MIT did not 'call in the feds' to pursue Aaron Swartz, report find

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Officials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did not target the late Internet activist Aaron Swartz, but they failed to show leadership in a case that has raised questions about open access to online information and computer abuse laws, according to the findings of an internal investigation released Tuesday.

The 180-page report found that MIT officials did not “call in the feds” to pursue charges against Swartz, and did not know prior to Swartz's arrest that he was the one responsible for illegally downloading journal articles from the school's network. The findings sought to rebut criticism that the university told prosecutors Swartz should go to prison.

The university’s first concern was “to stop the use of its network, by an unknown person, to download massive numbers of articles from the JSTOR database," the report stated.

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