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(Original story by Timothy Lee at Arstechnica.com...)

"Aaron Swartz, the 24-year-old wunderkind who co-authored the RSS specification at age 14 and sold his stake in Reddit to Condé Nast (which also owns Ars Technica) before his 20th birthday, was arrested Tuesday on charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, "unlawfully obtaining information from," and "recklessly damaging" a "protected computer." He is accused of downloading 4.8 million documents from the academic archive JSTOR, in violation of its terms of use, and of evading MIT's efforts to stop him from doing so.

Swartz is a founder of the advocacy organization Demand Progress. In a statement, Demand Progress executive director David Segal blasted the arrest. "It's like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library," he said. Demand Progress also quoted James Jacobs, the Government Documents Librarian at Stanford University, who said that the arrest "undermines academic inquiry and democratic principles..."

Only four-point-eight million documents? Clearly he was merely looking for a bit of light, Summer reading. For shame, fascist forces of JStor...


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 21st, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)
"four-point-eight million documents?"

That's what happens when you don't pick an obscure thesis topic.
Jul. 21st, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
I suppose that he could try to present the defense that his thesis was on the poor security (but excellent bandwidth!) of academic databases.

Or "culture". That seems sufficiently broad to mount a defense on.
Jul. 21st, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
Oh! I imagined he just kept following up on the bibliographies of each article until...
Jul. 21st, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
People read bibliographies? I thought that they were only in there at the insistence of the pulp & paper lobby.
Jul. 21st, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
"People read bibliographies?"

I'm getting a suspicion that you are somehow both in the academy and free from obsessive neurosis. Puzzling.
Jul. 21st, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
I'm getting a suspicion that you are somehow both in the academy and free from obsessive neurosis. Puzzling.

I got locked in after-hours. It was an honest mistake on the part of campus security.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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