MIT's report on its involvement in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz (PDF) has been published. The report does not apportion any blame to the university for Swartz's prosecution, stating the the university operated as a "neutral party." Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Aaron's partner, vigorously disputes… pointing out… MIT provided significant aid to the federal prosecutors… but refused to supply the same documents to the defense team, who desperately needed them. This makes MIT's claim of "neutrality" ring false…. Larry Lessig has posted some preliminary thoughts… pointing out that it turned on a question of authorized or unauthorized access, and that the report says MIT never told the prosecutors that Aaron's access was "unauthorized," suggesting that the prosecutors knew they had no case:
MIT’s behavior throughout the case was reprehensible, and this report is quite frankly a whitewash…. This report claims that MIT was “neutral”--but MIT’s lawyers gave prosecutors total access to witnesses and evidence, while refusing access to Aaron’s lawyers to the exact same witnesses and evidence. That’s not neutral…. All MIT had to do was say publicly, “We don’t want this prosecution to go forward”--and Steve Heymann and Carmen Ortiz would have had no case. We have an institution to contrast MIT with--JSTOR, who came out immediately and publicly against the prosecution. Aaron would be alive today if MIT had acted as JSTOR did…. And even now, MIT is still stonewalling. Wired reporter Kevin Poulsen FOIA’d the Secret Service’s files on Aaron’s case, and judge ordered them to be released. The only reason they haven’t been is because MIT has filed an objection.
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