by Scott Creighton
What is the lesson of Aaron Swartz?
While the MSM is busy telling all of you the reasons (fake note from 2007? That’s a reason?) they think Aaron Swartz hung himself this past Friday morning (none of them make sense) I’m going to make a connection few have yet made.
Aaron Swartz may or may not have been all he was cracked up to be. But he did play a part in stopping SOPA and PIPA and he warned us that though that battle had been won, the war was far from over.
He may never have known how right he was. The same day they found his body, Verizon’s “6 strikes plan” was leaked. Coincidence?
This past Friday morning Aaron was found hanging in his New York (NYPD Intelligence division/ Hmmm.) apartment. He was facing charges stemming from his hacking into JSTOR and downloading a bunch of literary and scientific journals and then posting them for free online.
JSTOR put out a statement telling the world (and more specifically the hactivist community) that they did not turn Swartz in to the Feds.
JSTOR is wise enough to know who not to piss off.
But what JSTOR was doing and what Swartz exposed, was they were literally hoarding mass amounts of the knowledge of the human race, scientific and literary journals that all could benefit from, and ONLY sharing them with those who could afford to pay the subscription price.
If you can afford it, then you are worthy of knowledge. If you can’t, you aren’t. That is the message of JSTOR.
In response to the negative feedback they’ve been getting, JSTOR released a piddly few 1,200 journals for “limit” access by the masses. How very humanitarian of them.
I recall him saying that the internet could be the greatest tool to open and free humanity or the most dangerous tool of propaganda and that we are sitting here at a time in history in which this direction will be determined for the next 100 years.
Anyway, those out there suggesting that Swartz killed himself because of this court case are grossly uneducated in the matter. Aaron just recently plead not-guilty in the case and I’m sure he was looking forward to beating it in court. Beating the feds on this would have been a nice way to follow up his efforts to defeat SOPA and PIPA.
But he won’t get the chance.
As I wrote a while ago, the feds decided to push for internet censorship via their last best hope: the free markets.
Big telecom companies are coming up with their own means by which to wipe certain people with certain ideas off the “internets”. I guess it’s payback for all that retroactive immunity they got from the Bush and Obama administrations when they could have been sued out the ying yang for allowing the feds to spy on us.
On the same day Aaron supposedly took his own life, Torrentfreak released a Verizon document detailing their new 6 strikes and your out plan.
The idea is basically this: Verizon will tell it’s customers when someone files a claim against them for copyright infringement. Verizon will give their users “x” amount of warnings then reduce their internet speed to something like a dial-up connection which will basically take them off the web for all intents and purposes.
As Aaron pointed out in a lecture he gave a year or so ago, the use of the ubiquitous “copyright infringement” charge is a dangerous and sweeping tool to use to shut down certain people. Everything is copyrighted by someone out there and the laws governing how much of what one can use are mirky at best.
Verizon claims they will set up a review panel with the American Arbitration Association and if you pay them $35 bucks they will review your case and find in favor of Verizon.
I find it very odd that Aaron just happened to take his own life when Verizon was about to launch this new SOPA/PIPA program of theirs own their own customers. I also find it odd that he was going to try his hacking case in court which would have brought tons of negative publicity down on JSTOR, portraying them as the guardians of knowledge for the elites.