Aaron Swartz

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This is a very sad day. Recently I presented a talk on Aaron Swartz ‘s JSTOR incident, the resulting legal actions, and an overview I captioned as ‘reading between the lines’. In my talk I highlighted how legal documents can be examined to extract technical details. The specifics of the talk are unimportant; what is important is that this young academic committed suicide on January 11, 2013. His political cause was the hacker ethos – information wants to be free, should be free – and his brothers the world over are mourning his passing by posting their work under the twitter tag #PDFTribute. I likewise contribute to this by posting to my academia.edu profile a copy of a recent publication involving ethical issues in digital forensics research co-authored with my good friend Dr. Michael Falgoust. It is a minor issue to put forth our work, but we stand in solidarity with our brother in a time in which academia is demonized, scientists marginalized, and people like Aaron sacrifice bright futures to bring attention to important issues.

Cliche or not, theses two lines from the iconic hacker manifesto came to mind for me

        My crime is that of curiosity. [...] 
My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me
for.

This is especially applicable given the sad background of this event. I just added my slides from the talk I did about the JSTOR incident to my academia.edu profile which has some timeline information on the incident and the charges he was facing.

There is a list of papers being tweeted by academics at http://pdftribute.net/.

Posted in Computer Science, Hacks, Cracks, and Attacks, Law, News & Commentary Tagged with: , , ,