools in the world is an *****, or anon isn't as hopelessly incompetent as people seem to believe.

Tygerstrike said:

@Phraun

You present an interesting simili. However you tend to ignore the time difference between then and now. Back then, we didnt have the same level of laws. Our fore fathers disagreed with British rule so they rebeled. Then America was born as a nation of Laws. Therefore although the two incidients may share a similar motive, they are in two entirely different times during two entire different events. Only the rebeling against authority remains constant.

TypeR181 TypeR181 said:

I understand that the system is rigged to favor large, monolithic concerns. But Schwartz didn't even <I>try</I> to work within the system. For someone who was supposed to be highly intelligent, maybe even a prodigy, he certainly wasn't very smart about the way he pushed his agenda. Why do these left-wing activists always think their above the law?

Because sometimes people have to stand up to the corruption and elitism in society, revolution takes action, change is needed. without courage to question authority you are just a sheep.

To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. Voltaire.

If someone says that you are not capable or can?t have something, keep pushing because you can.

It?s not because your special, it?s because everybody has the ability to be awesome.

The reason people say ?No you can?t,? ?God doesn?t want you to,? or they make laws is because they know that you have that in you and they are scared to lose their superior standing.

--Philip DeFranco

?If you?re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.?

--Malcolm X

Think outside of the box ....... someone ?

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