Following the death of Aaron Swartz, Anonymous is claiming credit for hacking the Massachusetts Institute of Technology website yesterday.
Swartz was the cofounder of Reddit, the PCCC and Demand Progress, and a co-author of RSS feed technology. He was being prosecuted by the Justice Department for his attempt to download and publicly release 5 million scientific documents from JSTOR, a digital library of articles from academic journals he felt the public had already paid for but was being denied access to.
The charges brought by the Justice Department carried possible penalties of 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
The page that Anonymous put up on the MIT website read:
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.
Neither MIR nor JSTOR wanted to press charges against Swartz. It was the decision of the Department of Justice alone to do so.