Rep Darrell Issa Looking into Possibly Overzealous Aaron Swartz Prosecution
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Anybody who follows tech news will undoubtedly have heard about Aaron Swartz. The co-founder of Reddit (among other things), writer, activist, archivist, and all around beacon of hope for humanity took his own life last week after being targeted by federal prosecutors for copying articles from the JSTOR (Journal Storage) database, a digital library containing digitized versions of academic journals. Now Representative Darrell Issa from California is investigating whether or not the prosecutors who went after Swartz were being more aggressive than was necessary.
Swartz’s death has caused a bigger discussion of how the US government deals with hackers and many believe that Swartz was being made an example of. Issa’s investigation is the first clue we’ve gotten that the government is listening. If he does find reason to believe that the prosecutors behind the case were being overzealous, that could lead to a deeper, more formal investigation.
MIT is launching an investigation into their own involvement in the matter and Representative Zoe Lofgren of California has proposed amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to prevent “outlandishly severe penalties” for minor offenses.
via The Verge