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Monday, January 14, 2013

Anonymous Hacks MIT Website with an Aaron Swartz Tribute


Anonymous Hacks MIT Website with an Aaron Swartz TributeImage via MIT Tech Blog
Infamous hackers Anonymous hacked MIT.edu last night, calling for justice for the recently deceased programmer
Activist hackers Anonymous appear to have hacked the MIT website last night, leaving a message of memorium for programmer and co-founder of Reddit, Aaron Swartz. Aaron Swartz hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment on Friday night in the wake of a copyright infringement trial. He was charged in 2011 for stealing millions of academic journals from the MIT archive and had pleaded Not Guilty. His federal trial was to begin next month. It appears that the upcoming trial was too much for Swartz, who had a history of depression.

Anonymous' message on the MIT site was not just a memorial, though the hackers made a point to say that they do not blame MIT for what happened to Swartz. In fact, MIT declined to press charges against Swartz once they received their files back. The Anonymous message also calls for an investigation into the Swartz case, a reformation of copyright policy, and greater protections for a free and open internet. "Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for — freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it — enabling the collective betterment of the world through the facilitation of sharing — an ideal that we should all support," reads the message.
Aaron Swartz was not only an early builder of Reddit, but also helped code the RSS standard. He was also a strong advocate of open information, and worked with such causes as Creative Commons and OpenLibrary.org. He also co-founded Demand Progress, a grassroots organization that strongly opposed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
[Via Tech Crunch]
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