by Kate Conger for the Daily Dot.
From the article:
Prosecutors painted him as the bad kind of hacker—the Hollywood sort who breaks into computer networks with a flurry of keystrokes to steal top-secret information.
“It’s just nonsense. Of course Aaron was a hacker in the broad sense of the term, but in terms of the criminal term, he was no hacker and he didn’t do anything like that,” said Dan Purcell, a partner at the law firm of Keker & Van Nest LLP in San Francisco. Purcell would have represented Swartz had his case gone to trial. Instead, Swartz committed suicide in Jan. 2013, before the trial commenced.
“What Aaron did, whether you call it a prank or a consciousness-raising exercise, it was not a crime.”
This distinction is an important one for organizers of the memorial hackathon, like Lisa Rein, cofounder of Creative Commons, who selected “setting the record straight” as the theme for this year’s event. Like Purcell, she emphasized that Swartz’s actions were far from criminal.
But as much as Aaron Swartz Day is about dispersing misconceptions about what it means to be a hacker, it’s also about simply hacking.
by Kate Conger for the Daily Dot
From the article:
Swartz was a bright young programmer who committed suicide while facing prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Since his death came in the midst of his prosecution, it eliminated the possibility of clearing his name in court. But, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s newly-appointed executive director Cindy Cohn notes in The Internet’s Own Boy, the case against Swartz was “a poor use of prosecutorial discretion.” Aaron Swartz Day aims to raise awareness about the facts of Swartz’s case and demonstrate that the criminality of his actions—using software to download millions of academic documents from JSTOR—was questionable at best.
“Aaron doesn’t deserve to go down in history as some malicious hacker out to steal and make money from his loot somehow,” Rein said in an email to the Daily Dot. “Since there are projects like SecureDrop going strong, and policy movements aimed at protecting innovative students on college campuses, and more updates on the ongoing fight to have Aaron’s government documents released to the public, and so many people willing to do amazing projects in his honor, I decided to just try to include everything I could, and see how large it became.”
Virtual Hackathon Starts November 14, 2020