Hacktivist collective Anonymous has replaced two MIT websites with a statement urging reforms to US copyright law, after the death of Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz.
The message from Anonymous called the government’s persecution of the 26 year old intern activist, “a gross miscarriage of justice”, adding ,"We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed an unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all." The sites have since been taken offline.
Mr Swartz, hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment on Friday, weeks before he was due to face trial over allegations he illegally downloaded academic research papers from online resource JSTOR.
Despite JSTOR dropping the allegations, and Swartz having legal access to the publicly available material, he was facing up to 35 years in prison under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. His death came shortly after Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann denied further negotiation on his plea bargain.
A statement released by Swartz’s family following the suicide blamed both federal prosecutors and the MIT staff for being partially responsible for events leading to his death. In response MIT president L. Rafael Reif has said the institute will launch a "thorough analysis" of their involvement with Aaron Swartz's case.
Written and presented by Alfred Joyner