Reddit Co-Founder Hacked MIT Archives: US

24-year-old faces 35 years in jail, $1M fine
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 19, 2011 2:18 PM CDT
The campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A co-founder of Reddit is charged with hacking into Massachusetts Institute of Technology archives and stealing some 4 million scientific and academic articles. Aaron Swartz, 24, could face 35 years in prison and a million-dollar fine on federal fraud and other charges, the Boston Globe reports. Swartz, who worked at Harvard’s Center for Ethics, knew authorities were investigating him; he turned himself in today.

Swartz is a prominent backer of the free flow of information online and in libraries. A rep for a nonprofit group Swartz founded said the case against him is “like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.” And “it’s even more strange because the alleged victim”—MIT—“has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute.” But “stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar,” said a US attorney.

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