Anonymous Hacks MIT in Tribute to Aaron Swartz
Sad news in the tech world this weekend with word that the co-founder of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, and since a well-known Internet activist had committed suicide at the young age of 26.
At the time, Swartz was battling his own demos, and the legal system, fighting criminal charges that stemmed from his attempts to make the pay-to-access JSTOR archives public on his own. (Click here for full coverage including his family's statement, the news, and his online will).
So, what does an organization like Anonymous do to show their tribute? Why hack MIT to display a memorial. The messages have already been taken down, but we got our hands on the text.
In Memoriam, Aaron Swartz, November 8, 1986 - January 11, 2013, Requiescat in pace.
A brief message from Anonymous.
Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government's prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for - freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it - enabling the collective betterment of the world through the facilitation of sharing - an ideal that we should all support.
Moreover, the situation Aaron found himself in highlights the injustice of U.S. computer crime laws, particularly their punishment regimes, and the highly-questionable justice of pre-trial bargaining. Aaron's act was undoubtedly political activism; it had tragic consequences.
We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.
For in the end, we will not be judged according to what we give, but according to what we keep to ourselves.
Aaron, we will sorely miss your friendship, and your help in building a better world. May you read in peace.
Who was Aaron Swartz? A hero in the SOPA/PIPA campaign, Reddit cofounder, RSS, Demand Progress, Avaaz, etc...:
Aaron Swartz's funeral is on Tuesday. Here are details:
Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of #Aaron Swartz
Guerilla Open Access Manifesto
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You'll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.