35 votes

Prosecuted to death: The hacker's suicide note.

"I have no faith in the 'justice' system. Perhaps my actions today, and this letter, will send a stronger message to the public. Either way, I have lost control over this situation, and this is my only way to regain control."
"Remember," he wrote, "it's not whether you win or lose, it's whether I win or lose, and sitting in jail for 20, 10, or even 5 years for a crime I didn't commit is not me winning. I die free."

This is not from Aaron Swartz, this is from Jonathon James, another hacker driven to suicide over victimless crimes.

The other common thread between these cases is Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Heymann, whose overzealous prosecution techniques appear to have claimed 2 victims so far.


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From what I understand, this fellow was a thief.

When he was caught and faced time, he couldn't handle it. There is a difference between someone like Bradley Manning who released government documents, something we should all have access to, and Swartz pirating intellectual property that is for sale because he thinks knowledge belongs to everyone.

If I understand this correctly, I am unsympathetic. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Some people have boundary problems, a reflection of personalities still stuck in childhood narcissism. What is this crap about victimless crimes? Didn't he take something that belonged to someone else?

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

So basically

You have no sympathy for people who have been sent to prison and feel the need to kill themselves to retain their dignity.

Good for you?

Just to clarify, this:
"When he was caught and faced time, he couldn't handle it."
is something that should warrant sympathy from a mentally healthy person.

Are you living vicariously through the justice system or something - acting out your inner vigilante? When someone is executed for a 'crime' you believe justifies punishment, does it excite you?

Seems to me that a person killing themselves is a tragic incident that would warrant sympathy regardless of the circumstances, at least if you value human life (or life in general.) If there was other wrongdoing, that only compounds the amount of justified sympathy - for those wronged and those who felt justified to do wrong.

I'm not even a Christian and I realize that when the Bible talked about Jesus loving everyone it had the right idea.

Maybe you're not using the word sympathy correctly or don't fully grasp its meaning and I should give you the benefit of the doubt.

"What is this crap about victimless crimes? Didn't he take something that belonged to someone else?"

No, he didn't. That's not what occurs when you download something - the original copy is entirely unaltered. In a theft, the material is deprived of its owner. Someone is actually deprived of property they had before. This is different from the act of downloading, during which a separate copy is created.

The only argument I've ever heard against internet piracy is that there is a loss of potential profit by the lawful distributor of said property because people are obtaining it for free instead of paying for it. In my view that argument is stupid because it's extremely easy to imagine a person who doesn't have the money for music and who would never have digital copies of music in the absence of it being available for free on the internet... that's an entirely separate point though, and would warrant a different conversation on the legitimacy of intellectual property laws as they pertain to the internet.

I just have to say something...

firstly, although I fully appreciate the need to prevent repeating offences where harm is incurred to others, I think that our laws and social mentality focus too much on punishment and not enough on correction. In the instance of intellectual property rights however, I have seen arguments against having them which overshadow those for them.

Regardless of whether you are for or against them though, the point is that they are debatable, and throwing people in jail for years at a time for violating them is abhorrent IMO.

Freedom is a byproduct of acceptance - judge not.

I don't know a lot about the case....

...and I'm still researching, but it's my understanding that the allegedly "stolen" documents where scientific journals researched and produced at PUBLIC institutions which have been digitalized and stored away in password protected online vaults and where copyright holders (not the actual authors of the studies) charge fees to review the information contained within said journals.

Additionally, JSTOR decided to drop their complaint against Swartz AND now they've decided to release a majority of these documents for FREE just as Swartz had wanted.

I don't think he was a thief anymore than Robin Hood was perceived to be. The information was the public's to begin with since our resources were used to produce the studies.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!



100 up votes!! They belonged to us! I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to see the actual study results and haven't been able to access them. They don't want an informed people...and they will keep us dumbed down by any means necessary.

Thanks for the post fishy!

It inspired this post I just made: http://www.dailypaul.com/270375/aaron-swartz-guerrilla-open-...

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


This is basically the American version of..

....buddhist monks immolating themselves in protest.

"Perhaps my actions today, and this letter"

"Perhaps my actions today, and this letter, will send a stronger message to the public."

And today your words are remembered Jonathon James. R.I.P.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most of those who think sew actually rip.

Doubly Unfortunate

...that they chose to depart unaccompanied.

Well it's hard to be accompanied

if perhaps you were suicided...