Sunday, January 13, 2013

On whose hands is Aaron Swartz' blood?

Lawrence Lessig comments on his friend's suicide. Lessig admits that what Swartz did was wrong, both his alleged behavior* and his suicide. But the prosecution he was facing was cruel and unusual, and a huge impetus for this desperate young man. JSTOR refused to press charges and urged the government to back off. MIT did not so the prosecutor went full tilt, saying it was a crime of profit seeking. Lessig calls anyone who believes that crap "either an idiot or a liar."



Swartz' entire career was devoted to the public good, from building RSS standard to archtecting Creative Commons to building a free public library and much more. For his alleged crimes he was facing a million dollar trial and 50 years in jail.  Really? Especially in light of how many financial criminals with far, far worse crimes were let completely off the hook, most recently HSBC Bank, which admitted to laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels and actual terrorists. Really? One must wonder if these feds have any balls, for they only seem to go after the little guys and always let the big ones get way.

THAT is criminal, especially since they put this young man into such a position where he felt he had no way out. Shame on you. Not that you'll ever feel it but I thought I'd give it a try.

* See Lessig's original comments on the case here. More info on the story here.

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