Hacktivist organizations defaced the one of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT’s) sub-domains, in the memory of a famous internet activist, Aaron Swartz.
The activist also apologized upon the hacking, but said it was necessary to show the world the truth in these words:
”We tender apologies to the administrators at MIT for this temporary use of their websites,” writes a postscript to a memorial note posted by Anonymous, on a subdomain of the official MIT.edu website. “We do not consign blame or responsibility upon MIT for what has happened, but call for all those feel heavy-hearted in their proximity to this awful loss to acknowledge instead the responsibility they have — that we all have — to build and safeguard a future that would make Aaron proud”.
The defaced site has been shown in the following screenshot:
Swartz was set for a trial next month for releasing millions academic papers from JSTOR database. A series of online protest began and calls for greater protectionist measures online also began. The hacktivist also called for the a deeper investigation into Swartz case and greater protectionist measures online. He tributes the Swartz in these words:
“In Memoriam, Aaron Swartz, November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013, Requiescat in pace.
A brief message from Anonymous.
Whether or not the government contributed to his suicide, the government’s prosecution of Swartz was a grotesque miscarriage of justice, a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for — freeing the publicly-funded scientific literature from a publishing system that makes it inaccessible to most of those who paid for it — enabling the collective betterment of the world through the facilitation of sharing — an ideal that we should all support.
Moreover, the situation Aaron found himself in highlights the injustice of U.S. computer crime laws, particularly their punishment regimes, and the highly-questionable justice of pre-trial bargaining. Aaron’s act was undoubtedly political activism; it had tragic consequences.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of computer crime laws, and the overzealous prosecutors who use them.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for reform of copyright and intellectual property law, returning it to the proper principles of common good to the many, rather than private gain to the few.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for greater recognition of the oppression and injustices heaped daily by certain persons and institutions of authority upon anyone who dares to stand up and be counted for their beliefs, and for greater solidarity and mutual aid in response.
- We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all.
For in the end, we will not be judged according to what we give, but according to what we keep to ourselves.
Aaron, we will sorely miss your friendship, and your help in building a better world. May you read in peace.
Who was Aaron Swartz? A hero in the SOPA/PIPA campaign, Reddit cofounder, RSS, Demand Progress, Avaaz, etc…:
Guerilla Open Access Manifesto
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.