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Parihaka
18 Jan 13,, 18:43
In 1970, a 14-year-old boy dialed into a nationwide computer network, uploaded a virus he had written and caused the entire network to crash.

That boy was Bill Gates. Five years later, he founded Microsoft.

A few years later, two young men went around college dorms in California selling boxes of wires that let students bypass telephone-company restrictions and make long-distance calls for free.

Those young men were Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and a later venture they started, Apple, is now the most valuable company in the world.

In 2010, another young man, who had already founded a multimillion-dollar company, broke into a utility closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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He hooked up a laptop to the campus network and downloaded 4 million academic journal articles, most of them in the public domain, from a paid archive to which he had a subscription.

He was arrested, indicted twice on multiple counts of fraud and, at a trial that was to have begun in April, could have faced 50 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

His name was Aaron Swartz, and last week he took his own life.

More computers, more prosecutions
The difference between the fates of Gates, Jobs and Wozniak on the one hand, and of Swartz on the other, originates with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The CFAA is a 1986 law, section 1030 of the federal criminal code, which makes any unauthorized access into a protected network or computer a federal crime and permits harsh penalties for those convicted.

But 1986 was a long time ago. Today, any Web server can be defined as a protected computer, and almost anything can be defined as unauthorized access.

Use your roommate's Netflix account to watch movies on your iPad? You're violating the CFAA.

Trim the URLs of articles on the New York Times website so you can read them for free? You're breaking federal law.

Check your Facebook page at work, even if your employer forbids it? Better call your lawyer.

If that sounds ridiculous, here's a fact: Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer, a well-known "gray hat" hacker, was convicted in November of fraud and conspiracy for harvesting data from a publicly accessible server. He's facing up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing next month.

There weren't any passwords protecting the data Auernheimer and his friend, who later testified against him, downloaded. All they did was change numbers in URLs and press "return." But according to the CFAA, they were breaking the law

"The punishments for these crimes are hugely disproportionate to the offenses listed," said Adam Goldstein, an attorney advocate at the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va. "We wrote these laws based on the 1980s view of the worst-case scenario of hacking in a networked world."

To Robert Graham, chief executive officer of Errata Security in Atlanta, the CFAA is "hopelessly out of date, and can be used to prosecute anybody for almost anything."

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"The issue is 'authorization,'" Graham said. "Back in 1986, everyone had to be explicitly authorized to use a computer with an assigned username and password.

"But today, with the Web, we access computers with reckless abandon without knowing whether we are authorized or not," he added. "When you click on a URL, you are technically in violation of the law as it was designed."

Swartz was facing more prison time than he would have if he'd committed a serious physical crime, such as assault, burglary, grand theft larceny or involuntary manslaughter.

"Why the penalties are stiffer for e-crime does not make sense," said Chester Wisniewski, an American who works as a senior security analyst in the Vancouver, British Columbia, office of the British security firm Sophos. "These penalties are more in line with murder than theft."

"There is a serious problem in federal criminal law where the use of a computer ratchets up a criminal sentence dramatically out of proportion from the harm caused," said Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.

"We wrote laws designed to punish the worst monsters of William Gibson's nightmares," Goldstein said. "We're wielding them against people who download journal articles and steal naked pictures from Scarlett Johansson."

How computer hacking laws make you a criminal - Technology on NBCNews.com (http://m.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/how-computer-hacking-laws-make-you-criminal-1B8022563)

USSWisconsin
18 Jan 13,, 19:01
a sick and saddening story - journal articles:confu: - and mr virus is a billionaire - funding other virus writers (giving multimillion dollar "research" contracts to several notorious virus writers) while squashing Linux with cash to certified MS engineers (a 500$ credit for agreeing to not install or support Linux)...

Is there a crueler way to kill someone than to drive them to kill themself?:confused:

It reminds of a satirical Family Guy episode - BG is flying along with his cronies (they can fly w/o mechanicial assistance in the spoof) and they look down at the people "they look like ants" says Ted Turner - "They are ants" says BG...

I don't think it was really that stretched from what these people actually believe about "commoners"... Our laws and justice system seem to support their elitism.

Wooglin
27 Mar 13,, 15:22
This article, like many others, makes it sound as if he was facing a 50 year sentence and $1 million in fines. He wasn't. The truth is he was offered a plea bargain of 6 months in a minimum security facility before he killed himself.

Since I'm not planning on breaking and entering anyone's property and hacking their system to steal data, or have heard any incidents of people being charged for checking facebook from work, I'm not too worried about being convicted under the CFAA.

Parihaka
27 Mar 13,, 16:23
JSTOR is a digital repository that archives content from journal articles, manuscripts, GIS systems, and scanned plant specimens and disseminates it online.[60] Swartz was a research fellow at Harvard University, which provided him with a JSTOR account. Additionally, visitors to MIT’s “open campus” were authorized to access JSTOR through its network.
According to state and federal authorities, over the course of a few weeks in late 2010 and early 2011 Swartz downloaded a large number of academic journal articles from JSTOR through MIT’s computer network. The authorities say Swartz downloaded the documents through a laptop connected to a networking switch in a controlled-access wiring closet.
According to press reports, the door to the closet was kept unlocked.

Aaron Swartz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz)

He didn't break in anywhere.

dave lukins
27 Mar 13,, 16:33
This article, like many others, makes it sound as if he was facing a 50 year sentence and $1 million in fines. He wasn't. The truth is he was offered a plea bargain of 6 months in a minimum security facility before he killed himself.

Since I'm not planning on breaking and entering anyone's property and hacking their system to steal data, or have heard any incidents of people being charged for checking facebook from work, I'm not too worried about being convicted under the CFAA.

And if he didn't except that plea bargain was he facing 50yrs and $1million fine?

Wooglin
27 Mar 13,, 17:56
And if he didn't except that plea bargain was he facing 50yrs and $1million fine?

Nope

Wooglin
27 Mar 13,, 18:38
JSTOR is a digital repository that archives content from journal articles, manuscripts, GIS systems, and scanned plant specimens and disseminates it online.[60] Swartz was a research fellow at Harvard University, which provided him with a JSTOR account. Additionally, visitors to MIT’s “open campus” were authorized to access JSTOR through its network.
According to state and federal authorities, over the course of a few weeks in late 2010 and early 2011 Swartz downloaded a large number of academic journal articles from JSTOR through MIT’s computer network. The authorities say Swartz downloaded the documents through a laptop connected to a networking switch in a controlled-access wiring closet.
According to press reports, the door to the closet was kept unlocked.

Aaron Swartz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz)

He didn't break in anywhere.

Oh please. The closet was there for visitors to connect to the network from a spoofed address? Were they all required to hide their faces when entering, or was that just him? :rolleyes:

Parihaka
27 Mar 13,, 19:37
Oh please. The closet was there for visitors to connect to the network from a spoofed address? Were they all required to hide their faces when entering, or was that just him? :rolleyes:

So why wasn't he charged for breaking and entering by the local police? Why instead was he charged with multiple federal crimes? I really don't see where your going with this.

Wooglin
27 Mar 13,, 19:53
So why wasn't he charged for breaking and entering by the local police? Why instead was he charged with multiple federal crimes? I really don't see where your going with this.



breaking and entering

n. 1) the criminal act of entering a residence or other enclosed property through the slightest amount of force (even pushing open a door), without authorization. If there is intent to commit a crime, this is burglary. If there is no such intent, the breaking and entering alone is probably at least illegal trespass, which is a misdemeanor crime. 2) the criminal charge for the above.
See also: burglary trespass

He WAS arrested on state breaking and entering charges. The charges were dismissed after the Feds indicted him and worked up their own case. It's in your own link.

I just find the article misleading and overly dramatic. I'm not worried about potential CFAA charges for the reasons I stated above. I just don't see breaking and entering and hiding a laptop with a spoofed address to steal data the same as logging into facebook from work, as the article is trying to suggest. It's a stupid argument.

USSWisconsin
27 Mar 13,, 20:08
IMO, any prison time for what he did, as a first offence, was unwarrented. Perhaps probabtion, loss of access, a fine, or community service. Who was harmed? What damage was done? What would this have cost them if they hadn't found out about it?

On the other hand, someone nearly kills dozens of people and destroys a billion dollar SSN and they get 17 years. This guy was facing 50 years a million dollar fine and had to accept 6 months in federal prison in a "plea bargin"? For downloading journals? The closet wasn't locked - so he was granted access. Perhaps he should have been expelled or suspended from using these facilities - but federal prison for 6 months?

Perhaps the starting sentance should have been a year in prison and should have been reduced to a year of probation and community service, with his access priveleges revoked for a longer period.

Wooglin
27 Mar 13,, 20:32
IMO, any prison time for what he did, as a first offence, was unwarrented. Perhaps probabtion, loss of access, a fine, or community service. Who was harmed? What damage was done? What would this have cost them if they hadn't found out about it?

On the other hand, someone nearly kills dozens of people and destroys a billion dollar SSN and they get 17 years. This guy was facing 50 years a million dollar fine and had to accept 6 months in federal prison in a "plea bargin"? For downloading journals? The closet wasn't locked - so he was granted access. Perhaps he should have been expelled or suspended from using these facilities - but federal prison for 6 months?

Perhaps the starting sentance should have been a year in prison and should have been reduced to a year of probation and community service, with his access priveleges revoked for a longer period.

I'm really a bit surprised this keeps coming up... why do you people think you're entitled to enter and do anything you want if a door isn't locked? If he was entering someone's unlocked dorm room on this same "open campus" and stealing their stuff it would be ok because the door wasn't locked? WTF?

No, he wasn't granted access. He snuck into a network room in the basement, connected his laptop to a network switch and then hid the laptop, and snuck in again later to retrieve it. This room is not a public network access point, and he knew that.

Doktor
27 Mar 13,, 21:51
I'm really a bit surprised this keeps coming up... why do you people think you're entitled to enter and do anything you want if a door isn't locked? If he was entering someone's unlocked dorm room on this same "open campus" and stealing their stuff it would be ok because the door wasn't locked? WTF?
Because 50 years is way too much for entering unlocked room compared to some other sentences.


No, he wasn't granted access. He snuck into a network room in the basement, connected his laptop to a network switch and then hid the laptop, and snuck in again later to retrieve it. This room is not a public network access point, and he knew that.
Even if so, the penalty he alegedly faced is way too high. Why you can't understand this point?

USSWisconsin
27 Mar 13,, 22:00
Wooglin, Doktor answered for me, so I won't repeat those points, I suggested a punishment that fits the crime. Of course it was wrong, but not as wrong as the penalty applied.



Perhaps he should have been expelled or suspended from using these facilities - but federal prison for 6 months?

Perhaps the starting sentance should have been a year in prison and should have been reduced to a year of probation and community service, with his access priveleges revoked for a longer period.
If we really appiled this level of inforcement to everyone, we would go broke paying for prisons in a year or two.

Wooglin
27 Mar 13,, 22:08
Because 50 years is way too much for entering unlocked room compared to some other sentences.

Who was giving him 50 years for entering an unlocked room? He was charged with 13 counts that didn't even include the illegal entry afaik, so I'm not sure what you're even talking about. Regardless, the sentence wasn't what I was discussing. It was the suggestions that he did nothing wrong because a door was unlocked. It's totally absurd.


Even if so, the penalty he alegedly faced is way too high. Why you can't understand this point?

I understand that point. However, that wasn't the point I was arguing.

USSWisconsin
27 Mar 13,, 22:32
JSTOR is a digital repository that archives content from journal articles, manuscripts, GIS systems, and scanned plant specimens and disseminates it online.[60] Swartz was a research fellow at Harvard University, which provided him with a JSTOR account. Additionally, visitors to MIT’s “open campus” were authorized to access JSTOR through its network.[61]
Wikipedia

If he had access to this data, how was it stealing? It was misuse of his access, and most likely was a violation of the terms and conditions.



It was the suggestions that he did nothing wrong because a door was unlocked. It's totally absurd.

Where did someone say he did nothing wrong?

dave lukins
27 Mar 13,, 22:33
I'm really a bit surprised this keeps coming up... why do you people think you're entitled to enter and do anything you want if a door isn't locked? If he was entering someone's unlocked dorm room on this same "open campus" and stealing their stuff it would be ok because the door wasn't locked? WTF?

No, he wasn't granted access. He snuck into a network room in the basement, connected his laptop to a network switch and then hid the laptop, and snuck in again later to retrieve it. This room is not a public network access point, and he knew that.

There is no need to use the term 'you people' when discussing this with WAB members. I for one find it patronizing.

bigross86
27 Mar 13,, 23:47
Oh, please. Tell me, what do you think of the following hypothetical situation?:

I) Anybody here name whatever article in whatever scholarly journal you can find in JSTOR, Google Scholar or whatever other database you can think of. I've got access to plenty databases using my Uni account, and I can use the remote access proxy to get the articles from anywhere in the world using one of my laptops, so there's a decent chance I can find the full text somewhere.
II) I'll read a part of the article, journal, whatever in order to enlighten and educate myself, further broadening my horizons.
III) I will then transfer it to whoever asks, with the email subject saying: "Hey, look at how cool this is, I think it will interest you!"

Have I broken any laws, really?

Any requests?

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 01:20
Wikipedia

If he had access to this data, how was it stealing? It was misuse of his access, and most likely was a violation of the terms and conditions.




Where did someone say he did nothing wrong?

He wasn't using his account. He was using a hidden laptop with a spoofed address connected to a basement network switch to grab millions of documents that are provided by JSTOR as a paid service, allegedly for the purpose of putting them on a file share. I'm not sure what else to call that.

If Granny makes a living by selling cookie recipes over the internet, and one of her customers walks through her unlocked front door and hacks her router to intercept all her data to get the recipes and post them for free, is that ok?

What's the difference here?

As for doing nothing wrong, I'm not sure how arguments about an unlocked door are otherwise meaningful, or what the relevance would be.

USSWisconsin
28 Mar 13,, 01:32
He wasn't using his account. He was using a hidden laptop with a spoofed address connected to a basement network switch to grab millions of documents that are provided by JSTOR as a paid service, allegedly for the purpose of putting them on a file share. I'm not sure what else to call that.

If Granny makes a living by selling cookie recipes over the internet, and one of her customers walks through her unlocked front door and hacks her router to intercept all her data to get the recipes and post them for free, is that ok?

What's the difference here?

As for doing nothing wrong, I'm not sure how arguments about an unlocked door are otherwise meaningful, or what the relevance would be.

Well, these are published articles, not granny's secet recipe and it wasn't a private home, it was a public building and the room was unlocked. I don't see the point of your arguments. Most of the posts are about the unnecessary severity of the punishment. You seem to be focused on whether what he did was wrong, when every response agree's it was wrong to do what he did.

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 01:36
Oh, please. Tell me, what do you think of the following hypothetical situation?:

I) Anybody here name whatever article in whatever scholarly journal you can find in JSTOR, Google Scholar or whatever other database you can think of. I've got access to plenty databases using my Uni account, and I can use the remote access proxy to get the articles from anywhere in the world using one of my laptops, so there's a decent chance I can find the full text somewhere.
II) I'll read a part of the article, journal, whatever in order to enlighten and educate myself, further broadening my horizons.
III) I will then transfer it to whoever asks, with the email subject saying: "Hey, look at how cool this is, I think it will interest you!"

Have I broken any laws, really?

Any requests?

But that's not what he did, is it? See above.

JSTOR may be free to use for you if you have an account given to you by an institution, but it's not a free service. The institutions pay for that service. He wasn't just taking documents otherwise free to anyone anyway.

Aaron Swartz: MIT surveillance shot that ruined tragic Reddit co-founder's life | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261840/Aaron-Swartz-MIT-surveillance-shot-ruined-tragic-Reddit-founders-life.html)

bigross86
28 Mar 13,, 01:49
I'm making the argument (maybe not too successfully) that we need to change the way we look at the internet.

If like you said, it was an unlocked room in a public building and the man had access to the database, why is what he did any different than what I did, especially when you consider than anyone with access to ANY university library around the world could also get access to JSTOR using uni computers for little to no charge at all? You can walk into one of half a dozen libraries at Tel Aviv University, paying an admittance fee (if you're not a student and if someone bothers to check), and have the same JSTOR access all students have. Once again, following the same hypothetical as before, you could download and share any single journal or article out there, especially since they're already in the public sphere.

It's like charging someone for lending him your Time or Newsweek magazine, and then getting pissed off when he copies an article and mails it to his friends. He was given permission to use the magazine, he returned the magazine to you in it's original shape and form with nothing missing, and it's nothing that his friends couldn't have gotten by walking down to the local library and reading there. Nothing was leaked or stolen, so what's the problem aside from some authors' work getting more publicity?

Here's another question: artists (and I'm talking about multi-millionaire, big-name artists) frequently upload their original material to YouTube and Vevo. YouTube allows you to create a playlist of whatever videos are on YouTube. Essentially, you can make a playlist that's available anywhere, from any computer, tablet, mobile device, etc.... and available to anyone to use and see, of your favorite music, all without breaking a single shred of copyright law.

Now, how come if I download the audio part (Hell, download the audio AND the video!) from that same YouTube video and save it on my computer (for personal use, without even sharing with my friends), I'm now a criminal? What was so different about the two scenarios? In both cases the artists put the music on YouTube/Vevo. In both cases I used the artists' own videos to create my playlist. In both cases the music is available with me wherever I go. In one case the music is available for others to hear without paying, in the other scenario I'm the only one that hears without paying. And yet, in one scenario I'm a regular internet user, in the other scenario, my desire to simplify things and make them more convenient for myself makes me a criminal.

And this is without even getting involved in file sharing, which studies have shown has actually increased artists' sales and income as well as creation of new artists.

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 01:59
Well, these are published articles, not granny's secet recipe and it wasn't a private home, it was a public building and the room was unlocked. I don't see the point of your arguments. Most of the posts are about the unnecessary severity of the punishment. You seem to be focused on whether what he did was wrong, when every response agree's it was wrong to do what he did.

So they were published articles... that means he wasn't stealing them? I don't see the point in this argument.

So the door was unlocked... that means he was authorized to be there and connect his laptop to a network switch to steal documents? I don't see the point in this argument either.

You seem to be suggesting that these points somehow makes what he did ok (otherwise why do they matter?), then acting surprised that I'm focused on it???? :confused:

bigross86
28 Mar 13,, 02:05
So they were published articles... that means he wasn't stealing them? I don't see the point in this argument.

So the door was unlocked... that means he was authorized to be there and connect his laptop to a network switch to steal documents? I don't see the point in this argument either.

You seem to be suggesting that these points somehow makes what he did ok (otherwise why do they matter?), then acting surprised that I'm focused on it???? :confused:

It's like charging someone for lending him your Time or Newsweek magazine, and then getting pissed off when he copies an article and mails it to his friends. He was given permission to use the magazine, he returned the magazine to you in it's original shape and form with nothing missing, and it's nothing that his friends couldn't have gotten by walking down to the local library and reading there. Nothing was leaked or stolen, so what's the problem aside from some authors' work getting more publicity?

Once again, what's the difference?

USSWisconsin
28 Mar 13,, 02:06
So they were published articles... that means he wasn't stealing them? I don't see the point in this argument.

So the door was unlocked... that means he was authorized to be there and connect his laptop to a network switch to steal documents? I don't see the point in this argument either.

You seem to be suggesting that these points somehow makes what he did ok (otherwise why do they matter?), then acting surprised that I'm focused on it???? :confused:

I've repeatedly stated that it WAS wrong - you repeatedly ignore what I say, even when half my post is saying it, and then mis-state what I've said. This isn't a discussion, you are ignoring what I said and having a strawman argument with a statement you claim I've made.


Well, these are published articles, not granny's secet recipe and it wasn't a private home, it was a public building and the room was unlocked. I don't see the point of your arguments. Most of the posts are about the unnecessary severity of the punishment. You seem to be focused on whether what he did was wrong, when every response agree's it was wrong to do what he did.

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 03:00
It's like charging someone for lending him your Time or Newsweek magazine, and then getting pissed off when he copies an article and mails it to his friends. He was given permission to use the magazine, he returned the magazine to you in it's original shape and form with nothing missing, and it's nothing that his friends couldn't have gotten by walking down to the local library and reading there. Nothing was leaked or stolen, so what's the problem aside from some authors' work getting more publicity?

Once again, what's the difference?

Technically, he wasn't given permission to use it. Only Time or Newsweek could give them permission, which they're usually happy to do as long as proper credit is given. Now, how about if you take all the contents of that same Time magazine that you borrowed and make 5 million copies to give to people for free? Legal? Should it be legal? You think Time might have a legal claim to make there? No difference?

That's was he was doing. He was taking JSTOR's pay to access collection (directly and covertly), to create his own JSTOR. You don't think there's a difference?

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 03:34
I've repeatedly stated that it WAS wrong - you repeatedly ignore what I say, even when half my post is saying it, and then mis-state what I've said. This isn't a discussion, you are ignoring what I said and having a strawman argument with a statement you claim I've made.

What a bizarre exchange

I haven't mistated or ignored anything, so take a breath and calm down. I said "you seem to be suggesting" because you keep bringing these details up about an unlocked door and published articles but won't address why they matter or what point you're trying to make. Instead of an answer as to why they matter I get lambasted about him being wrong again.
Whatever.

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 03:46
And for what it's worth, I think almost all of these publications should be free to access by anyone since almost all of them, directly or indirectly, are publicly funded.

USSWisconsin
28 Mar 13,, 03:56
Here is Aaron Sartz blog, interesting. The more I read about him, the more interesting the case seems to get.
Raw Thought: Aaron Swartz's Weblog (http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/)

Aaron Swartz is gone, but his story refuses to fade away. Why? - latimes.com (http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-aaron-swartz-suicide-20130305,0,6187992.story)

USSWisconsin
28 Mar 13,, 04:03
What a bizarre exchange

I haven't mistated or ignored anything, so take a breath and calm down. I said "you seem to be suggesting" because you keep bringing these details up about an unlocked door and published articles but won't address why they matter or what point you're trying to make. Instead of an answer as to why they matter I get lambasted about him being wrong again.
Whatever.

My point is the penalty that he faced was out of proportion to the crime he committed. That serving six months in prison for copying a database of journal articles that can be veiwed in a library at any time is a lessor crime. What he might have done with the data is irrelevant, all he did do was copy it. I have previously mentioned my opinion on the appropriate punishments.

Wooglin
28 Mar 13,, 05:00
My point is the penalty that he faced was out of proportion to the crime he committed. That serving six months in prison for copying a database of journal articles that can be veiwed in a library at any time is a lessor crime. What he might have done with the data is irrelevant, all he did do was copy it. I have previously mentioned my opinion on the appropriate punishments.

The legal system disagrees with you. What your intent is matters very much, whether you were successful or not. It's very relevant.

Anyway, I found a really good write up of the whole affair by a law professor who specializes in computer crime law, and it also debates the appropriate penalty

The Volokh Conspiracy » The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz (Part 1: The Law) (http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/14/aaron-swartz-charges/)

The Volokh Conspiracy » The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz (Part 2: Prosecutorial Discretion) (http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/16/the-criminal-charges-against-aaron-swartz-part-2-prosecutorial-discretion/)

USSWisconsin
28 Mar 13,, 05:40
The legal system disagrees with you. What your intent is matters very much, whether you were successful or not. It's very relevant.

Anyway, I found a really good write up of the whole affair by a law professor who specializes in computer crime law, and it also debates the appropriate penalty

The Volokh Conspiracy » The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz (Part 1: The Law) (http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/14/aaron-swartz-charges/)

The Volokh Conspiracy » The Criminal Charges Against Aaron Swartz (Part 2: Prosecutorial Discretion) (http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/16/the-criminal-charges-against-aaron-swartz-part-2-prosecutorial-discretion/)

Good links, thank you, the professor approves of the penalty, I personally disagree with it, I understand that the law currently permits this. They allowed Swartz to keep trying to download the data for quite some time, building up the charges. Why didn't they arrest him as soon as they had identified him as the hacker?



My conclusion, at least based on what we know so far, is that the legal charges against Swartz were pretty much legit. Three of them are pretty strong; one is plausible but we would need to know more facts to be sure. Of course, there may have been reasons not to charge Swartz even though he had violated these statutes or to offer him a lenient plea. I’ll take on those questions in my next post. But to the extent we’re focused on just what the law is, I think that what Swartz was alleged to have done fits pretty well with the charges that were brought.

chanjyj
28 Mar 13,, 09:02
I personally find the American legal system flawed to the core - and some sentences seemed based on judge's mood.

I've been recently watching the documentary "Lockup" and people are facing ridiculous amount of jail time that is disproportionate to their sentence. Granted I don't know exactly what they did, but it still seems ridiculous. There are other things, but I'd end up writing an academic essay if I go into detail.

jeahnnunez
31 May 13,, 05:47
I would admit that there are times that I like to do computer hacking, I want to access certain information though I cannot do it, not that I am afraid but I still lack of knowledge, though I still give importance of privacy.

bonehead
02 Jun 13,, 23:10
You have no idea what kind of a Pandora's box you are opening. The damage a hacker can do, even without malignant intent, is immeasurable.

JohnPimpo
21 Oct 13,, 12:59
I am a spamming idiot. Please pay no attention to me, thanks ;)

Oracle
21 Oct 13,, 14:07
For heaven’s sake, those were just digital copies of online journals. And it simply isn’t reason enough to harshly pursue someone, who goes into a depression and then hangs himself. It's a shame that a prodigy who developed the RSS standard had to end life this way. US lost one of the many brilliant guys it needs.

Some of his memorable quotes:

It’s always easy to make yourself look good by finding people even worse than you. Yes, we agree, you’re not the worst person in the world. That’s not the question. The question is whether you can get better — and to do that you need to look at the people who are even better than you.

It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative.

Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.

All quotes @ Aaron Swartz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz)


R.I.P. I hope heaven is tax-free, wi-fi enabled and torrent friendly!


I would admit that there are times that I like to do computer hacking, I want to access certain information though I cannot do it, not that I am afraid but I still lack of knowledge, though I still give importance of privacy.

So there are times when you want to access certain information through hack, however you lack the knowledge to do so, and then also feel guilty of intruding.

Just ask her out. :biggrin:

bigross86
22 Oct 13,, 03:15
Dude, it's an advert post.....

Oracle
22 Oct 13,, 03:20
My response was to a spammer? :bang:

TopHatter
22 Oct 13,, 03:36
My response was to a spammer? :bang:

It happens :redface:

Tamara
30 Oct 13,, 09:31
For heaven’s sake, those were just digital copies of online journals. And it simply isn’t reason enough to harshly pursue someone, who goes into a depression and then hangs himself. It's a shame that a prodigy who developed the RSS standard had to end life this way. US lost one of the many brilliant guys it needs.

Some of his memorable quotes:

It’s always easy to make yourself look good by finding people even worse than you. Yes, we agree, you’re not the worst person in the world. That’s not the question. The question is whether you can get better — and to do that you need to look at the people who are even better than you.

It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative.

Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.

All quotes @ Aaron Swartz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz)
........

Let's ask the question from another angle: how much, how far does one expect someone to work for free?

Let's look at that realistically and ethically.

Realistically, what is my motivation for doing any kind of research? In my particular case, because I am curious, because I like supplying answers to other people, and, perhaps, because it gives me a "feel good" feeling on a job for which I am paid for other duties.

But what if I was paid as a researcher directly, say more or less independently, and not for a think tank? Do I want to give it away free because knowledge should be free? Do I not want to be paid for my efforts?

Even if we say, "Well, you got paid when you sold your report to the Journal of Compression Lift Studies, so you ought to be satisfied with that!", what does it mean to me in the future if my Journal goes out of business because people don't pay them for the articles they publish?

Okay, ethically. Let's say Dr. Zin does research, publishes a paper on an alloy that reduces the size of ELF antennas by a factor of 50. The alloy itself is not economically feasible but then let's say graduate student Kanaga uses that paper as the basis of his research (an alternate proposal in the discussion), produces an economical alloy, gets his degree, is picked up by industry.

If knowledge is to be free, does Kanaga go off and donate his salary to charity? Is it right that Dr. Zin gets nothing other than acknowledgement for his work while Kanaga has the patent even though it was Zin's preliminary work that pointed the way?

Now, I am not saying that Dr. Zin should get something more other than what he already received for publishing his research. What I am saying is that under this concept of knowledge should be free, NO ONE SHOULD MAKE ANY MONEY OFF OF ANYONE'S WORK.....and if they do, then they are ethically, for this approach, in violation.

Reminds me of the vendor video:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY

bigross86
30 Oct 13,, 11:53
You seem to confusing two separate fields. The first field is that of theoretical studies, and the other is of applied studies.

In a nutshell: I can do any research I want, based on whatever other research I can get my hands on, through whatever means.

As a student, I have access to JSTOR, ProQuest, LexisNexis and more. The goal of granting me access to those databases is so that I can base my research on previously done research, and this in order to enhance and expand humanity's general knowledge base. Sure, the chance that anyone will ever read any paper I ever wrote is slim to none, especially since I haven't published anything, but one of my lecturers can read one of the papers I wrote, and write a paper based on an idea I had in my paper, which will eventually be published.

In a field such as mine, Communications and American Studies, most, if not all of the research done is theoretical research, with little to no applications in the physical world. I mean, sure, I wrote a paper comparing the Governess in Turn of the Screw to Cold War leaders and to baseball players, and someone could then use that to better understand Mutually Assured Destruction and how Cold War leaders behaved, which in turn will lead to a greater study on political leaders, which will eventually be read by some kid and that will inspire him to run for the presidency, but it's a stretch.

Now let's look at the other field, applied studies. These are the folks that put in man hours and lab hours, based on theoretical research done by others, but in order to work towards a physical manifestation of said research, which will eventually have a physical application in the real world.

To use your example: Dr. Zin wrote the original paper and did the original research. Dr. Zin then had two options: He could have kept it to himself, worked on it and come up with a physical application, or sell it for whatever amount of money and add it to the general database of human knowledge. For whatever reason, either ideological (research for research's sake) or mental (not smart enough to come up with an economic alloy), he decides to publish his research.

Along comes Kanaga. He reads the research Zin published, and either because his motivation is different (financial as opposed to ideological) or he's just smarter than Zin, succeeding in coming up with an alloy where Zin can't, Kanaga is able to reap the benefits of the research.

In the end, there is no real way to charge money for knowledge, or else we'd still need to be paying someone for proving that 1+1=2, and I'd like to fine whatever sadistic bastard put letters into algebra instead of just numbers, but we can't really, can we? In the end, if Zin hadn't made his discoveries, someone else would have, eventually. After all, Zin had to have based his research on research made before, no? There's no reason someone else couldn't have done the same research and reached the same conclusions Zin did.

Zin was given the choice, as the person that did the research: Hold on to it now, and hope to make money off of it in the future, or sell it to a journal, and make money now. Zin chose to make money now, and has relinquished his claim on any monetary benefits that might result from his research.

Put it differently: Would you expect Pfizer, Merck, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble or Teva or any of the other dozens of pharmaceutical companies in the US to immediately donate their research to the public? Pharmaceuticals are given a patent for however many years, giving the ones who did the research the sole right to choose what to do with that research. Than can follow Dr. Jonas Salk's path, and give it away to help eradicate the world of polio, or they can choose to market it and sell it on their own. Like Dr. Zin, the choice is theirs. When the patent expires, the knowledge is then shared with the rest of the world, and others can take advantage of that knowledge.

Tamara
30 Oct 13,, 12:35
My research has been, I think, all practical. The kind of thing where you have to you have to get permits that says you won't do anti Nuremberg type things. See how we might do things better, see how we might better understand our testing, our experimenting. See how we might investigate better.

But whether applied or theoretical, there's the basic point about publishing one's research in that where one publishes it, those people expect to make some kind of money. If someone says, "No, I don't have to pay because knowledge should be free!" and those publishers go out of business because people are not paying for their efforts to spread the knowledge, where does that leave the researchers who did the study, the future researcher, the world on a whole?

Realistically or ethically, the world that expects everything to be free is probably going to crash...........................................

...........................just look at what ACA is expected to do to medical research.

bigross86
30 Oct 13,, 14:08
What you are forgetting is that at some point down the line, everyone gets paid. The researcher is paid by the university to do his research, and by the journal which buys his paper. The journal is paid by subscribers and by databases who want to read the paper. Databases are paid by the universities who want their students to have access to the database and by individual researchers. The universities are paid by the students who as part of their tuition are granted access to the databases.

In the end, the only people not getting paid are the students, who must pay to use the databases and to be given access to the databases and the knowledge contained therein.

I don't see how you can claim either that no one should make any money off of anyone else's work, or that knowledge is somehow free. At every single point down the line, someone is paying someone else in order to use previous research.

Tamara
30 Oct 13,, 14:22
What you are forgetting is that at some point down the line, everyone gets paid. The researcher is paid by the university to do his research, and by the journal which buys his paper. The journal is paid by subscribers and by databases who want to read the paper. Databases are paid by the universities who want their students to have access to the database and by individual researchers. The universities are paid by the students who as part of their tuition are granted access to the databases.

In the end, the only people not getting paid are the students, who must pay to use the databases and to be given access to the databases and the knowledge contained therein.

I don't see how you can claim either that no one should make any money off of anyone else's work, or that knowledge is somehow free. At every single point down the line, someone is paying someone else in order to use previous research.

I think you are misreading me.

I am not making that claim that knowledge should be free.

I am pointing out the folly in the quote that I referred to, I am saying that believing or saying that knowledge should be free is no justification to steal.

Got to run.

bigross86
30 Oct 13,, 14:42
I don't think knowledge should be free, but I also don't see much wrong with what he did. If you read earlier in the thread, there are many instances in real life that are equivalent to what he did, and which aren't punishable, especially to the degree that they wanted to punish him