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posted by n1 on Saturday August 09 2014, @07:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the systems-are-amoral dept.

Ken White over at Popehat has review of the documentary film by Brian Knappenberger: "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz".

One unique aspect of this review is the perspective of a practising criminal defence attorney, and former federal prosecutor, on the attitude of the justice system.

My fortunate clients are the most outraged at how they are treated by the criminal justice system, and most prone to seeing conspiracies and vendettas, because they are new to it they have not questioned the premise that the system's goal is justice. My clients who have lived difficult lives in hard neighborhoods don't see a conspiracy; they recognize incompetence and brutal indifference and injustice as features, not bugs. "Justice system" is a label, not a description.

White also notes the possible impact of depression in this case, referencing back to an article he wrote which challenges many of the common perceptions about the case.

Related Stories

‘The Government Killed Him’: A Tribute to Activist and Programmer Aaron Swartz 2 comments

The ScheerPost is running a tribute to the late Aaron Swartz ten years after his untimely death on 11 January 2013.

Jan. 11, 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the death of Aaron Swartz. Swartz had a prolific career as a computer programmer: At the age of 12 he created The Info Network, a user-generated encyclopedia widely credited as a precursor to Wikipedia. Swartz's later work would transform the internet as we know it. He helped co-found Reddit, developed the RSS web feed format, and helped lay the technical foundations of Creative Commons, "a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools." In 2011, Swartz was arrested and indicted on federal charges after downloading a large number of academic articles from the website JSTOR through the MIT network. A year later, prosecutors added an additional nine felony counts against Swartz, ultimately threatening him with a million dollars in fines and up to 35 years in prison. Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment from suicide on Jan. 11, 2013. TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez speaks with the co-hosts of the Srsly Wrong podcast, Shawn Vulliez and Aaron Moritz, about the life and legacy of Aaron Swartz. 

Viewers can learn more about Swartz by watching the documentary The Internet's Own Boy, and reading his "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto." 

(2021) Supreme Court Overturns Overbroad Interpretation of CFAA, Protecting Researchers and Users
(2021) Supreme Court Reins in Definition of Crime Under Controversial Hacking Law
(2018) The FBI Secretly Collected Data on Aaron Swartz Earlier Than We Thought—in a Case Involving Al Qaeda
(2014) The Aaron Swartz Documentary: Review

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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday August 09 2014, @11:41AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 09 2014, @11:41AM (#79284) Journal

    How does one exploit brutal indifference in a justice system?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by rts008 on Saturday August 09 2014, @01:25PM

      by rts008 (3001) on Saturday August 09 2014, @01:25PM (#79305)

      Kill all lawyers?

      Is this a trick question?

    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Saturday August 09 2014, @02:52PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Saturday August 09 2014, @02:52PM (#79334) Journal

      The facetious answer would be: Get on payroll as a clerk, lawyer, judge or prison warden!

      In practice, repeat offenders treat the "justice" system as a stochastic process where chance of getting caught * chance of being convicted * chance of going to prison * chance of harsh sentence < epsilon. Or more colloquially, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

      People treat criminals as dumb but, within their environment, they are fairly optimal. It is the lack of rehabilitation which traps people. When a person has a criminal record and/or gaps on their resumé, their options diminish.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday August 09 2014, @05:02PM

        by kaszz (4211) on Saturday August 09 2014, @05:02PM (#79369) Journal

        Perhaps a indifferent system has builtin blindspots that may be used? ie do something that profit you but the system won't recognize.

        Working within law feels like working on a sinking ship ;)

        • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Saturday August 09 2014, @06:00PM

          by cafebabe (894) on Saturday August 09 2014, @06:00PM (#79391) Journal

          Working in the public sector (or a role which interfaces heavily with the public sector) provides very little opportunity to become a millionaire or otherwise be highly rewarded. However, there is also less scope to fail horribly. In this regard, it is a "steady earner".

          An ex-boss had the opinion that small businessmen were relegated to the region between immoral and illegal. I noted that his interests intersected with the seven deadly sins []. Indeed, anything which touts convenience borders on sloth.

          If you seek something moral then your options are more limited but they do exist - even in the public sector. For example, a friend is deeply gratified to work on a public sector, open source project which is used to treat blindness. My friend regularly declines better paid employment.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11 2014, @12:23AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11 2014, @12:23AM (#79847)

            There is more to life than the mere pursuit of money.

            You really can't put a pricetag on things that benefit mankind like this. :)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09 2014, @04:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 09 2014, @04:44PM (#79361)

    knowledge is thus NOT free.
    consider yourself being kept in the schwartz err... dark on purpose!