September 14, 2012

Aaron Swartz "JSTOR" case indictment revised/expanded

[A little original, if boring, reporting below]

I'm continuing to follow the Aaron Swartz case, which is grinding away (disclosure: I know him socially, and have admired his work). The latest development, which seems to have not been reported anywhere but here (scoop! :-) breaking story! :-)), is that the prosecution has issued a "Superseding Indictment". That is, the charges against Swartz have been revised and expanded from the original form.

And as I've said before - they don't like him. They really don't like him. Previously the indictment had alleged four "counts" of different legal violations each, making four felonies in total. There are now 13 felony counts in the new indictment, derived from claims of multiple instances of breaking those four laws. In specific:

Wire Fraud - 2 counts
Computer Fraud - 5 counts
Unlawfully Obtaining Information from a Protected Computer - 5 counts
Recklessly Damaging a Protected Computer - 1 count

It's beyond my pay grade to figure out how many years in prison that all could be, when taking into account the complexities of sentencing law. Let's leave it at a large scary number. Enough to ruin someone's life.

A note regarding coverage - I'm surprised there isn't more close commentary about this case now. There's something of a paradox for Z-list bloggers, as to the extent that the dominant blogs on the top of the "power-law" curve cover it, there's not much more to say. While down at the bottom under the massive Long Tail, the potential risks are much higher than likely rewards. I'm not sure it's a good idea for me personally to be blogging about it extensively. It's a huge amount of effort to do any sort of journalistic legal analysis, and the social gains are basically all for ranting (whatever side one is on, popularity comes from telling people what they want to hear). "Citizen journalism", bah-humbug!

UPDATE: For fairness - Aaron Swartz Legal Defense Fund

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in legal | on September 14, 2012 06:28 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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