January 12, 2014

e0cf639875c59cd2c122f5bf19628573Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the suicide death of Aaron Swartz, Internet activist and one of the builders of Reddit, who was then facing federal hacking charges.
And yesterday, a fitting memory — from the Guardian:

On Saturday, the home page of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was hacked, reportedly by the Anonymous group.
Last year Swartz’s family accused MIT and government prosecutors of being complicit in his death.
The hackers left a message on the site which read: “The day we fight back.”

(Illustration found here).

Until his death was reported, I’d never paid much attention to Swartz — if you like, my original post on the incident is here — and afterwards, a great downer. He appeared way ahead of his time.
And knew bad shit when he smelled it — a clip from a new documentary, “The Internet’s Own Boy,” in which Swartz explains the NSA — this nearly a year before the Eddie Snowden disclosures:

“It is shocking to think that the accountability is so lax that they don’t even have sort of basic statistics about how big the spying program is,” Swartz says in the clip.
“If the answer is, ‘Oh, we’re spying on so many people we can’t possibly even count them,’ then that’s an awful lot of people.”
He added, “They [the NSA] just came back and said we can’t give you a number at all.
“That’s scary.”

Big, huge-octopus scary.

Tragic is Swartz’s case — he was only 26. If he’d just waited a few months, little Eddie would have opened the door, and, those shitty federal charges against him still don’t stand the scrutiny of time.
On Friday, a crowd of US House and Senate members dispatched a letter to AG Eric Holder, telling him to get his shit together with the Swartz bullshit:

“We regret that the information your Department has provided to date has not been satisfactory — among other things, it painted a picture of prosecutors unwilling or unable to weigh what charges to pursue against a defendant, something which you have instructed federal prosecutors is ‘among [their] most fundamental duties,'” they wrote.

Heavy-handed, the NSA and the Obama White House — hope and change?
And all this as Obama is scheduled to supply his “definitive statement” on the NSA this coming Friday — week’s end news dump.

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