The formal indictment of PCCC/Reddit** co-founder (and Demand Progress Executive Director) Aaron Swartz is available [link fixed], and you will find it compelling reading, if only because it shows the level of stubborn disregard for other people’s property and needs that can be exhibited by a telecommie geek who is simultaneously convinced of the rightness of his cause, and not especially overburdened with a sense of conventional ethics. Essentially, if this indictment is correct, then Swartz physically broke into MIT’s computer network, inserted a virgin laptop into that system, deliberately spoofed the network into believing that the laptop represented a legitimate (guest***) user of MIT’s JSTOR online journal database account, immediately began massive downloads of JSTOR data in flagrant violation of JSTOR and MIT policies, spent several months playing steadily-increasing games of digital cat-and-mouse with MIT’s anti-piracy forces, then attempted to retrieve the physical evidence for all of this while trying to disguise his identity. The indictment lists several occasions where Swartz’s behavior hindered the ability of legitimate MIT users to access JSTOR, and at least one where MIT users were outright prohibited from accessing JSTOR at all.
Lastly, please note this passage from a Boston Globe article on the crime.
Swartz allies claim the prosecution was launched over the objections of JSTOR.
“That is not the case,’’ said Heide McGregor, vice president of marketing and communications for JSTOR. “We were interested always in making sure the data was secure and the data was not disseminated. So we were happy we got to that result.”