Members of online hacktivist group Anonymous have targeted sites related to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) following the suicide of Aaron Swartz, the Reddit co-founder who championed open access to documents on the Internet.
Swartz was arrested in July 2011 and accused of stealing four million documents from MIT and Jstor, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers. He faced $4 million in fines and more than 50 years in prison if convicted.
Anonymous targeted at least two MIT websites, posting a call for reform in Swartz’s memory.
Describing the prosecution of Swartz as “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for,” Anonymous set out a number of wishes:
Swartz’s family said his death was the product of a criminal justice system “rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death,” averred a statetement from the family.