Category Archives: FOIA Lawsuits

The (last couple) Weeks In Aaron Swartz Day-Land-January 23 2019

Here are the last few weeks of links to catch you up on recent developments in Aaron Swartz Day-land:

1) Aaron’s PACER Project Explained – A clip from Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy (completely transcribed), which explains the details behind Aaron’s famous PACER Project. We once thought this was the first thing to put Aaron on the FBI’s radar, but now we know that he was scooped up in an FBI phishing expedition as far back as 2007. (Thanks to a lawsuit by Property of the People  – see #3 of this list.)

Barrett Brown and Aaron Swartz Exchanged Emails and worked on a FOIA project together

2) Aaron Collaborated with Barrett Brown on “Persona Management” FOIA Request – Aaron filed a FOIA request – and received a document back from it – in 2011. Read the full story.

 

3) “Property of the People” Lawsuit Proves Aaron Was Scooped Up In An FBI Investigation Back In 2007 – Aaron had been erroneously swept up in a 2007 terrorist investigation that, most likely, caused law enforcement agencies (FBI, DOJ) to treat him with rougher hands during its subsequent encounters with him afterwards.

4) A few words with Mochipet, who performed at Raw Thought On January 11th at the DNA LoungeA Tale Of Modular Synthesizers – Another Open Source Success Story – Mochipet is a modular synthesizer aficionado and he explains how the German company Doepfer’s decision to make their specs open has led to a flourishing of musical culture that would otherwise have been impossible.

5) Just announced! Raw Thought @DNA Lounge for March 8th! TICKETS – FOIA & ASD PSP Raw Thought Salon from 7-9pm – music starts at 9 :)

To be clear: It’s two events in one – if you get there early enough (between 7-8:30pm) to learn about Police Surveillance and filing public records requests, great! If not, no biggie, just grab a drink and join the party.

Come to Raw Thought on March 8th (from 9pm-2am) & see Grumpy Green‘s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive space for both dancing & chilling).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco!       TICKETS

 

 

“Property of the People” Lawsuit Proves Aaron Was Scooped Up In An FBI Investigation Back In 2007

We will be discussing this lawsuit and the Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project in general (its templates, latest results from Sacramento & other cities in California) at this month’s Raw Thought Salon on March 8th – from 7-9pm.

Then stay from 9pm-2am to dance and hang out in Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive art installation).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS

 

By Lisa Rein

A “Property of the People” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit has obtained documents proving that Aaron was scooped up in an FBI investigation as far back as 2007, even before the PACER project, in 2008. (Previously we thought the PACER project was the first time the FBI had concerned itself with Aaron.)

Aaron had been erroneously swept up in a 2007 terrorist investigation that, most likely, caused law enforcement agencies (FBI, DOJ) to treat him with rougher hands during its subsequent encounters with him afterwards.

His email was only scooped up because the Feds were probably using National Security Letters (NSLs) to get all of a University Department’s email headers, in bulk, from a computer science department that Aaron had emailed. (More on NSL’s here.) Long story short they enable the FBI to demand information from entities without court approval. (No warrants. No judicial oversight.)

Here’s the article by Dell Cameron for Gizmodo: https://gizmodo.com/fbi-secretly-collected-data-on-aaron-swartz-earlier-tha-1831076900

Highlights from the two documents are displayed below): (1) (2) These documents show the information that the FBI had in its database about Aaron, way back in February of 2007:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This document is from November 4, 2008:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Article:

How specifically the FBI came to possess Swartz’s email data remains unclear.

But after reviewing the document and other related files, several legal experts told Gizmodo the most likely explanation was that the FBI had used a National Security Letter (NSL), a ubiquitous tool for obtaining email header data at the time. An NSL would have enabled federal agents to demand access to the data and then impose a gag order to maintain secrecy around the investigation, all without a judge’s approval.

Authorized under the Stored Communications Act, in cases of suspected terrorism or espionage, these letters enable the FBI to seize a variety of electronic records under its own authority. While agents cannot use an NSL to acquire the contents of an email message, the FBI’s notes appear to show that, in Swartz’s case, it sought only “email headers,” data the FBI would argue falls well within the scope of its power to seize.

NSL Letters are over reaching, post-911 creations that we’ve all learned a lot about these last few years because Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive went public with his experience with them, and then he worked with the ACLU and the EFF to challenge NSLs as being unconstitutional. Here’s a great story about it by Richard Koman for ZDNet, where Brewster Kahle offers a cookbook for fighting security letters:

Just talked to Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive about their successful settlement with the FBI of a lawsuit over a National Security Letter. The FBI had demanded personal information on a user; the Archive replied with a lawsuit challenging the propriety of the NSL.

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We will be discussing this lawsuit and the Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project in general (its templates, latest results from Sacramento & other cities in California) at this month’s Raw Thought Salon on March 8th – from 7-9pm.

Then stay from 9pm-2am to dance and hang out in Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive space for both dancing & chilling).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS