Anonymous "Operation Last Resort" Takes Down U.S. Sentencing Site

Anonymous has hacked the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in retaliation for the suicide of Aaron Swartz and in protest of the overly harsh federal sentencing guidelines and policies of the Department of Justice, particularly for hactivists. More here.

From the video: They have been plotting and holding their tongue, but with the death of Aaron, they will wait no longer. They have decided to give the Justice Department a taste of its own medicine and show it the true meaning of infiltration. It wants legislative change and a return to proportionality in sentencing. Today is just the beginning. [More...]

Anonymous is not seeking negotiation. They know they are outside the system. But others are not and Anonymous wants Congress to work with those who are trying to reform the system from within.

Anonymous says the Government cannot ride out this wave. This time there will be change or there will be chaos.

This is a fascinating video. The description of the flaws in the federal sentencing system and the overreach of federal prosecutors is a must to listen to. A transcript is here.

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    Link to the Anonymous documentary (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:20:41 PM EST
    We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

    For as long as the link lasts anyway. A very enlightening film, especially in light of today's activities.

    My wife is an I.T. director for a bank (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:31:15 PM EST
    A small bank, doing great work focusing on investing in green and sustainable businesses. But this stuff makes her so nervous she can't stand thinking about it. She knows how powerless she and her bank ultimately are if the right someone wants to bring it all down. Not that her institution would be targeted, but you never know what "collateral damage" means in this kind of battle.

    Gonna get very interesting, and we're going to see a lot of popular Dems supporting status quo tyranny, no doubt. Will someone in power stand up to lead in the direction of freedom?  

    probable not (none / 0) (#3)
    by nyjets on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:42:17 PM EST
    'Will someone in power stand up to lead in the direction of freedom?   '
    Whether you agree with annoynmous or not, what they are doing is extortion. Sooner or latter they are going to hurt innocent people. Nobody in COngress is going to want to be on record in helping them in making policy.

    May be true (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:06:44 PM EST
    But as extortionists, Anon can't hold a candle to Uncle Sam's cops and suits. As techies, however, I think will have an edge for some time, barring the country becoming a complete tyranny.

    "I think THEY will have an edge..." n/t (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:07:30 PM EST
    Anonymous does not seem to understand (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:44:14 PM EST
    that the Sentencing Commission is not an agency of the Justice Department.  (True, the Justice Dept has undue influence at the Commission, but that's not the same thing at all.)  While the US Atty's Office was threatening Aaron Swartz with conviction for a dozen felonies, and threatening to ask for a seven year sentence (not 35 yrs, as some supporters and media keep saying) if he were to stand trial and be convicted, the Sentencing Commission Guidelines (as Jeralyn and I both commented, after about ten minutes study) were there to tell the judge that the number of counts doesn't matter and that the suggested sentence in such a case was in the range from probation to six months' imprisonment.  While I have plenty of criticisms to level at the Commission, and its Guidelines are totally whacko on certain offenses (mostly when it tries to read Congressional tea leaves), the offenses with which Swartz was charged are not among them. Their website does not seem like an astutely chosen target, it seems to me, even from their point of view (and I agree with their criticisms of our present justice system, although not with their tactics).

    Peter, a clarification (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:26:47 AM EST
    I said the multiple counts wouldn't affect his guideline range appreciably because of grouping rules, but I never calculated the guidelines at 6 months -- in fact, I think they are much higher. What I said: "It's doubtful the added counts would have changed Aaron's sentencing guidelines by much."

    The guideline range for even one count could be quite high, since the guideline for many of the counts is 2B1.1, which is calculated by the amount of loss. (Statutory index here, go to 18 USC 1030 and 18 USC 1343 on pages 10 and 11.) The higher the loss, the higher the guideline range.

    Because the Government was arguing for a really high amount of loss to JStor , and because of the various enhancements under 2B1.1, Aaron's range for even one count would likely be several years, and certainly above 6 months. According to Marty Weinberg, Aaron's second attorney who was negotiating a deal with the Government, his guideline range was around 5 years (half a decade he says):

    Martin Weinberg, Swartz's attorney until Fall 2012, says the problem is the sentencing guidelines that hovered over his deceased client's head.

    "I think it's a more systemic problem that has plagued the criminal justice system since the 1980s ... Congress took the historic power away from judges to individualize sentencing without concern for minimum mandatory sentencing or in this case federal sentencing guidelines that create a coercive club that has lead to over 95 percent of federal defendants pleading guilty," Weinberg said.

    Weinberg argues federal guidelines for sentencing in a case such as Swartz's aren't appropriate because they depend on financial losses.

    "Well the Aaron Swartz case was a paradigm. Greed, monetary motives were not in any respect Aaron's objective in doing what he is alleged to have done," Weinberg said. "Instead, he had political and moral agenda, yet was subject to these coercive and even draconian guidelines that threatened to, after trial if imposed, to extinguish half a decade of his life warehoused in a federal jail."

    ..."Because of the guidelines, the government felt like they reduced it by 90 percent and gave me a plea offer, which was less than six months, when I believe passionately that Aaron Swartz was a person who should've received at worst probation for the crimes that he was facing," Weinberg said.

    Carmen Ortiz said:

    This office sought an appropriate sentence that matched the alleged conduct - a sentence that we would recommend to the judge of six months in a low security setting. While at the same time, his defense counsel would have been free to recommend a sentence of probation. Ultimately, any sentence imposed would have been up to the judge.

    I think the Government was going to acquiesce in a variance from the guidelines if he plead, not that the guidelines weren't high. There's no indication she was seeking an upward departure or variance from the guidelines that I've seen.

    I agree with much of what Anonymous says about the need for change in Congress and our federal sentencing guidelines. And especially with cutting back on the discretion of prosecutors.

    While I can't support their infiltration of government websites or disclosing of restricted government documents, I do think many of their arguments are valid.

    Congress often dictates when passing a new law with a greater penalty that the Sentencing Commission increase guidelines for that offense. It is Congress that establishes mandatory minimums. The Sentencing Commission takes its cue from Congress. And ultimately, it's the Justice Department that decides what charges to bring, what plea bargain to offer, and what onerous conditions attach to that offer (e.g. waiver of appeal rights) or to a rejection of the offer (superseding indictment with more charges, recidivist enhancement doubling the mandatory minimum for a person with a prior drug felony, even if it was 20 years ago etc.)

    There's plenty of blame to go around, and while Congress and DOJ are responsible for most of it, I don't think it's misguided to put a fair share on the Sentencing Commission.


    forgot to include the link (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:28:26 AM EST
    to the Statutory Index, it is here.

    I did discuss the "loss" issue carefully (none / 0) (#18)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:16:47 AM EST
    in my original comment on this, J.  I should have linked backed to it, so it would be easier to check. I quaified my comment:
    assuming the judge found no intended financial loss.  Of course, on the theory that Swartz intended to make all of JSTOR's materials, for which it charges libraries a subscription fee, and private users a per-item download fee, available instead for free from another source, in perpetuity, then the "intended loss" is all of JSTOR's revenues forever, which I suppose is unlimited in amount -- or perhaps the entire "market value" of JSTOR as an enterprise -- and there would be no telling how high the guidelines range might go

    There had been no actual "loss" at the time of arrest, so it all turns on the elusive "intended loss," which would have depended on the judge's factual determination of what was in Swartz's mind. I figure the government's offer of six months was not a stipulated "variance" below the Guidelines but rather a concession that on the facts there was a good argument that Swartz did not subjectively intend any financial loss to JSTOR.

    Protesting (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by koshembos on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:31:02 PM EST
    Democracies tolerate protests. Democratic governments are not free of distortions, illegalities and can, at times, bring your blood to a boil. Protests, however, have to be open and subject to examination as well.

    Anonymous uses undemocratic methods, they are the judge and the executioner, they also have a black hood on their head. They are not better than the government/entities they oppose. They may be worse.

    Would you have said the same (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:35:39 PM EST
    about the Underground Railroad?  Isn't that the counter-example that casts doubt on the claim that civil disobedience in a democracy must adhere to openness to have legitimacy?

    Other than aiding and abetting... (none / 0) (#15)
    by unitron on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:34:12 AM EST
    ...runaway slaves in depriving slave owners of their legal property, what injury or inconvenience did the UR inflict upon anyone?

    They were open about what they were doing, they just weren't open about who was involved or where they were doing it.


    Under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:57:51 PM EST
    any person aiding a runaway slave by providing food or shelter was subject to six months' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.  Participation in the UR was both a crime and constituted "civil disobedience," in my book. (In fact, abuse of prosecutorial discretion and power is nothing new.  Although aiding an escaped slave was a misdemeanor under the Act, 38 free blacks and their white Quaker neighbors were charged in 1851 in Philadelphia federal court with treason, a capital offense, for resisting a slave-catcher acting under the Fugitive Slave Act. A jury refused to convict.) To ask what injury the UR was doing, is just to say you agree with what they did and disagree with slavery, which was then legal in many places and protected by the Fugitive Slave Act, as a result of a key political compromise.  Ok: Surprise! I agree with you on the slavery ("human property") question; I'm also against it. Now that we have that out of the way, I don't see how that makes it different, as a logical, philosophical or jurisprudential matter from those who believe that significant aspects of our present "intellectual property" laws are deeply immoral and set out, as "hacktivists," to set cultural and educational information free for those denied fair access to it. Yesterday's hacking of the USSC site was not designed to set information free, of course.  It was designed (not well designed, imho, but nevertheless designed) to fight back against the authorities who seek to enforce the current system that locks up "information" that the activists believe ought to be free, and to contribute to a national dialog intended to produce legislative and executive-policy changes.  Analogous (albeit life-threatening) actions occurred in connection with UR activities.

    The UR (none / 0) (#22)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:30:15 AM EST
      was working to free human beings from bondage. Was its objective to sway public opinion or was it to help peole who were the victims of injustice?

      I really don't see any equivalent, moral, philosophical, legal or practical between people who risked their live to lead slaves to freedom and people who use network vulnerabilities to  steal intellectual property. The equivalency is even more difficult to sustain when the folks go beyond stealing peoperty for the ostensible purpose of making it availble to others and resort to what is nothing more than vandalism -- and vandalism that ironically deprives others of access to information.



    Pfffttt (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:33:24 AM EST
    How many times do we need to pay for this "intellectual property?"

    One word: Plutocracy.


    When "ptotesting" (none / 0) (#25)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:54:31 AM EST
     it helps to make sense and at least present an argument you have a just cause.

    I'm not sure falsely claiming you have already paid for something and calling people who prevent you from helping yourself to others' labor plutocrats qualifies on either count.


    OK (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:04:13 PM EST
    Assuming for argument's sake (none / 0) (#27)
    by Reconstructionist on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:18:02 PM EST
     that all of the information taken was at least in part funded by the government, do you really think that should be license for any one who wants it to have access?

      If so, should I be free to squat in my neighbor's house if he purchased it with government assistance? Should I be permitted to hijack the broadcast frequency of my local PBS station and present the content I want? should I be permitted to "borrow" a GM car when I want to go out of town?



    No (none / 0) (#32)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:13:51 PM EST
    Reread my argument above. We build roads that we all get to use. In the same vein, we should make public information available to the public. There's no need in this day and age to allow a company to make obscene profits restricting access to information.

    At what point (none / 0) (#44)
    by Reconstructionist on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:52:42 AM EST
     do profits "become "obscene" as opposed to an intended result of the economic system?

      As for all of us getting to use roads, that is true for most of them, but should I be able to blow through toll booths without paying on those that charge them? Perhaps more saiently if I were to hack the EZpass system to allow everyone else to  get free transit on toll roads should i be subject to any penalty?


    I'm sorry you're having such a hard time (none / 0) (#47)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:21:55 PM EST
    understanding this. I'm not suggesting anyone "blow through toll booths" or encouraging people to squat in others houses or hijack PBS or steal cars.

    I am saying that when the public has already paid for something, like research, it makes sense for the government to make that information available to the public without having to pay a private company. As with all things government, there would be additional costs to consolidating and publishing the research. But I'm sure researchers would be happy to do a lot of the organizational work to get their material out there.  

    As an aside, I also think that if the government uses tolls to build roads, they should remove the tolls after they're paid for. Maintenance should be done by gas taxes, not perpetual tolls that end up in cushy retirement packages for toll booth employees.


    You sound (none / 0) (#35)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:09:03 PM EST
    like the nuts who justify bombing Planned Parenthood clinics by invoking John Brown. I'm sorry but these are not equivalent actions and pretending they are only serves to dilute the horror of slavery.

    History will judge (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:31:59 PM EST
    which are heroes, saints and visionaries, and which are misguided crackpots. Violence against other persons -- as well as violence against property that risks injury or death to other persons (like bombing) -- disqualifies you from the claim to be recognized as a civil disobedient, rather than as a saboteur (or mentally deranged criminal), however. Falling on the wrong side of history's verdict is a risk that all lawbreakers-for-a-cause must take, and most will not be vindicated.

    That is (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:26:53 AM EST
    a difficult premise.

    "Undemocratic methods" can be in the eye of the beholder.

    Were the marches in Selma "undemocratic", or were they just illegal because of unjust laws?

    What about the protests outside the Democratic Convention in 1968?

    What about the fact that the opposition, often the US government, determines what speech is permissible, and where and how it can be expressed?

    The "democratic process" with respect to expressing our opinions by voting has become so corrupted and enfeebled that I do think we have to expect people to find a way to express themselves outside of the system in order to bring pressure upon it.

    "Every generation needs a new revolution."
    Thomas Jefferson


    Maybe not a revolution, (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:12:53 AM EST
    in the customary sense or as Jefferson may have thought, but a revolution in ways and means of protest. The tactics of  Anon. may be the update.  Certainly, the "marches" on Washington have lost their spark, even huge crowds may go unnoticed by the media.  Or, protests may be suppressed on public safety grounds.

    Information resulting from research, (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by MyLeftMind on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:30:24 AM EST
    public projects, court cases and all other activities that are funded by the public should be freely available to the public without having to pay exorbitant fees.

    We need to reassess why we pay the government to enhance corporate profits based on the restriction of access to information we've already paid for. The Justice Dept went after Aaron Schwartz because he threatened profits for JSTOR, even though the company restricted public access to academic work that was already paid for by the public. It's all about profits for the few supported by taxes on the rest of us.

    We pool our money to build roads, schools and the like. We should also pay one time only to consolidate and present information generated from publicly funded activities. That includes everything from research to court case law.

    The timing didn't work out too well. (none / 0) (#7)
    by EL seattle on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:42:59 PM EST
    I know they didn't plan it this way, but this protest against the USA's cyber sentencing system is happening on the same day that Egyptians are rioting to protest 21 death sentences.

    And also on the same day that (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by shoephone on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:10:37 PM EST
    It's competition for attention. (none / 0) (#20)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:10:07 AM EST
    I think that on a normal Pro Bowl weekend, the Anonymous story would have registered higher in the breaking news category, maybe for the whole weekend. It made sense for them to schedule the hacking event and release the video on a slow news weekend (and not, say, against the Super Bowl).

    But as soon as the 21 death sentences happened, and the riots in Egypt got really violent, things like veiled threats of a supreme court data dump seem less significant (in the big picture sense, anyhow).  So the story soon seemed to be getting about as much attention as the change in regulations for jailbreaking cell phones.

    Of course, now everything else is being bumped off of page one by the Brazil tragedy.


    "proportionality" (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:43:28 PM EST
    Um, the last plea offer was six months in a minimum security facility.  Is that really not proportional?

    Six months to admit guilt (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:58:47 AM EST
    When the illegality was highly questionable and the only party that could even attempt to claim injury did not and in fact decided that Aaron was so right that it made its data freely accessible afterwards.  I am not pleading guilty for any of my actions that are not clearly illegal.

    You want people to destroy their own lives just to avoid bullying?  Aren't we as a society supposed to be moving away from that?  And don't we preach to our children now to stand up to bullying and report bullying?  Well Aaron did


    so proportional is a red herring (1.00 / 2) (#28)
    by diogenes on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:39:58 PM EST
    So this is NOTHING about proportionality in sentencing and is simply about what some feel is an indictment a grand jury should never have agreed to because there was no crime?  So why do people wave the thirty five years around?

    I am not Anonymous (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:29:57 PM EST
    This isn't just about Aaron for them from what I gather watching the message, this is about the lack proportionality pertaining to hackers across the spectrum as they whistleblow.  Our government can leak every name that was on Seal Team Six that took down bin Laden and that was okay.....until everyone in the military freaks out on them and they "pull" the leak.  I knew they would, but they had already printed every name once and it was dispersed all over the net.  That was all classified but nobody goes down for that.  But whistleblowers and hackers have been taking a beating from hell from this administrations justice dept.  They are governing through bullying and scaring individuals verses governing through democracy, earned respect, and good governance.

    Who did not claim injury? (none / 0) (#29)
    by vicndabx on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:53:36 PM EST
    E-mails among M.I.T. officials that Tuesday in January 2011 highlight the pressures university officials felt over a problem they thought they had solved. Ann J. Wolpert, the director of libraries, wrote to Ellen Finnie Duranceau, the official who was receiving Jstor's complaints: "Has there ever been a situation similar to this when we brought in campus police? The magnitude, systematic and careful nature of the abuses could be construed as approaching criminal action. Certainly, that's how Jstor views it."
    NYT Link

    And then Jstor opened up the (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:21:38 PM EST
    the database for free?  What happened to their "damage"?  They were claiming they had to charge for storage, the only thing Aaron was doing was freeing the information that belongs to all us and proving that this access can be granted without any substantial fees charged to ANYONE.  If individuals do not continually challenge the building of plutocracy it takes over.

    Well, actually JSTOR made a slight gesture (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Peter G on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 06:19:08 PM EST
    at making a limited amount of their database available to read, but not to save or copy.  (I had a link for this, but can't find it right now.)  Far from opening it all up.  However, they did ask the U.S. Attorney's office not to prosecute after Swartz agreed to and did return the copies he had downloaded, they now say, but the prosecutors refused to honor JSTOR's preference. Worth remembering that we do not actually know what Swartz intended to do with the materials he bulk-downloaded.  I have read inconsistent statements, all attributed to him, on that subject.  He may have intended basically to destroy JSTOR by making its entire inventory freely available on the internet, without permission.  Or he may have planned only to make it available for access to requesters from third-world countries whose scholars cannot afford access under JSTOR's present licensing system. As I said, I believe he made both of these claims at different times.

    It is archived research work though (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:56:07 AM EST
    What right does Jstor have to restrict and charge for access to research work after they have covered their initial costs.  They are a nonprofit, and it saddens me how many nonprofits have forgotten that serving civilization is their job instead of being a nonprofit making a profit.

    They are now allowing me to read three articles every 2 week for free if I register.  I do  not need to be a student or alumni now it would appear in part due to Aaron's' actions and the questions that his actions have brought to the surface.

    I read that they had already satisfactorily "settled" with Aaron though for the return of their work and they sought no other reimbursement when DOJ brought charges against Aaron for his downloading actions and intent.

    Gotta say though that  Jstor's sudden ability to provide free access to the works they have archived really challenges some sort of notion that they weren't immorally restricting access to the information they have been granted archival nonprofit  responsibility for.


    What sort of "right" (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:35:27 AM EST
    are you asking about, MT? As to moral "rights," any thoughtful person can debate that as a matter of moral philosophy and information policy.  As for legal rights, however, these articles are subject to copyright law.  In most instances, the publisher (journal) owns that copyright.  One of the rights that comes with the copyright is to control distribution through licensing.  They have licensed this form of distribution to JSTOR, a nonprofit.  JSTOR has ongoing costs of indexing, storing, database management (and security!), etc.  I'm sure it isn't making a "profit."

    I am so suspicious of the word nonprofit (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:48:30 AM EST
    These days because of some of the abuses we have endured being Josh's parents.  In Colorado Springs one of the MD nonprofits had become useless in providing any sort of services to those suffering from MD.  They had gradually moved from doing actual work to "raising awareness" but most people contributing to the charity were not aware of the changes.  Even those suffering were not made immediately aware that they could not donate their outgrown wheelchairs and that the charity was working to redistribute used chairs to growing MD sufferers.  It was the only way some poor children were able to get motorized wheelchairs.  Instead they "changed" their goal to raising awareness and the administration gave themselves huge crazy raises from monies no longer needed to provide services.

    Hmmm (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:39:13 AM EST
    You argue like a lawyer.  I feel I must now negotiate here :)

    Can't help that ... (none / 0) (#41)
    by Peter G on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:05:42 AM EST
    Hopefully, the lawyer-style of discussion (not "arguing," I hope) helps bring some clarity, at least.  Meanwhile, here's an excellent commentary by U.C. Berkeley law prof Pamela Samuelson, who is an especially knowledgeable and sharp (MacArthur "genius" grant winning) commentator on technology, information policy, and intellectual property law reform.

    It does lead to clarity if one (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:24:29 AM EST
    is willing to be honest with oneself :)

    I agree with most of what she wrote (none / 0) (#46)
    by Reconstructionist on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 01:56:44 PM EST
     and it is even accurate to say Swartz showed poor judgment. Of course, we can all accurately assert that virtually all offenders showed poor judgment. Obviously many offenders do not have a plausible argument they used poor judgment in violating laws of debtable merit but many do.

       But, even if the law as applied here is "wrong" that in no way way makes what Swartz did right. JSTOR is a non for profit organization that essentially collects and organizes materials  to make access to such material easier than it would be if it did not exist. This is not accomplished by magic at no cost. It receives grants but much of its costs are covered by the subscription fees institutions and individuals pay.

       Why do people pay? Because JSTOR provides a valuable service which at the least saves them much work and perhaps in some instances allowes access that would be preactically impossible if someone had not collected materials and created a searchable database. Indeed, Swartz would not have been able to "liberate" the vast majority of this information had JSTOR not done the heavy lifting of gathering it one place for him to take.

      Free sounds great, but nothing is really free. Costs can be shifted but someone is paying them. When someone with "poor judgment" like Swartz it is quite likely the cause of broader access will be undermined.  Organizations that can envision a workable model for reducing the costs and simplifying the process of accessing information have to reflect before doing so that their model can be rendered cost prohibitive if hackers simply wait until they've done the work and then steal their work product.

      It's also worth considering that a legitimately organized group with the support of many institutions likely does in fact make the information more broadly accessible than a clandestine outfit that places the information somewhere the vast majority of users will have no idea exists.


    Justice Stephen Breyer, (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:27:31 AM EST
    a participant in the creation of the Sentencing Guidelines, evaluated and suggested changes in an address at the University of Nebraska College of Law (Nov 18, 1998).   I do not believe much came of his recommendations, but they should be revisited.

    While I Agree with Anonymous... (none / 0) (#42)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:23:15 AM EST
    ...if there is one thing I know about the criminal justice machine, they like to bully, but will not be bullied.  

    This stunt, IMO, will have the exact opposite effect, harsher penalties for nitwits who think extortion is a viable for of protest.  They are ensuring the government can't back down without looking like they caved to hacktivism.

    Get some Anonymous. (none / 0) (#45)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:56:48 AM EST
    I hope these people keep it going. I support Anonymous efforts and I hope they persist.