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The Internet's Own Boy

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the add-your-review-below dept.

Movies 194

theodp (442580) writes "The Internet's Own Boy, the documentary about the life and death of Aaron Swartz, was appropriately released on the net as well as in theaters this weekend, and is getting good reviews from critics and audiences. Which is kind of remarkable, since the Achilles' heel of this documentary, as critic Matt Pais notes in his review, is that "everyone on the other side of this story, from the government officials who advocated for Swartz's prosecution to Swartz's former Reddit colleagues to folks at MIT, declined participation in the film." Still, writer/director Brian Knappenberger manages to deliver a compelling story, combining interesting footage with interviews from Swartz's parents, brothers, girlfriends, and others from his Internet projects/activism who go through the stages of joy, grief, anger, and hope that one sees from loved ones at a wake. "This remains an important David vs. Goliath story," concludes Pais, "of a remarkable brain years ahead of his age with the courage and will to fight Congress-and a system built to impede, rather than encourage, progress and common sense. The Internet's Own Boy will upset you. As it should." And Quinn Norton, who inadvertently gave the film its title ("He was the Internet's own boy," Quinn said after Swartz's death, "and the old world killed him."), offers some words of advice for documentary viewers: "Your ass will be in a seat watching a movie. When it is done, get up, and do something.""

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His choices... (5, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 5 months ago | (#47349089)

First, I agree that the data should have been free. I even agree that the investigation into him seemed to be heavy handed.

However, Schwartz made an odd and poor choice in getting to the data. He could have downloaded the data from his own desk in his own office. Instead he went to the library and entered a wiring closet that was clearly not supposed to be open to the public. If he wanted to further his cause, this was a poor choice.

Re:His choices... (5, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | about 5 months ago | (#47349149)

He made bad choices, and then reacted extremely badly to the rather predictable consequences. I'm not sure he's much of a poster boy for anything much. It's sad, but I'm not sure what exactly we're supposed to be celebrating here.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349209)

Because he killed himself because of broken IP laws. You just don't get it, do you? If the laws weren't in place he'd be alive today. It's the **AA that is keeping people like Aaron repressed for their profits.

Re:His choices... (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 months ago | (#47349251)

Because he killed himself because of broken IP laws. You just don't get it, do you? If the laws weren't in place he'd be alive today. It's the **AA that is keeping people like Aaron repressed for their profits.

While I do feel sorry for what happened to him .. He didn't kill himself because of broken IP laws .. he killed himself because of a mental state that seemed to preclude any option other than suicide. If he had utilized freely and easily obtainable mental health resources(*) he probably would still be alive today.

* Assuming that such things are actually available.

Re:His choices... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349313)

You're one of the shills who just doesn't get it. Information demands to be free and no amount of for-profit logic will fix that. I'm sure that the tide is turning fast enough that we'll soon see a revision in copywrong laws and you'll be forced to stop living on your past works. Once the Repiglicans lose in the upcoming elections there will be a tide of common sense that will make this change.

Re:His choices... (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 5 months ago | (#47349705)

Information doesn't want anything. People want to be free.

Aaron made a series of bad choices, and we shouldn't be glamorizing them and turning him into a hero.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349835)

I'm not sure I've ever seen so many delusional sentences strung together in such a short comment.

Re:His choices... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350055)

It's not for-profit logic. Copyright exists for a legitimate reason, to provide some incentive for people to create things and to distribute them, both of which have real costs in time and effort. That's why it's been around for centuries. The fact that copyright law has been perversely lengthened to ridiculous extremes is a big problem that must be fixed, but it doesn't negate the value of having copyright for much shorter terms. Works need to expire to the public domain, otherwise the people who rely on copyright don't have the same incentive to make new stuff, and the public doesn't get anything for granting a temporary copyright monopoly in the first place. Creators just sit on old stuff and milk it forever.

On top of that, JSTOR isn't even a for-profit operation, which means it is a pretty poor example to choose for a principled stand against current copyright law. A principled way to do it would have been to scan in out-of-copyright journals yourself, or maybe ones that would have been out-of-copyright if the terms hadn't been extended ridiculously (e.g., from the 1930s and 1940s), and then put them up on the web for free. Dare the publishers to sue you. It would take a lot of work to set it up. Guess what? It would also cost money. Web space doesn't come for free, especially if high traffic.

Instead Swartz chose the shortcut of downloading JSTOR's scanned-in archive en masse, despite the fact it violated the license terms for access. JSTOR didn't go all RIAA on him, they just wanted the mass downloads to stop, and MIT was obliged by their license to try to make it stop, efforts that Swartz kept circumventing, culminating in him installing a laptop in a non-public networking closet to do so.

Good principle, bad implementation. None of which justifies the tragedy of how the prosecution was carried out or the tragedy of him committing suicide, but that doesn't absolve him from his own bad choices.

Re:His choices... (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#47350371)

Copyright exists for a legitimate reason, to provide some incentive for people to create things and to distribute them, both of which have real costs in time and effort.

A mere pretext to protect established industries from new technologies that reduce the time and effort to create things. Today's developments are nothing new. It has always been the intent of these laws to restrict access to a means of production to an exclusive club, starting with the old writers guilds that initially created this mess when faced with the printing press. It was cronyism right from the get-go. These laws are corrupt by design, not defect.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350347)

Vote third party

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349331)

He killed himself because he was about to get 10+ years in prison where he'd probably get raped and stuck in solitary containment for his own protection and barred from using computers. His reasons were rational.

Re:His choices... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350191)

The feds threat was six months, not 10+ years.

On September 12, 2012, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding nine more felony counts, which increased Swartz's maximum criminal exposure to 50 years of imprisonment and $1 million in fines.[12][84][85] During plea negotiations with Swartz's attorneys, the prosecutors offered to recommend a sentence of six months in a low-security prison, if Swartz would plead guilty to 13 federal crimes. Swartz and his lead attorney rejected that deal, opting instead for a trial in which prosecutors would have been forced to justify their pursuit of Swartz

Internet bullies (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 months ago | (#47349411)

.. he killed himself because of a mental state that seemed to preclude any option other than suicide.

He was bullied into suicide by believable threats of a 50yr prison sentence from authority, just as surely as that 13yr girl was bullied into suicide by a grown woman on facebook a few years ago. The authorities did everything they could to hang that woman even using facebook terms of services against her, and so they should, it is after all their job. But where are the rabid prosecutors that are taking Swartz's tormentors to task? Why have the authorities not pulled out every trick in the book to hang those official bullies with the same fervor and determination they did when pursuing an uneducated, immature soccer mom?

Re:Internet bullies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349511)

If he was indeed "bullied", then probably best to have him gone. Otherwise it would be another coward in the potential breeding pool.

Re:Internet bullies (3, Informative)

twdorris (29395) | about 5 months ago | (#47349563)

First, that 13 year old girl was bullied on My Space, not Facebook. Prosecutors tried to go after her, but ultimately she was acquitted of the main felony charge anyway. So maybe nobody is going after the "bullies" in this case because they know better. If they can't even get a 3-year sentence to stick on an "uneducated, immature soccer mom", what chance do they have against high ranking officials that will be even harder to pin down anyway? Seems like a good call to me.

Re:Internet bullies (1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47349853)

He was bullied into suicide by believable threats of a 50yr prison sentence from authority

... You really believe that? You need mental help as well. There are FAR worse things than the threat of jail time, even 50 years. He had mental issues. There is no other reason to commit suicide. He also was a criminal with criminal intent in every action he took.

He's not a hero, he's a sad mental case. What he did was wrong. Period. End of story. The fact that he killed himself because he couldn't deal with the consequences of his actions doesn't magically make him a hero nor does it make what he did right.

He was never going to live a long and healthy live if he killed himself over this situation. I've been on the receiving end of the threat of long term incarceration in AN AMERICAN PRISON. There are far scarier things in the world. You need some perspective.

Re:Internet bullies (-1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 5 months ago | (#47350219)

He also was a criminal with criminal intent in every action he took.

Or he was practicing non-violent civil disobedience, which until recently was considered a virtuous American value and taught to school children.

Do you revile Henry David Thoreau as much as you do Aaron Schwartz?

Re:His choices... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349873)

Don't be obtuse. He killed himself because the "justice" system has become so aggressive, predatory and vindictive that it makes logical sense to do so. Its goal isn't even slightly about justice. It exists to perpetuate the establishment, and fuck anyone who dares challenge it in the pursuit of progress for public liberty and enrichment of knowledge.

I could elaborate for paragraphs on end why this shouldn't have even been a blip on the DOJ's radar, but the documentary does an excellent job of that. You should watch it.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349273)

So we're supposed to celebrate someone who was mentally unstable enough to commit the greatest of sins, suicide?

Re:His choices... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349385)

Swartz was a tragic, confused (sexually?) figure. If the IP laws were different, maybe he would've found a different cause and done the same thing. As it was, the laws he was protesting don't exactly stir memories of the Montgomery (AL) Bus Boycott. People who have the advantage of a college education (or are on track to get one) might have to fork over $100/yr for a subscription when they shouldn't have to, or else they might have to schlep over to the stacks of a bricks-and-mortar university library like MIT's.... tyranny!

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349587)

Wow, it takes a special level of retard to blame the **AA for an overzealous prosecutor trying to work her way up the Obama regime. Even today, there's NO PROOF that he wasn't drone-killed by Obama.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350021)

Because he killed himself because of broken IP laws. You just don't get it, do you? If the laws weren't in place he'd be alive today. It's the **AA that is keeping people like Aaron repressed for their profits.

I do get it and I'm not buying your argument.
If laws against molesting children weren't in place, then Gary Tanner would still be alive today.
http://www.newsandtribune.com/... [newsandtribune.com]

I know that attacking children is not equivalent to downloading information, and that this is an extreme case to be using for a comparison, but a great many criminals feel the same way, and a great many child molestors believe repressive laws are preventing children from fully expressing their sexual sides. No kidding. They feel I'm not doing anything wrong, the law is wrong.
The reason we have prisons is because a great many people feel the law does not apply to them and that we can do whatever we want if we think the law is bad. Aaron is not a person to be admired nor emulated.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349427)

He made bad choices, and then reacted extremely badly to the rather predictable consequences. I'm not sure he's much of a poster boy for anything much. It's sad, but I'm not sure what exactly we're supposed to be celebrating here.

Yup. This guy was just another form the same whackadoodle spectrum crap as Elliot Rodgers.

Not quite understanding the world and how it works.

It just so happens this guy fixated on data instead of sex and lack of getting it and he chose a self-destructive form of dealing with it.

For some folks, socializing comes naturally, for others it's a learned skill that is never quite mastered. It's not surprising that some people don't put enough effort into it, or see the value in it, and move onto "other" methods.

Before you mod me down for being an unsympathetic asshole, I _am_ one of those guys so that's how I know about this and yeah it sucks. There are paths one can follow that leads to this stuff and it takes continuous effort to stay off of them. Someone that happens to not be so aware of it could have problems.

The bottom line is this was HIS choice to do HIS OWN actions and then he acted out and refused to deal with the consequences, Though those were scary at first, ultimately they would have been some fines and some probation. IF he wanted to play their game instead of trying his own game, his own choice. He spent a lot of time trying to be an "activist" and "fixing" the world and I don't get why he never picked up on the fact that the world would push back.

Re:His choices... (1)

CodeArtisan (795142) | about 5 months ago | (#47349603)

He made bad choices, and then reacted extremely badly to the rather predictable consequences. I'm not sure he's much of a poster boy for anything much. It's sad, but I'm not sure what exactly we're supposed to be celebrating here.

Sadly. I agree. He was certainly smart enough to be aware of the consequences of getting caught and of the precedent the Feds have set in similar cases regarding punishment.

Re:His choices... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 5 months ago | (#47350063)

Just want to chime in as another vote here. I think it's a very vocal minority that make Aaron Schwartz into the poster boy he is. It helps his case that he was well known personally by a lot of prominent bloggers. I think many of the supporters are too closely connected to him to look at the situation in an objective manner. I don't really blame them. I'd probably be doing something similar if one of my friends had something similar happen to them.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350137)

funny how facebook dudes were not locked up for they same thing ... wait the were rich .. carry on.

Re:His choices... (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47349229)

I'm getting a little tired of the lionization of this guy too. I have to wonder if he would be as celebrated in the media if he weren't so young, charismatic, and good-looking. Hackers get busted all the time for doing much less innocuous stuff, and there are plenty of important cases out there with much more import on tech and privacy issues. But it always seems to be the good-looking young guys whose faces end up splashed all over the media as the hacker heroes.

Re:His choices... (1)

richlv (778496) | about 5 months ago | (#47349259)

i have no idea what he looked like (and him being male, i don't care). i followed the story, though - and it seems to me that the ones "getting tired" are those who benefit from the current copy-lack-of-rights state

Re:His choices... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349591)

I don't benefit from IP laws, but I'm tired of hearing about him. There are 38,196 suicides each year in the USA as of 2012, why should this kid stand out(helping with RSS is paltry)? If we're going to get all touchy feely and sad about his suicide - what about those other 38,195 people? Where are their movies? Who is throwing a fit that they aren't with us?

Re:His choices... (3, Insightful)

richlv (778496) | about 5 months ago | (#47349823)

were they all prosecuted by one of the most powerful states in the world for a tiny, tiny crime ?

Re: His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349329)

Given demographics of the internet companies, why wouldn't they lionize him the way Treyvon was lionized?

Citation required. (1, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 months ago | (#47349451)

If there are such "important cases" happening as you have claimed, it should be easy to provide an example of one of these "unsung heroes" facing a 50yr sentence, right?

Re:Citation required. (3, Informative)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47349601)

The EFF has a whole list [eff.org] of cases, most of which are way more important for the rest of us than the Schwartz case would have been.

Re:His choices... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349257)

Goes to state of mind, does it not? I don't think for a second he felt that he was looking at getting in too much trouble legally, by what he was doing. Slap on the wrist, pay some fines, maybe probation. Certainly not years, or as the DA threatened, decades behind bars. And that's the crux of it. Where is the balance between reasonable prosecution, acceptable law, and justice? Wherever it is, it certainly wasn't anywhere near this case.

I think in the end, that's something his actions will ultimately spotlight: legal coercion by DA's/ADA's and Prosecutors is unethical, and should be illegal. As much as we chime that this is about freedom of 'information' , documents of pubically funded research, that's just the shell of the real problem at heart.

Re:His choices... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350315)

A slap on the wrist (six months) was exactly what they offered:

From wiki:
On September 12, 2012, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding nine more felony counts, which increased Swartz's maximum criminal exposure to 50 years of imprisonment and $1 million in fines.[12][84][85] During plea negotiations with Swartz's attorneys, the prosecutors offered to recommend a sentence of six months in a low-security prison, if Swartz would plead guilty to 13 federal crimes. Swartz and his lead attorney rejected that deal, opting instead for a trial in which prosecutors would have been forced to justify their pursuit of Swartz

Re:His choices... (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 months ago | (#47349301)

I even agree that the investigation into him seemed to be heavy handed.

Carmen Ortiz wanted to make a big name for herself with some wealthy media donors in her bid to be elected Governor of Massachusetts.

Things went a little wrong for her, and someone paid with his life for her political ambitions.

She's was waiting for all this to be forgotten, until she can campaign again.

This documentary will make her wait a few more years.

Re:His choices... (-1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47349881)

The kid took his own life. No one did this to him, he did it to himself.

Stop blaming others for his inability to cope with the consequences of his actions.

Stop trying to promote this nanny state bullshit where everyone magically doesn't ever need the ability to cope with the harsh realities of the world.

Re:His choices... (4, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 5 months ago | (#47349321)

Much of the data is free and available elsewhere. All the public domain content, in fact is freely accessible.

What JSTOR especially provides, and part of what Aaron was reaping wholesale, was its organization and links, basically the indexing and cross-indexing. _That_ is what makes JSTOR so useful, and what people pay JSTOR for: the breadth and searchability of the data. JSTOR is already a non-profit agency, whose fees are quite reasonable for the service they provide. And Aaron kept _breaking_ parts of JSTOR by downloading too much too fast, and overwhelming the servers.

Activism, or hacktivism, is one thing. Breaking critical research tools for millions of customers worldwide is abuse, and clearly criminal in several ways. I'm afraid that Aaron earned prosecution. The extent of the prosecution seems severe, but as best I can tell, the prosecutors were quite willing to "deal" for a a very low sentence, as long as the deal included a felony conviction. I'm afraid that that haggling over the charges and the sentence is _normal_ for prosecutors.

Re:His choices... (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47349907)

non-profit is nothing but an advertising term anymore.
If you run a for-profit corporation. Your corporation makes money which it spends to expand and invest and to pay salaries, and you might go home with a million dollar salary.
If you run a non-profit. Your agency makes money which it spends to expand and invest and to pay salaries, and you might go home with a million dollar salary.

Which does not mean that JSTOR is bad itself.

Re:His choices... (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47349985)

" I'm afraid that that haggling over the charges and the sentence is _normal_ for prosecutors."

Which is part of the problem. Prosecutors are under a lot of pressure to get a guilty plea, and often resort to intimidation to secure it. Thus the standard deal: Confess and we promise five years, or fight in court and we'll do our best to lock you up for fifty.

Re:His choices... (3, Interesting)

butalearner (1235200) | about 5 months ago | (#47350095)

Activism, or hacktivism, is one thing. Breaking critical research tools for millions of customers worldwide is abuse, and clearly criminal in several ways. I'm afraid that Aaron earned prosecution. The extent of the prosecution seems severe, but as best I can tell, the prosecutors were quite willing to "deal" for a a very low sentence, as long as the deal included a felony conviction. I'm afraid that that haggling over the charges and the sentence is _normal_ for prosecutors.

One thing I learned from Wikipedia that I hadn't heard anywhere else is that, a few years earlier, Swartz first downloaded the Library of Congress's "complete bibliographic data set" (whatever that is), then a bit later downloaded millions of public domain court documents from a paywalled system called PACER. The Library of Congress normally charged fees to access the former, and the latter charged users 8 cents per page back then (now it is 10 cents per page up to $3 per document). Despite gaining the attention of the FBI, he didn't get so much as a slap on the wrist for either one.

So we have a couple aspects potentially contributing to what happened. First, Swartz probably felt reassured by his past experiences that, even if caught, he wouldn't get in trouble. Second, he didn't make any friends in the government by pulling his first two stunts, so when federal prosecutors realized they could get him, they went overboard. This is just conjecture, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was true.

Re:His choices... (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47349339)

First, I agree that the data should have been free. I even agree that the investigation into him seemed to be heavy handed.

However, Schwartz made an odd and poor choice in getting to the data. He could have downloaded the data from his own desk in his own office. Instead he went to the library and entered a wiring closet that was clearly not supposed to be open to the public. If he wanted to further his cause, this was a poor choice.

Most atrocities start with a seemingly simple mistake made by the victim. That doesn't justify ruining a mans life over what was essentially a pretty tame prank. I did worse than that... far worse... while I was in college and all I got was banned from the lab for a week. Of course, when I did it, downloading a file wasn't a federal crime yet.

Re:His choices... (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47349717)

His life was never ruined by the prosecutors. His life was ruined by his poor decision to kill himself.

Re:His choices... (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 5 months ago | (#47350035)

Well, it was you fuckshits who demanded "no tolerance laws" to protect the children, you know. If they showed any tolerance, it wouldn't be a zero-tolerance policy, would it? Careful what you ask for, you civilization-destroying piece of shit.

His imprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349361)

However, Schwartz made an odd and poor choice in getting to the data

No matter what choice he chose, Mr. Schwartz has made an imprint that not many others can match

You may want to critic Schwartz, you may even be the best Monday Morning Quarterback, but, before you continue to criticize what Mr. Schwartz did, please do ask yourself, what have you done for the world ?

Re:His choices... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349409)

First, I agree that the data should have been free. I even agree that the investigation into him seemed to be heavy handed.
However, Schwartz made an odd and poor choice in getting to the data. He could have downloaded the data from his own desk in his own office. Instead he went to the library and entered a wiring closet that was clearly not supposed to be open to the public.

...at a different institution. He had free access to that database at his desk, but he went to a different school to do his secretly-scrape-the-entire-scholarly-database project.

He quite obviously knew that what he was doing was wrong.

Re:His choices... (5, Insightful)

inhuman_4 (1294516) | about 5 months ago | (#47349543)

For sure he made some poor choices.

But that doesn't excuse the government response. The justice department had no reason to act in such a heavy handed manner. They quite clearly wanted to make an example of him and were willing to bend the law to do so.

But the bigger issue here isn't Swartz, it's the fact that this kind of treatment has become common place. Putting a "hacker" in solitary confinement didn't make any sense when they did it to Kevin Mitnik, and it didn't make any sense with Swartz. It's an abuse of power, the tragedy is it took a suicide for people to notice.

Re:His choices... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349583)

That, and he was a pussy for killing himself instead of facing what he did like a man.

Re:His choices... (1)

tawt (1193211) | about 5 months ago | (#47349653)

How did you manage to get so many things wrong in one sentence?

Re:His choices... (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 5 months ago | (#47349633)

He could have downloaded the data from his own desk in his own office. Instead he went to the library and entered a wiring closet that was clearly not supposed to be open to the public.

If you were going to download a lot of data, would you choose a node with many hops to the server or just a few? I would pick the one closest to the server.

wifi is slow [Re:His choices...] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#47349837)

He could have downloaded the data from his own desk in his own office. Instead he went to the library and entered a wiring closet that was clearly not supposed to be open to the public.

If you were going to download a lot of data, would you choose a node with many hops to the server or just a few? I would pick the one closest to the server.

Nice rationalization, but his first few attempts at scraping the database was by downloading via the MIT wifi network, so it's clear that speed of access wasn't his main objective here. It was only after he was repeatedly blocked from doing that by wireless access (being blocked should have been a clue to him) that he snuck into the closet.

Re:wifi is slow [Re:His choices...] (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 5 months ago | (#47349963)

It was only after he was repeatedly blocked from doing that by wireless access (being blocked should have been a clue to him) that he snuck into the closet.

OOoooh. Did he sneak in on his belly like a cobra or on tippy-toes like the spy-vs-spy cartoon? Seems like that would just draw undo attention. Or maybe he just walked in, and you are making shit up.

Snuck [Re:wifi is slow [Re:His choices...]] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#47350163)

He could have downloaded the data from his own desk in his own office. Instead he went to the library and entered a wiring closet that was clearly not supposed to be open to the public.

If you were going to download a lot of data, would you choose a node with many hops to the server or just a few? I would pick the one closest to the server.

Nice rationalization, but his first few attempts at scraping the database was by downloading via the MIT wifi network, so it's clear that speed of access wasn't his main objective here. It was only after he was repeatedly blocked from doing that by wireless access (being blocked should have been a clue to him) that he snuck into the closet.

OOoooh. Did he sneak in on his belly like a cobra or on tippy-toes like the spy-vs-spy cartoon? Seems like that would just draw undo attention. Or maybe he just walked in, and you are making shit up.

Uh, since you don't seem to know anything about the case, why are you commenting?

Here are the first couple of links from a google search

The Washington Post: Jan 12, 2013 - "When MIT cut off access to its wireless network, Swartz snuck into an MIT network closet and plugged his laptop directly into the campus ..."

What Aaron Swartz did at MIT - Daily Kos
Jan 13, 2013 - Between November and December 2010, Aaron Swartz accessed this room ...... The closet he snuck his laptop in turned out..."

Why We Should Remember Aaron Swartz - Businessweek Jan 13, 2013 - "It also has people like Aaron Swartz, whose work makes empires ... He snuck into a closet at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and used ..."

Swartz Caught in a Closet (Update) | Simple Justice Jul 20, 2011 - "Aaron Swartz, a 24-year-old programmer and online political activist, has ... on copies of JSTORs content without having to sneak into a closet, ..."

And the video is online: https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Re:Snuck [Re:wifi is slow [Re:His choices...]] (1)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about 5 months ago | (#47350309)

For the record, that video shows him walking casually into the room, not "sneaking" into it. You might see something nefarious going on, but I don't.

Re:Snuck [Re:wifi is slow [Re:His choices...]] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#47350513)

For the record, that video shows him walking casually into the room, not "sneaking" into it. You might see something nefarious going on, but I don't.

I suggest that you e-mail the 784,000 web pages that say Aaron Swartz snuck into the closet, and inform them they're using the English language wrong:
https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

"sneaking" indicates that he made deliberate attempts not to be caught doing the action. It does not imply that he wore a trenchcoat and a stocking cap.

Re:His choices... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47349893)

... right, because the hops ON HIS LAN were so congested that the wiring closet was faster than the port at his desk because the cable was 3 meters instead of 50 meters long.

That is about the weakest argument I've ever seen in defending his bullshit.

Cowards way out (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349093)

Hes a pussy that took the cowards way out.

Re:Cowards way out (2)

tawt (1193211) | about 5 months ago | (#47349143)

A bit like you posting this as AC

Re:Cowards way out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349231)

Or maybe - maybe - he just doesn't have an account.

Posting anonymously to avoid mod points having to be wasted hiding my post.

Re:Cowards way out (1)

tawt (1193211) | about 5 months ago | (#47349479)

Maybe he (she?) doesn't have an account.

But he (she?) definitely doesn't know anything about depression if that's truly what (s)he thinks.

Re:Cowards way out (2)

ameen.ross (2498000) | about 5 months ago | (#47349535)

Hes

the cowards way out

Judging by their spelling, I'm absolutely positive they have a Slashdot account.

Isn't it easy for you to call others "coward"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349389)

Please tell us, what have you done for the world, apart from wasting oxygen and posting more inane nonsense online ?

Re:Isn't it easy for you to call others "coward"? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47349729)

He has stood up for what he believes in, that people who commit suicide are cowards.

IF this kid was THAT good? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349119)

He shouldn't have wiped himself out - he did himself, & possibly the rest of us, a huge disservice by offing himself (sorry for those of you that don't *like* that, but it's truth)...

I feel bad the kid offed himself - I do, but it's like when I've seen great musical artists off themselves... it makes you wonder how much MORE they could have offered the rest of us, decades ago (killing themselves with drugs usually) up into today - instead, taking away their influences & genius (that, is SELFISH folks).

You're given talents in this life. Use them to be of service to others, to help positively shape a BETTER world... it's YOUR DUTY as a human being (& part of what separates us from animals imo, who sometimes, I feel are BETTER PEOPLE THAN PEOPLE are).

He stopped that, cold... for himself, & the rest of us.

APK

P.S.=> Nuking yourself though? Come on - it solves a temporary problem - no matter how "BAD" you *think* it's going to be... this kid took the wrong road, depriving the rest of us what he MAY have done for "the absolute good" in the future - that's NOT possible now: Imo, he didn't *think* of that, before he acted in the act that allows you to be BOTH the ultimate aggressor & the ultimate victim, in the same stroke... what a shame!

(I understand he was facing jailtime - well, jail isn't always a hell, unless you're a child rapist etc. - then, even the cons there consider you scum... This kid was ANYTHING BUT that - heck, imo, they would've made him a KING there imo, as he was trying to "stick it to the man" etc. - et al)... apk

He also didn't think of those that loved him (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349147)

See subject-line: Since when you do THAT, you tear THEIR HEARTS OUT too... THAT is "f'ing" selfish!

* Think about that, folks!

APK

P.S.=> The boy did it WRONG... for himself, those that loved him, & yes - quite possibly for the rest of us as well (what a damn shame)... apk

Re:He also didn't think of those that loved him (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349221)

APK, when I see comments like this from people regarding suicides, it tells me immediately that the person making these comments has never felt suicidal. Never been so utterly and completely depressed that death seems the better option at the time. You simply cannot understand this if you have never experienced the feeling.

The tragedy is that many who do don't make it through the experience. I am glad that I didn't go through with it at that point in my life when it seemed the best option... Although, to be honest, it was really only further self-doubt that delayed taking the final plunge long enough for things to start to turn around.

It is a tragedy that Aaron Shwartz didn't make it through for things to start getting better, but there is certainly blame to be shared in his case... We ALL, as a society as a whole, failed Aaron imo.

Re:He also didn't think of those that loved him (1)

Slackus (598508) | about 5 months ago | (#47349481)

APK, when I see comments like this from people regarding suicides, it tells me immediately that the person making these comments has never felt suicidal. Never been so utterly and completely depressed that death seems the better option at the time. You simply cannot understand this if you have never experienced the feeling.

The tragedy is that many who do don't make it through the experience. I am glad that I didn't go through with it at that point in my life when it seemed the best option... Although, to be honest, it was really only further self-doubt that delayed taking the final plunge long enough for things to start to turn around.

It is a tragedy that Aaron Shwartz didn't make it through for things to start getting better, but there is certainly blame to be shared in his case... We ALL, as a society as a whole, failed Aaron imo.

Parent, +1. You can spot someone that has no experience or knowledge of clinical depression a mile away.

Re:He also didn't think of those that loved him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349613)

and how many other people who are far more important than this schmuck (Swartz) don't get movies created about them when they kill themselves?

Man, have YOU got ME wrong... apk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349715)

If you read my other reply to the poster you replied to also? I do have it (even personally to a degree somewhat - but I KNOW that "this too, shall pass"...) - I've had GOOD pals knock themselves off, & yes, I saw it coming... not a DAMN THING I could do about it (I saw 2 sides of them is why - 1 was excellent, made me *wish* I was them in a way because of the gifts God gave them, others don't have (no, not even me)). The other side I saw (depressed on girls, a DUMB THING to worry about when you're good looking etc. imo & they were) I figured they'd blow off (women can give an aspirin a headache I've found - Jack Nicholson said it best: "Take a man, & take away all reason + accountability & you've got a woman" lol) & find another is all!

* However - I do know that NO MATTER HOW "F'ING BAD" IT GETS, that if you do "the right thing" (yes, purely relative term), it all comes out in the wash, clean... for lack of a better expression here.

APK

P.S.=> I will also stick to my guns on the statement that blowing yourself away is SELFISH... I mean, you've GOT to feel for those that care for you, & realize that NO MATTER WHAT, they won't abandon you when times get tough (if they really love you that is, & THAT is when you find out who your REAL PALS are - when you're down)... apk

Perhaps (I never have felt that way): Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349491)

Like you, or anyone else, I've had shitty times in this life - however, "this too, shall pass" always rings true man...

I.E./E.G: I've had 2 pals of mine "smoke themselves" - & honestly? It blew my mind: Guys who had *EVERYTHING* to live for, no less (good looks, charm, wealthy families etc. - et al) - real "easy street"...

1 was a former roommate of mine & yes, good pal (we had some great times together, & now? He's "history" & he's MISSED SO MUCH, makes me angry & sad)!

Yes, I saw his life daily, he had it "going on"/made in a LOT of ways most guys would never have the chance to (on the grounds noted above in fact - many guys would KILL for those, & heck - they do!).

APK

P.S.=> However, you have a point: I am NOT them, so it's not right for me to superimpose my standards on them... still, I have to go back to what I said - they were selfish, hurting everybody around them that cared for them, in doing what they did too... apk

Re:He also didn't think of those that loved him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349689)

Suicide is as much about attention-getting and passive-aggressive revenge behavior as it is about depression. Anyone who is depressed and fully honest with themselves will understand that they don't deserve a release from pain, no matter how bad it is. If you think you deserve a release, then that means there's some shred of self-esteem left there that needs to be purged from the system.

Re:IF this kid was THAT good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349649)

You know APK, i don't usually agree with you, but this time, you are spot on. Sometimes though, in the depths of depression, its hard to see your value, getting through that on the other hand...

Then "great minds think alike" (lol) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349801)

I stick to my guns on what I said, mostly on 1 point: You nuke yourself, you're also nuking those that love you (& would've helped you through it - IF they really love you: That's what family (the most) & 'friends' (HARDEST THING TO FIND A REAL ONE, if you have even 1, consider yourself lucky) too... when you're down, THAT's when you find out who your REAL pals, are).

Giving up HOPE is the worst thing you can do - there is ALWAYS that, unless you're gone. "This too, shall pass" & we've ALL been there (I think it's part of the test that we live in, yes... it's a test, a game that can't be won, only played... why? To make you a BETTER soul! See, I believe there is GOD, & he puts us here, just like parents put us in school - to make us BETTER/STRONGER - because he loves us!)

APK

P.S.=> Anyhow/anyways - see subject-line above, & "onwards & upwards" (which you can't DO, if you put yourself 6 ft. under)... apk

Not very remarkable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349137)

How is it remarkable that the people "on the other side" didn't want to participate (meaning "the wrong side", I presume)? You think they would have felt they got a fair shake when the editing was all said and done? If you are running a company and Michael Moore shows up at your door, you think you'll come off looking good? It would have to be someone who is known for being fair before you'd want to sit down with them on something like this.

Re:Not very remarkable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349505)

Yeah-- of course it's a "David versus Goliath" story when they tell only one side of the story.

Do any of the people in the film say "basically, he was an asshole with an attitude. He had no social skills, but thought that whatever he did was always right"?

Re:Not very remarkable (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47349541)

Well, NOT answering will pretty much ensure that you'll get the short end of the stick, along with a "and we tried to get them to tell their side but they didn't want to, so obviously they can't refute it".

If you're asked for a comment and you know (or at least suspect) that the interviewer will be unfavorably disposed towards you, ask for WRITTEN questions and that you may answer with a WRITTEN statement. That way you will not only get caught off guard by a question and have to find an answer within seconds while a camera is pointed at you and every second hesitation is already painted as "he's going to invent a lie now", you can even retroactively still say "no comment" without looking bad on cam if you simply can't come up with any kind of sensible answer that doesn't make you look like you're eating kittens for breakfast.

Why didn't Swartz ask for more help? (3, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 5 months ago | (#47349173)

The thing that always bothered me about Swartz is why didn't rich benefactors in the tech industry help him not only with his legal issues, but also with his known issues with clinical depression. A strong, vigorous defense team provided by the EFF and getting Swartz psychiatric help could have saved his life.

Re:Why didn't Swartz ask for more help? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349213)

A man must be strong enough to handle his own clinical issues. If not, erased from the gene pool -- no matter what his IQ is.

Re:Why didn't Swartz ask for more help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349247)

I suspect it's because, at the end of the day, his case wasn't that nearly as important as it's been made out to be since his suicide and EFF funds are more limited than most people realize.

Re:Why didn't Swartz ask for more help? (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47349359)

Because it was none of their business?

Re:Why didn't Swartz ask for more help? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349455)

EFF had already noted, and supported, Aaron's more legitimate political interests, and welcomed his participation in their political activity. I'd be quite curious if their legal staff had reached out to Aaron with help or suggestions already: they certainly agreed with many of his goals.

I used to know Mike Godwin, the EFF's first lawyer who helped win the Steve Jackson case against the Secret Service. I can just picture Mike trying to explain the difference between the la-la land in Aaron's head, and what the law *really* says, and how judges *really* act. Shame he's moved onto things, I'd have paid good money to watch that. Of course, I knew him way back on alt.sex.abuse, along with the EFF's first employee, Rita Rouvalis, nicknamed "Czarina Rita" on the newsgroup. I always wondered about those two.....

Re:Why didn't Swartz ask for more help? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 months ago | (#47349617)

The thing that always bothered me about Swartz is why didn't rich benefactors

Really? When the prosecutor was tring to shoot for 30 years and crap like wire fraud, that was what bothered you?

A Call to Arms (2, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 5 months ago | (#47349207)

Your ass will be in a seat watching a movie. When it's done, get up and do something.

Yeah.

Make a documentary or something.

Where can I download this? (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about 5 months ago | (#47349219)

After all, Aaron would have wanted the data to be free.

Re:Where can I download this? (4, Informative)

Jjeff1 (636051) | about 5 months ago | (#47349243)

Re:Where can I download this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349629)

spoiler: darth vadar is his father.

What's so remarkable? (2, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#47349223)

Which is kind of remarkable, since the Achilles' heel of this documentary, as critic Matt Pais notes in his review, is that "everyone on the other side of this story, from the government officials who advocated for Swartz's prosecution to Swartz's former Reddit colleagues to folks at MIT, declined participation in the film."

It seems to be entirely unremarkable that a story told from only one perspective - presumably the one that shows the main "character" in a positive light - should get good reviews.

Tell it from both sides and you risk leaving the audience with unsatisfyingly ambiguous feelings about the whole affair; it's almost as if life isn't black and white!

No-one likes that in a movie.

What's so remarkable? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#47349323)

The remarkable legal part was that the Aaron Swartz "documents" where sealed under a protective order.
DOJ, MIT, JSTOR Seek Anonymity In Swartz Case:
Recall http://yro-beta.slashdot.org/s... [slashdot.org]

Re:What's so remarkable? (1)

James-NSC (1414763) | about 5 months ago | (#47349979)

Tell it from both sides and you risk leaving the audience with unsatisfyingly ambiguous feelings about the whole affair; it's almost as if life isn't black and white!

No-one likes that in a movie.

Quite the contrary, had Gibson included the Roman perspective in "Passion" I would have enjoyed that movie a whole lot more.

Roman Citizen: You taking the chariot out tonight?
Roman Soldier: Yea, me any my cohort are going to do some drive by crucifixions...

And people ask me... (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47349487)

And people ask me why I say we're not in any way more free than any other dictatorship. "But we have free speech!" Yeah. But as soon as someone would listen, rest assured that we'll find a way to hang you.

Or get you to hang yourself, for all we care.

"But we can have guns!" So? The laws are rigged to ensure the government has the bigger ones AND the media power to ensure you're smeared as the bad guy enough that everyone supports that artillery strike against your cute little fortress.

You're free to do as you're told.

Re:And people ask me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349771)

Yes, we have free speech. The law can't punish you for what you say. But when you take your cause as far as civil disobedience, you face legal consequences.

Re:And people ask me... (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47350265)

"The law can't punish you for what you say"

As if what you say makes any difference.

Re:And people ask me... (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#47349917)

And people ask me why I say we're not in any way more free than any other dictatorship.

You should answer with 'because I'm an ignorant idiot who has no idea what its like to live in an actual dictatorship'.

Seriously, you have no fucking clue how great you have it.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't raise holy hell when the government does something wrong, but to compare the USA to a dictatorship just makes it clear you're just utterly ignorant of the real world.

Re:And people ask me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350155)

Seriously, you have no fucking clue how great you have it.

Interesting. It seems to me you have no idea just how fucked you are. Travel to any other part of the so-called "free world" and you'll quickly notice the many, outrageous, ways in which the US has become unfree.

Re:And people ask me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350399)

You should answer with 'because I'm an ignorant idiot who has no idea what its like to live in an actual dictatorship'.

Seriously, you have no fucking clue how great you have it.

What a douche you are. What's the difference between what he said and living in almost any other nation on the planet (except maybe North Korea)? Let's say Cuba, the boogeymen of America. You can't be raging against the commies or trying to brew discontent, but on the other hand you get free healthcare and generally will not starve because "of the economy".

Other than that, life is the same. Well, you are less likely to end up in jail in Cuba than "land of the free".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Re:And people ask me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350247)

What, does everybody need to be able to build a nuclear weapon in their back yard to be considered "free"?

Civil society has always been a balance between individual and broader societal rights of others. Always. Whether stated in laws or implicit in the ways that people interact. On the scale of things, most western democracies are pretty free compared to historical norms. That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, and that's why vigilance is integral to a functioning democracy if the balance tips too much one way or the other. That's also why we tolerate severe curbs on our democratic freedom in the form of constitutional laws that protect minorities despite the wishes of the majority. Those laws may impose on the majority, but they protect the freedoms of the few. Some imposition on your personal freedom is inevitable in a *fair* society, not merely a free one. That's why you don't have the "freedom" to blast your stereo into your neighbor's yards at 3am. Even though it curbs your freedom when the police show up to tell you to shut it down, people accept that freedom has limits when it imposes on others unfairly. We negotiate endlessly about what is "fair", but that's why it's always a work in progress.

In any case, there's little reason to start griping about needing to obtain more weapons to protect yourself from the impositions of government. Change the laws. Change the representatives. Change the government. If others won't do it, then campaign yourself. That's what democracy is for. Don't give up on it by spending all your time complaining. Do something.

Swartz fought the law and the law won (0)

jsepeta (412566) | about 5 months ago | (#47349885)

It's not really a noble act to steal digital documents. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Sorry about the suicide but that's just how things turn out sometimes, dawin-wise.

I Don't Get It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47349995)

Have we come to this point as a culture? Is this what my parents' felt when they disapproved of all my choices?

Aaron Swartz was a CRIMINAL and a COWARD. He committed crimes, got caught committing crimes, and decided that killing himself was better than facing the consequences of his actions. And now he's lauded as a hero and a victim. Have we lost so much accountability in our society? Fuck Aaron Swartz, and fuck everything about the cult of personality that has sprung up around this would-have-been felon.

Another example is the hero worship of Ryan Bruan. If you're not familiar with it, Bruan was caught doping, got suspended for last year, and is now lauded as a hero. How about that? How great is it that if you're a cheater, get caught, never apologize, and can play sportball good, it's okay!

He was threatened with six months in low-security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47350169)

From wiki and various other places ...

"On September 12, 2012, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment adding nine more felony counts, which increased Swartz's maximum criminal exposure to 50 years of imprisonment and $1 million in fines.[12][84][85] During plea negotiations with Swartz's attorneys, the prosecutors offered to recommend a sentence of six months in a low-security prison, if Swartz would plead guilty to 13 federal crimes. Swartz and his lead attorney rejected that deal, opting instead for a trial in which prosecutors would have been forced to justify their pursuit of Swartz"

Now I have to wonder if the people who should be blamed for the suicide is his so-called supporters.
Six months in Club Fed is not a hardship and his attorneys would know that even if Aaron did not. I prefer not to be in jail, and I have been in jail (county jail) it sucks, but it's not as bad as TV prison.
They wanted to have a show trial using the unstable Aaron, and a show is what they got.

Swartz timeline (2)

sparkydevil (261897) | about 5 months ago | (#47350431)

I made this news timeline [newslines.org] of Swartz a while back. If you see anything missing drop me a note.

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