Harrop: Aaron Swartz was accused of real crimes
Aaron Swartz: Robin Hood or John Dillinger? He was not as virtuous as Robin and hardly as bad as John. Call the computer genius saint or sinner, few will argue with labeling his suicide at age 26 a “tragic loss.”
His friends in the “free culture movement” now accuse federal authorities of having driven Swartz to kill himself over “baseless” charges. But he did break into a computer-wiring closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and download academic papers for free distribution to the world. Had he been a street kid ripping off copper pipes – as opposed to tech star “liberating” information – would there have been much outcry over a prosecutor’s threat of jail time?
The charges, made under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, could have brought Swartz up to 35 years in prison – and, yes, that seemed extreme. However, the feds had indicated that a guilty plea might prompt them to eventually bargain down his sentence to as little as six months, according to The Wall Street Journal.
If you have any technical difficulties, either with your username and password or with the payment options, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com