Tag Archives | aaron swartz

Tomorrow’s Surveillance: Everyone, Everywhere, All The Time

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Will the recent revisiting acknowledgement of our dwindled privacy make encryption products more user friendly? Is the hacker witch-hunt a symptom of a powerful group hedging it’s bets? Tech Crunch breaks it down.

Everyone is worried about the wrong things. Since Edward Snowden exposed the incipient NSA panopticon, the civil libertarians are worried that their Internet conversations and phone metadata are being tracked; the national-security conservatives claim to be worried that terrorists will start hiding their tracks; but both sides should really be worried about different things entirely.

Online surveillance is the one kind that can actually be stopped. One interesting thing we learned from Snowden: “Encryption works.” Right now almost all Internet traffic is completely unencrypted, or badly encrypted, or only encrypted until it reaches the first set of servers, or your host encrypts all data with the same key. But these are all, in theory, solvable problems.

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U.S. Department Of Justice Acknowledges Aaron Swartz Was Prosecuted Over His Political Views

The decision to hound Swartz on flimsy charges with the possibility of decades in prison was in part because of an anti-copyright manifesto written by Swartz in 2008, reports the Huffington Post:

A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution.

The manifesto said sharing information was a “moral imperative” and advocated for “civil disobedience” against copyright laws pushed by corporations “blinded by greed” that led to the “privatization of knowledge.”

“We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world,” Swartz wrote in the manifesto.

Swartz was 26 when he killed himself in January. He had been indicted and faced a prison sentence for downloading millions of academic articles from the online database JSTOR, though he maintained he had permission to access them.

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Did The Government Target Aaron Swartz Over His Role In Defeating SOPA?

Did U.S. authorities hound Reddit co-founder and internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz to his death due to his role in the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act, and his possible connections to WikiLeaks? Russia Today writes:

Aaron Swartz became a political target, and that is what led to his tragic death, believes web tycoon Kim Dotcom, the founder of the now-defunct file-storage site Megaupload. “There is no reasonable cause behind going after a young genius like him in the fashion they did,” says Dotcom.

Swartz’s death in suicide on January 11 has resonated in the media across the world. It became known that in 2011, US federal prosecutors charged Swartz with a series of counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, crimes that could have sent him away to prison for upwards of 35 years if convicted…

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Under The Law, Anyone Interesting Is A Felon

The criminal prosecution of activist programmer and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz over his sharing of academic works from the archives of JSTOR likely lead to Swartz’s suicide. Via the New Yorker, law professor Tim Wu writes:

Most of the time prosecutors do chase actual wrongdoers, but today our criminal laws are so expansive that most people of any vigor and spirit can be found to violate them in some way. Basically, under American law, anyone interesting is a felon. The prosecutors, not the law, decide who deserves punishment.

Today, prosecutors feel they have license to treat leakers of information like crime lords or terrorists. In an age when our frontiers are digital, the criminal system threatens something intangible but incredibly valuable. It threatens youthful vigor, difference in outlook, the freedom to break some rules and not be condemned or ruined for the rest of your life. Swartz was a passionate eccentric who could have been one of the great innovators and creators of our future.

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Aaron Swartz, America’s Mohamed Bouazizi: We’re in the midst of a revolution, which side are you on?

via chycho

The United States is ripe for a revolution. People are pissed, and rightfully so. The only question that remains is if the restructuring will be peaceful, like what we saw happen in Iceland, or will it be violent, like what we see happening in Greece and Spain.

As Chris Hedges has implied on multiple occasions, the revolution is well on its way:

I have seen my share of revolts, insurgencies and revolutions, from the guerrilla conflicts in the 1980s in Central America to the civil wars in Algeria, the Sudan and Yemen, to the Palestinian uprising to the revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania as well as the wars in the former Yugoslavia. George Orwell wrote that all tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but that once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force. We have now entered the era of naked force.

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