Aaron is a hero because he refused to play along with the government’s agenda, instead he used his brilliance and passion to create a more transparent society. Through the free software movement, open publishing and file sharing, and development of cryptography and anonymity technology, digital activists have revealed the poverty of neo-liberalism and intellectual property. Aaron opposed reducing everything to a commodity to be bought or sold for a profit.
Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond on the late Aaron Swartz, part of his statement written from solitary confinement. 
Aaron Swartz files reveal how FBI tracked the Internet activistFebruary 19, 2013
A blogger has published once-classified FBI files that show how the agency tracked and collected information on internet activist Aaron Swartz.
Swartz, who killed himself in January aged 26, had previously requested his files and posted them on his blog, but some new documents and redactions are included in the files published by Firedoglake blogger Daniel Wright.
Wright was given 21 of 23 declassified documents, thanks to a rule that declassifies FBI files on the deceased. Wright said that he was told the other two pages of documents were not provided because of freedom of information subsections concerning privacy, “sources and methods,” and that can “put someone’s life in danger.”
The FBI’s files concern Swartz’s involvement in accessing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (Pacer) documents. In pursuit of their investigation, the FBI had collected his personal information and was surveilling an Illinois address where he had his IP address registered.
One page reads: “Washington Field Office requests that the North RA attempt to locate Aaron Swartz, his vehicles, drivers license information and picture, and others. Since Swartz is the potential subject of an ongoing investigation, it is requested that Swartz not be approached by agents.”
The FBI also collected information from his social networking profiles, including Facebook and Linkedin. The latter proved to be a catalog of his many notable accomplishments, which include being a co-founder ofReddit, a founder of a website to improve the government, watchdog.net and as metadata adviser at Creative Commons.
Information from a New York Times article about his Pacer hack was also included in the files, though strangely, since the article can still be read online, the name of the article’s other subject, Carl Malamud, was blocked out.
Hacking collective Anonymous released a State Department database Monday in memory of Swartz. The files included employees’ personal information such as addresses, phone number and emails.
Source

Aaron Swartz files reveal how FBI tracked the Internet activist
February 19, 2013

A blogger has published once-classified FBI files that show how the agency tracked and collected information on internet activist Aaron Swartz.

Swartz, who killed himself in January aged 26, had previously requested his files and posted them on his blog, but some new documents and redactions are included in the files published by Firedoglake blogger Daniel Wright.

Wright was given 21 of 23 declassified documents, thanks to a rule that declassifies FBI files on the deceased. Wright said that he was told the other two pages of documents were not provided because of freedom of information subsections concerning privacy, “sources and methods,” and that can “put someone’s life in danger.”

The FBI’s files concern Swartz’s involvement in accessing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (Pacer) documents. In pursuit of their investigation, the FBI had collected his personal information and was surveilling an Illinois address where he had his IP address registered.

One page reads: “Washington Field Office requests that the North RA attempt to locate Aaron Swartz, his vehicles, drivers license information and picture, and others. Since Swartz is the potential subject of an ongoing investigation, it is requested that Swartz not be approached by agents.”

The FBI also collected information from his social networking profiles, including Facebook and Linkedin. The latter proved to be a catalog of his many notable accomplishments, which include being a co-founder ofReddit, a founder of a website to improve the government, watchdog.net and as metadata adviser at Creative Commons.

Information from a New York Times article about his Pacer hack was also included in the files, though strangely, since the article can still be read online, the name of the article’s other subject, Carl Malamud, was blocked out.

Hacking collective Anonymous released a State Department database Monday in memory of Swartz. The files included employees’ personal information such as addresses, phone number and emails.

Source

Join The People’s Record: A Collective Info-Activism Project
This project is aimed at providing information and news pertinent to activism, capitalism (and the philosophies that oppose it), the police-state, imperialism, civil liberties, social justice, colonialism and systemic societal problems. We’re gathering a group of interested parties and are actively working toward growing this project into something much larger than its current incarnation.
In January, we had our one-year project anniversary. By the end of our second year we’d like to have:
Several topically-focused columns written from a regular columnists who write semi-regularly: anti-austerity, environmental justice, LGBTQ, student movements, indigenous struggles, racial justice & beyond. 
A team of active enthusiastic graphic-image creators and Facebook page managers.
At least one person on Twitter posting breaking news & blog posts.
At least one regularly recurring political podcast or vlog.
We believe that large-scale movements that target sources of systemic-oppression (in the vein of Occupy & many other movements) need to be supported, covered, understood, thought about, and discussed. We believe that we have the best chance of breaking into the cultural ethos when we work together – sharing information, promoting events, movements and ideas in a coordinated and strategic way.  
We don’t think people digest information in only one way or through only one medium, but rather that people learn from exposure to multiple mediums, in innumerable ways. We know that info-activists sharing their perspective about systemic problems have the capacity to reach a variety of audiences, resonating with different but often-overlapping groups of people and we believe that by growing this project we will be able to qualitatively improve the perspective represented by The People’s Record and also quantitatively increase our audience. 
This isn’t intended to be antagonistic or mean-spirited, but our perspective is not in-line with an anarcho-capitalist or libertarian perspective. Although we appreciate the ally in opposing state violence and oppression, disappearing civil liberties, drone strikes, and fighting for freedom of information, etc., we also could not justify leaving space in our project for an ideology that allows for unchecked, rampant oppression and one that celebrates, rather than criticizes the destructive force of capitalism. We know that capitalism is problematic and this is central to the world-view we hope to inject into the cultural ethos with this project. 
We aren’t looking for experts (necessarily, although if you are an expert and want to join this project, great), but rather for passionate people who understand the potential of using the tools available to us (because of increased connectivity to information and each other through the internet) to contribute as best we can to the conversations & debates essential to shaping our future global culture. 
If that’s you, and you think you could contribute in one of the above mentioned ways (or another way that you’ve thought of not-mentioned) or if you just want to learn more about the project, email us @: thepeoplesrec@gmail.com
If it won’t cramp your blog’s style and you appreciate what we’re trying to do, please reblog to help us reach more people.
- Robert & Graciela

Join The People’s Record: A Collective Info-Activism Project

This project is aimed at providing information and news pertinent to activism, capitalism (and the philosophies that oppose it), the police-state, imperialism, civil liberties, social justice, colonialism and systemic societal problems. We’re gathering a group of interested parties and are actively working toward growing this project into something much larger than its current incarnation.

In January, we had our one-year project anniversary. By the end of our second year we’d like to have:

  • Several topically-focused columns written from a regular columnists who write semi-regularly: anti-austerity, environmental justice, LGBTQ, student movements, indigenous struggles, racial justice & beyond.
  • A team of active enthusiastic graphic-image creators and Facebook page managers.
  • At least one person on Twitter posting breaking news & blog posts.
  • At least one regularly recurring political podcast or vlog.

We believe that large-scale movements that target sources of systemic-oppression (in the vein of Occupy & many other movements) need to be supported, covered, understood, thought about, and discussed. We believe that we have the best chance of breaking into the cultural ethos when we work together – sharing information, promoting events, movements and ideas in a coordinated and strategic way.  

We don’t think people digest information in only one way or through only one medium, but rather that people learn from exposure to multiple mediums, in innumerable ways. We know that info-activists sharing their perspective about systemic problems have the capacity to reach a variety of audiences, resonating with different but often-overlapping groups of people and we believe that by growing this project we will be able to qualitatively improve the perspective represented by The People’s Record and also quantitatively increase our audience.

This isn’t intended to be antagonistic or mean-spirited, but our perspective is not in-line with an anarcho-capitalist or libertarian perspective. Although we appreciate the ally in opposing state violence and oppression, disappearing civil liberties, drone strikes, and fighting for freedom of information, etc., we also could not justify leaving space in our project for an ideology that allows for unchecked, rampant oppression and one that celebrates, rather than criticizes the destructive force of capitalism. We know that capitalism is problematic and this is central to the world-view we hope to inject into the cultural ethos with this project.

We aren’t looking for experts (necessarily, although if you are an expert and want to join this project, great), but rather for passionate people who understand the potential of using the tools available to us (because of increased connectivity to information and each other through the internet) to contribute as best we can to the conversations & debates essential to shaping our future global culture.

If that’s you, and you think you could contribute in one of the above mentioned ways (or another way that you’ve thought of not-mentioned) or if you just want to learn more about the project, email us @: thepeoplesrec@gmail.com

If it won’t cramp your blog’s style and you appreciate what we’re trying to do, please reblog to help us reach more people.

- Robert & Graciela

The persecution of Aaron Swartz: Why the US government hounded a free-information activist to his deathJanuary 15, 2013
On Friday, January 11, 2013, 26-year-old visionary technologist and social activist Aaron Swartz hanged himself in New York City. A passionate advocate for making access to online information as widespread as possible, Swartz was grappling with the fallout from his efforts to do just that.
Two years before Swartz ended his life, he was arrested by police from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City of Cambridge, Mass., police for breaking and entering into an MIT storage closet. In the closet, Swartz had stashed an ACER laptop  he had programmed to download in bulk millions of scholarly articles from JSTOR, a non-profit database that provides access to the articles for academic libraries. At the time, articles on JSTOR were locked behind a paywall for non-academics who wished to access them through their own computers. Swartz aimed to make them available, free of charge, to anyone who wanted to read them.
At the time of his arrest, an investigation of Swartz’s MIT/JSTOR action was already underway, and two days earlier, the Secret Service’s online crime division assumed control of the probe. The Secret Service routinely conducts complex computer crime investigations; its involvement signaled the treatment of this as a major crime, not a caper. Six months later, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz charged Swartz with a four-count indictment.  
To those who knew Swartz’ ethic, that indictment already seemed like overkill, essentially labeling an effort to share information as wire and computer fraud. But then last year, Ortiz multiplied each of the main charges, turning the same underlying actions into a 13-count indictment that threatened Swartz with a 35-year sentence.
Swartz had long struggled with depression that may have contributed to his suicide. But his family and associates have also blamed the government’s conduct in prosecuting Swartz. A statement issued by the family the day after Swartz’s suicide charges that “the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
And therein lies the almost incomprehensible legal background to this tragedy. Both before and after his arrest, Swartz had dedicated much of his life to using the internet to making information freely accessible. His goal here — the government claims he intended to publish the journals online, but made no claim he wanted to profit off of them — would have put academic research, much of it funded by federal grants, in the hands of the people who paid for it.
The Free Exchange of Ideas
Academic inquiry is founded on the free exchange of ideas. And most of the journals’ authors do not get paid for the articles they wrote. Swartz’s “crime” here would have served to foster intellectual exchange, the entire point of publishing scholarly journals. In fact, since Swartz’s indictment, JSTOR has opened up access to its journals for individuals who register. To some extent, then, Swartz’ goal has been implemented by his alleged victim.
Moreover, as Alex Stamos, an expert witness who would have testified in Swartz’s defense, points out, both the alleged victims of this crime had built their systems to foster openness. MIT deliberately allows visitors to access their system. At the time of the alleged crimes, JSTOR permitted users at MIT an unlimited number of downloads. Both networks lacked very basic safeguards to prevent abuse.
And both alleged victims have expressed regret at what has happened. Before the federal government charged Swartz, JSTOR settled its complaint against him, though MIT did not. In response to his death, JSTOR reiterated that it “regretted being drawn into from the outset, since JSTOR’s mission is to foster widespread access to the world’s body of scholarly knowledge.” And in addition to also expressing sorrow, MIT President Rafael Reif promised an investigation into MIT’s role in his prosecution, raising questions about what alternatives MIT had to cooperating in Swartz’s prosecution.
While MIT’s remorse may be tragically belated, both the alleged victims in this case seem to recognize that the prosecution violated the ethics of openness that JSTOR and MIT claim to uphold.
In spite of all this, the government portrayed Swartz’s action as theft, painting him as a common criminal. “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away,” said Ortiz at a press conference announcing the charges.
Full article

The persecution of Aaron Swartz: Why the US government hounded a free-information activist to his death
January 15, 2013

On Friday, January 11, 2013, 26-year-old visionary technologist and social activist Aaron Swartz hanged himself in New York City. A passionate advocate for making access to online information as widespread as possible, Swartz was grappling with the fallout from his efforts to do just that.

Two years before Swartz ended his life, he was arrested by police from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the City of Cambridge, Mass., police for breaking and entering into an MIT storage closet. In the closet, Swartz had stashed an ACER laptop  he had programmed to download in bulk millions of scholarly articles from JSTOR, a non-profit database that provides access to the articles for academic libraries. At the time, articles on JSTOR were locked behind a paywall for non-academics who wished to access them through their own computers. Swartz aimed to make them available, free of charge, to anyone who wanted to read them.

At the time of his arrest, an investigation of Swartz’s MIT/JSTOR action was already underway, and two days earlier, the Secret Service’s online crime division assumed control of the probe. The Secret Service routinely conducts complex computer crime investigations; its involvement signaled the treatment of this as a major crime, not a caper. Six months later, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz charged Swartz with a four-count indictment.  

To those who knew Swartz’ ethic, that indictment already seemed like overkill, essentially labeling an effort to share information as wire and computer fraud. But then last year, Ortiz multiplied each of the main charges, turning the same underlying actions into a 13-count indictment that threatened Swartz with a 35-year sentence.

Swartz had long struggled with depression that may have contributed to his suicide. But his family and associates have also blamed the government’s conduct in prosecuting Swartz. A statement issued by the family the day after Swartz’s suicide charges that “the U.S. Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”

And therein lies the almost incomprehensible legal background to this tragedy. Both before and after his arrest, Swartz had dedicated much of his life to using the internet to making information freely accessible. His goal here — the government claims he intended to publish the journals online, but made no claim he wanted to profit off of them — would have put academic research, much of it funded by federal grants, in the hands of the people who paid for it.

The Free Exchange of Ideas

Academic inquiry is founded on the free exchange of ideas. And most of the journals’ authors do not get paid for the articles they wrote. Swartz’s “crime” here would have served to foster intellectual exchange, the entire point of publishing scholarly journals. In fact, since Swartz’s indictment, JSTOR has opened up access to its journals for individuals who register. To some extent, then, Swartz’ goal has been implemented by his alleged victim.

Moreover, as Alex Stamos, an expert witness who would have testified in Swartz’s defense, points out, both the alleged victims of this crime had built their systems to foster openness. MIT deliberately allows visitors to access their system. At the time of the alleged crimes, JSTOR permitted users at MIT an unlimited number of downloads. Both networks lacked very basic safeguards to prevent abuse.

And both alleged victims have expressed regret at what has happened. Before the federal government charged Swartz, JSTOR settled its complaint against him, though MIT did not. In response to his death, JSTOR reiterated that it “regretted being drawn into from the outset, since JSTOR’s mission is to foster widespread access to the world’s body of scholarly knowledge.” And in addition to also expressing sorrow, MIT President Rafael Reif promised an investigation into MIT’s role in his prosecution, raising questions about what alternatives MIT had to cooperating in Swartz’s prosecution.

While MIT’s remorse may be tragically belated, both the alleged victims in this case seem to recognize that the prosecution violated the ethics of openness that JSTOR and MIT claim to uphold.

In spite of all this, the government portrayed Swartz’s action as theft, painting him as a common criminal. “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away,” said Ortiz at a press conference announcing the charges.

Full article

Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.

Statement from info-activist & internet pioneer Aaron Swartz’s family & partner, who died yesterday in Brooklyn. 

Read about Swartz’s contribution to “Guerilla Open Acess” & the case against him that would have put him in prison for decades here

Ethiopian journalist faces life in prisonJune 29, 2012 
An Ethiopian journalist and blogger faces life imprisonment after being convicted of terrorism charges at the Lideta Federal High Court in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday.
Eskinder Nega was arrested in September 2011 for publishing articles online about the Arab Spring and questioning the Ethiopian government’s use of anti-terrorism laws.
US news service Bloomberg reported that Judge Endeshaw Adane said Nega and five other journalists, who were tried in absentia, had used ‘the guise of freedom’ to ‘attempt to incite violence and overthrow the constitutional order’.
According to Bloomberg the journalists were accused of having links to a US-based opposition group, Ginot 7, an organisation labelled ‘terrorist’ by the government.
Nega is the latest journalist to be tried under what human rights groups describe as ‘draconian’ anti-terror legislation introduced in 2009 by the Ethiopian government. Activists fear the law is being used to stifle legitimate political dissent and have reported that more than 150 people have been arrested using the legislation  in the last year including journalists, politicians and students.
Source

Ethiopian journalist faces life in prison
June 29, 2012 

An Ethiopian journalist and blogger faces life imprisonment after being convicted of terrorism charges at the Lideta Federal High Court in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday.

Eskinder Nega was arrested in September 2011 for publishing articles online about the Arab Spring and questioning the Ethiopian government’s use of anti-terrorism laws.

US news service Bloomberg reported that Judge Endeshaw Adane said Nega and five other journalists, who were tried in absentia, had used ‘the guise of freedom’ to ‘attempt to incite violence and overthrow the constitutional order’.

According to Bloomberg the journalists were accused of having links to a US-based opposition group, Ginot 7, an organisation labelled ‘terrorist’ by the government.

Nega is the latest journalist to be tried under what human rights groups describe as ‘draconian’ anti-terror legislation introduced in 2009 by the Ethiopian government. Activists fear the law is being used to stifle legitimate political dissent and have reported that more than 150 people have been arrested using the legislation  in the last year including journalists, politicians and students.

Source