The government is going out of its way to create show trials in order to make the case that hackers are out of control and threaten our national security. The latest propaganda effort coincides with so-called cyber security legislation floating around the district of criminals.
Coinciding with the ludicrous assertion by the government that hackers will take down the power grid and pitch the country into the Stone Age, the DOJ and FBI have arrested more than a dozen people in the PayPal Ddos case. Now they are going after a hacker who “stole” non-profit public domain documents. They want to throw him in prison for 35 years.
A number of companies claim they are victims of hackers, including the death merchant Lockheed Martin. The corporate media has highlighted a number of hacking cases in the most lurid and exaggerated fashion.
All of this coincides with an effort by the Pentagon to integrate the private sector into a massive surveillance network in the name of protecting the country from elusive hackers in China and Russia.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has teamed up with Israeli intelligence to take down Iran’s nuclear energy computer network with a sophisticated virus called Stuxnet. It’s okay when we do it.
It should be noted that the Pentagon now says it will put a missile down the smokestack of anybody who messes with its networks and those of its corporate partners.
Aaron Swartz is being set-up in an ongoing effort to demonize hacktivists – hackers with political beliefs – and send the message that political activism over the internet might land you in prison.
Here’s more on the case from DigitalMediaWire:
Well-known Internet entrepreneur and programmer Aaron Swartz was indicted today on charges accusing him of stealing millions of documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and academic document library JSTOR. Swartz most recently founded the civil liberties activist group Demand Progress, having previously been involved with launching Creative Commons and co-founding Reddit.com, Jottit, Open Library and watchdog.net. He also co-authored the RSS 1.0 specification and released as free software the web framework he developed for Reddit.
The charges were filed by theU.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, and could result in up to35 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the New York Times’ Bits blog. Swartz surrendered voluntarily, pled not guilty to all counts, and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.
Ortiz’s office issued a statement detailing the charges filed against Swartz, which include wire fraud, computer fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer and criminal forfeiture. The legal documents allege Swartz broke into a restricted area of MIT and entered a computer wiring closet to access the M.I.T. computer network and obtain the 4 million JSTOR documents.
“Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars,” Ortiz said. She said her office believes Swartz intended to distribute the documents, which normally are accessible only with an expensive paid subscription, on file sharing websites.
“This makes no sense,” said Demand Progress executive director David Segal; “it’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library. It’s even more strange because JSTOR has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute.”
New York Times’ Bits post: http://tinyurl.com/3wwbt86
Demand Progress statement: http://demandprogress.org/aaron
Swartz indictment (PDF, courtesy of The Boston Channel): http://tinyurl.com/3ghbeuu