Should MIT have pursued charges against Aaron Swartz?

  • Of course. To defend the pride of their establishment.

    He did what he did, and exposed a flaw in their security network and should have to answer for that. They lost face when they didn't pursue charges and would benefit at least from an integrity standpoint by pursuing charges against Aaron Swartz. It wouldn't solve any problems, but it might be beneficial to them.

  • He violated the law

    Violation of the law is violation of the law how people handle the stress of being caught is up to them. Suicide, flight standing up and facing the consequences are all choices and not the responsibility of the victim or prosecutor to care about when deciding to use or not use the legal system.

  • Yes, Aaron made his own choices

    First, let me say that Aaron Swartz's suicide is a tragic outcome and no compassionate person would ever think that he met a just end to his life. The choice to commit suicide only comes to those who have suffered and we do Mr. Swartz's memory a disservice to explain away his choice or over-simplify his pain. With that in mind, MIT could not have foreseen this outcome. MIT was party to a licensing contract that limited their options and they were right to arrest Mr. Swartz for abuse of shared resources and violation of the terms of service. They could have, and I think should have, pursued charges against him. Mr Swartz was an adult and made the choice knowingly. There is a desperate need to debate the role of professional journals and corporate archives of publicly funded research papers, but Mr. Swartz was responsible for his choices in life, up to and including his last choice.

  • MIT had other options.

    In history we can point to many times where a person had to act almost as a martyr to help us advance our views. In this case, that is how I see Aaron Swartz. I really wish he hadn't committed suicide, but maybe his death will help us understand his fight a bit more. He was fight the use of copyright in the United States and around the world. The main issue is that the only thing he did was to make available knowledge to the masses. He did not kill anyone and he did not harm a person. I often think back to when Rosa Parks said that she would not give up her seat. She knew that what she was doing was against the law and the there would be consequences, but she was in fact protesting the law. I think MIT could have been a school that could have shown us that knowledge needs not be locked and guarded for those that who do not carry enough money but instead open and free so that we as a nation can use this knowledge to better our country and our world.

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